The vast majority of Spanish children and adolescents between the ages of 8 and 16 (more than eight out of 10) declares being exposed to advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages, which is related to their more frequent consumption. This is what the report confirms Advertising, food and children’s rights in Spainpresented this Wednesday at the Ministry of Consumer Affairs and prepared by the Gasol Foundationcreated to fight against childhood obesity by Pau and Marc Gasol.
More than eight out of 10 minors state that they are exposed to advertising for unhealthy foods and beverages
The report, made with information from the UNICEF Spain Opinion Barometer for Children and Adolescents 2020 – 2021 and the Study Steps 2022-2023 of the foundation, highlights that 6 out of 10 minors in the age range analyzed receive advertising impacts from fast food (also called “junk food”) more than six days a week or even several times a day.
It also shows that this exposure leads them to consume more sugar and sodium from that fast food, salty snacks and pastries or sugary or sweetened drinks. Although there are no major differences by gender or age, the data shows that those who live in lower-income areas are more exposed to this type of marketing.
Girls and boys who report exposure to more diversity of unhealthy products are those who spend more time on screens
The study also shows that girls and boys who report exposure to a greater diversity of unhealthy products are those who spend more time on screens (television, computer, game console, tablet or mobile). The products that reach the most through this advertising are, in order of frequency, soft drinks, fast food, pastries or industrial pastries, energy drinks, salty snacks and candies or chocolates.
As Santi F. Gómez, director of research and programs at the Gasol Foundation and person in charge of the work, stated during the presentation of the report, these data from Spain add to the “overwhelming evidence at the international level” linking the unhealthy product advertising with bad habits of life among minors.
More consumption to more advertising
The study, in which the Ministry of Consumption has collaborated, confirms that this advertising is decisive in the habitual consumption of unhealthy products, such as energy drinks, which is 19% higher among those who have been exposed to it.
In addition, marketing also increases the frequency with which these products are taken. It is what happens with the fast food and salty snacks, which more than 80% of study participants declare to consume on a regular basis. Minors exposed to advertising who claim to consume them two or more days a week are, respectively, 13.3% and 17.3% more than those not exposed.
The consumption of energy drinks is 19% higher among those who have been exposed to their advertising
On the other hand, in other products, such as the bpottery and industrial pastry or candies and chocolatestheir intake is so widespread and frequent (85% of children and adolescents state that they consume them more than five days a week) that advertising does not even discriminate the frequency of consumption.
The report also reveals that more advertising directed at children determines a highest kilocalorie intake (kcal) from unhealthy foods. In the case of fast food, 60.4 kcal more per day among the population that declares having been exposed; in the case of pastries or industrial pastries and candies or chocolates, an additional 47.9 kcal. And the same occurs with the consumption of sugar present in these last products (those exposed consume 3.2 g more per day) or with the milligrams of sodium in fast food (111.6 mg more).
Gómez has made clear the weight of exposure to marketing: “Throughout eight years of life, in that period from 8 to 16 years of age, a boy or a girl exposed to the advertising of unhealthy foods and beverages ingests 370,000 kcal and 23 kg of sugar more coming from those products”.
A boy or girl exposed to the advertising of unhealthy foods and drinks ingests 370,000 kcal and 23 kg of sugar more from these products
Santi F. Gomez (Gasol Foundation)
Children’s right to healthy eating
“Protecting the rights of children also includes promoting healthy eating and, to achieve this, one of the key measures is the regulation of advertising aimed at girls and boys. This has been alerted by the highest international organizations such as the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF or the World Obesity Federation”, he added. Cristina Ribesexecutive director of the Gasol Foundation Europe.
“Aggressive and widespread advertising of foods and beverages high in fat, sugar and salt directed at children is responsible for unhealthy dietary choices,” he reiterated. Francesco Brancadirector of the WHO Department of Nutrition and Food Safety, in a recorded message delivered during the presentation.
This agency has just published a guide, titled PPolicies to protect children from the harmful effects of food marketing, which should be adopted by the member states of the United Nations because, as this representative has insisted, the self-control measures to which the industry is committed have proved insufficient: “Requests towards responsible advertising have not had a significant impact. Governments should set strict and comprehensive regulations.”
Legislation in progress in Spain
This is the case of Spain, where the regulations that make this protection effective have not been approved, as established by the National Strategic Plan for the Reduction of Childhood Obesity. The Royal Decree prepared by the Ministry of Consumption for this purpose during the legislature that is about to conclude, for the moment, has not been able to go ahead.
80% of the population is in favor of regulating this type of advertising. We have to put public health and the health of minors first
Alberto Garzón, Minister of Consumption
The Minister of Consumption, Alberto Garzonhas pointed out to SINC that “80% of the population is in favor of regulating this type of advertising” and that there is “overwhelming scientific evidence” available, but has regretted that in Spain efforts are lacking to prevent unhealthy consumption habits from displacing Mediterranean diet.
“It seems that the reason is not enough,” he assured. In his opinion, there is “a clash of interests” with “companies that legitimately make their profits by selling these products in the marketplace” and extend their influence further.
However, “governments cannot be arbitrators, we have to put public health and the health of minors first,” he stressed. Garzón believes that the available draft should be “the basis of future work for any public administration” and trusts that it will be approved by the following governments.
#lack #protection #minors #face #unhealthy #food #advertising #increases #consumption