Associations call for implementation of children’s food advertising law

Associations call for implementation of children’s food advertising law

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Berlin 35 associations, organizations and initiatives criticize in a joint letter the lack of commitment of the federal government to protecting children from unhealthy food advertising. The planned children’s food advertising law has been at a standstill for a year.

At that time, Federal Minister for Food and Agriculture Cem zdemir (Greens) presented key points and a first draft of a law to restrict advertising for unhealthy foods aimed at children and young people (KLWG). However, he immediately received opposition from the coalition partner FDP.

Chancellor Olaf Scholz should now ensure that the law is implemented consistently and effectively before the summer break, appeals the alliance of medicine, health promotion, science, consumer protection and child and youth protection under the leadership of the German Alliance for Non-Communicable Diseases (DANK) in an open letter to him.

The 35 members of the alliance include the German Medical Association (BK), the Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ), the German Diabetes Society (DDG), the German Societies for Epidemiology (DGEpi), for Nutritional Medicine (DGEM), for Cardiology – Heart and Circulation Research (DGK), for Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine (DGKJ) and for Nephrology (DGfN) as well as the German Heart Foundation (DHS) and the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ).

We are putting our children’s healthy future at risk if the federal government does not finally tackle the project and establish binding regulations, criticizes BK President Klaus Reinhardt. According to the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), every seventh death in Germany can be attributed to unhealthy nutrition. The World Health Organization (WHO) also recommends that advertising for unhealthy foods be restricted by law in order to combat malnutrition among children and young people.

BVKJ Vice President Angela Schütze-Buchholz points to unhealthy eating habits among children and young people. Children eat twice as much sweets, but only half as much fruit as recommended. This is not without consequences, she says. 15 percent of children and young people in Germany are overweight, which means they are at risk of serious secondary diseases such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure or cardiovascular disease later in life.

Our society must not allow a generation of sick people to grow up, she warns. The unhealthy sugary drink that is so widely consumed must be phased out. Healthy foods, preferably cheaper than unhealthy alternatives, should become the first choice.

The scientific basis for the need for regulation is indisputable, writes DANK: Advertising increases purchasing and consumption behavior and promotes children’s nutritional preferences. According to a study by the University of Hamburg, media-using children between the ages of three and 13 see an average of 15 commercials for unhealthy foods per day. 92 percent of all advertising that children see is for unhealthy foods such as fast food, snacks or sweets.

The regulations must be comprehensive and effective wherever children are exposed to advertising – whether it is TV advertising, outdoor advertising or influencer advertising on social media, says the open letter to the Chancellor. The omnipresent advertising for unhealthy foods has fatal health consequences.

Parents have to fight every day against a billion-dollar industry that lures their children with clever marketing tricks, it continues. Children’s health must not be crushed between the interests of the industry. Politicians must end the stagnation and protect the health of the youngest in our society with strong laws.

The alliance is therefore urgently calling on the Chancellor to ensure that the KLWG is implemented as an important measure for better child health without further delays or weakening. The protection of children’s health must take priority over the economic interests of the advertising industry and the manufacturers of unhealthy food, warn the associations. © EB/lau/aerzteblatt.de

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