More than 300 pediatricians call for a comprehensive regulation of fast food advertising: www.kinderaerzte-im-netz.de

09/19/2022

334 pediatricians have appealed to Federal Food Minister Cem Ozdemir and demanded a law that comprehensively restricts children’s marketing of unhealthy foods. “Time is of the essence,” says the appeal presented today at a press conference in Berlin by the Professional Association of Pediatricians (BVKJ), together with consumer organization FoodWatch and the German Alliance for Non-Communicable Diseases (DANK).

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+++ An appeal from doctors in the wording: www.kinderaerzte-gegen-junkfoodwerbung.de +++

Unhealthy eating is one of the main causes of overweight and obesity in children and teens, fueled by “aggressive marketing practices of the fast food industry,” according to pediatricians. Although traffic light parties have announced measures against marketing fast food in their coalition agreement, Minister Cem Ozdemir has yet to introduce a law less than a year after the federal election. So the appeal calls for a law to impose effective restrictions on advertising this year.

Dr. Thomas Fischbach, President of BVKJ emphasized: “Whether on TV, in the supermarket or via social media right on mobile: the food industry advertises sugar bombs and greasy snacks on all channels. By marketing them, manufacturers have torpedoed the efforts of many parents to feed With the Corona pandemic, the situation has worsened dramatically. The number of overweight children has increased dramatically again – with fatal health consequences.”

As a central measure, doctors call for an advertising break for unhealthy food on TV, the Internet, and radio during the day between 6 a.m. and 11 p.m. In addition, advertising unhealthy products directly to children should no longer be allowed, for example using comics, displaying playful products or game accessories. The assessment of whether a food can be advertised to children should be based on the nutrient profile of the World Health Organization (WHO) developed for this purpose.

Louise Mulling, an activist with the consumer organization Foodwatch, explained: “With ad budgets running into the millions, the food industry primarily markets unhealthy products because they make the most profits. Young people eat more than twice as much sweets and less than Half as much fruit and vegetables as recommended – in part due to aggressive marketing of fast food in the food industry.”

The confectionery industry alone spent €1 billion on advertising in 2021 – more than any other year before that. According to a study by the University of Hamburg, every child between the ages of three and 13 sees an average of 15 commercials of unhealthy food per day. 92 percent of all advertisements seen by children promote fast food, snacks or sweets.

Barbara Bitzer, spokeswoman for the German Alliance for Noncommunicable Diseases (DANK), a federation of 21 professional scientific and medical societies, associations and research institutions demanded: “The federal government must finally act and fulfill the promise made in the coalition agreement. Nutrition Cem Ozdemir has a strong law that completely protects children from advertising unhealthy products.

About 15% of children and adolescents are currently overweight and 6% are severely overweight (obese). Preliminary studies show that the situation has worsened over the past two years. According to a representative survey of parents conducted by the German Obesity Association (DAG) and the Else Kröner-Fresenius (EKFZ) Center for Nutritional Medicine at the Technical University of Munich, every sixth child in Germany has been more obese since the start of the Corona epidemic. A quarter ate more sweets. Affected children are threatened later in life with diseases such as type 2 diabetes, joint problems, high blood pressure, and heart disease. According to OECD data, every seventh death in Germany is caused by an unhealthy diet. Malnutrition is as deadly as smoking.

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Joint press release foodwatch and BVKJ (Professional Association of Pediatricians).

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