We developed the NOURISHING framework to highlight where governments need to take action to promote healthy diets and reduce overweight and obesity.
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There is clear evidence that the advertisements children see influence their food preferences and habits. There is also a lot of evidence that children and adolescents around the world are exposed to a whole host of other promotional techniques, whether on a billboard or through a phone or computer.
Emerging evidence shows that restrictions work to reduce children’s exposure to marketing, but this depends on the criteria used in the restrictions. Given the role played by parents and caregivers in what children eat, consideration is needed of how they are also influenced by promotional activities.
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The EU Pledge was launched in 2007 as a commitment by the food industry, supported by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA), to the European Union Platform for Action on Diet, Physical Activity and Health. Companies commit to not advertising food on mass media where children under the age of 12 make up 35% of the audience unless their products comply with category-based thresholds on sodium, saturated fat and total sugar. Soft drinks and sugar-based products (chocolate, confectionary, jam/marmalade, sugar/honey/syrup) may not be marketed to children under the age of 12. Members can comply with their own criteria if they are demonstrably stricter than the ones developed by the EU Pledge. Members also commit to not advertise in primary schools except when there is agreement with the school for educational purposes. The European Commission mediates the communication between the EU Platform and the WFA. Belgium, Hungary, Portugal and Turkey have national pledges modelled after the EU Pledge. (See Yale Rudd Center for Food and Obesity's database on Pledges on Food Marketing to Children Worldwide).