Children Continue To Be Exposed To Advertising That Promotes Unhealthy Foods: WHO

By Branislav Pekic
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Children Continue To Be Exposed To Advertising That Promotes Unhealthy Foods: WHO

The World Health Organisation (WHO) has claimed in its latest report that existing policies and regulations to limit marketing of unhealthy foods to children are insufficient.

The report, prepared in association with the University of Liverpool and the Open University, warns that children continue to be exposed to advertising that promotes foods that are high in fats, salt, and sugar (HFSS).

It identifies existing loopholes in policies, ongoing challenges, and factors that countries need to consider in order to effectively limit the harmful impact that such marketing has on children’s health and rights.

Steps Taken

Nearly half of the 53 countries in the European Region have taken some steps to limit such marketing, the study found.

Some countries have adopted legally binding rules, which restrict HFSS food marketing in certain media, at certain times, while others are attempting to address digital marketing.


The impact of existing policies has been limited, a situation made worse by changing media usage, and the increasingly integrated nature of marketing across different platforms.


The report also offers a series of recommendations, including the adoption of a more comprehensive approach to HFSS food-marketing regulation, focused on broadcast advertising as well as digital, and through packaging and sponsorship.

It emphasised on establishing policies to effectively reduce children’s actual exposure to HFSS food marketing, rather than policies on the classification of content or media.

In addition, it also recommended that existing rules should be extended to protect all children, including adolescents.


According to the report, countries should ensure that they use existing, or develop new, evidence-based nutrient-profiling systems that effectively identify unhealthy food based on nutritional quality.

© 2018 European Supermarket Magazine – your source for the latest retail news. Article by Branislav Pekic. Click subscribe to sign up to ESM: The European Supermarket Magazine.

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