Restricting food advertising to children
– challenges and possible solutions
Stakeholder forum in Latvia
May 10. 2023. Riga
Background and Objective
Research conducted by the Centre for Disease Prevention and Control of Latvia (CDPC) reveals that the prevalence of excess body weight and obesity among children in Latvia is a growing health concern. One in four first-graders is overweight or obese, and among nine-year-olds, one in three boys is affected by this condition.
To address this challenge, CDPC is actively participating in the Best-ReMaP project to seek solutions for improving the state of food marketing. As part of the project, CDPC organized a forum that brought together representatives from various sectors, including food manufacturers, traders, advertising agencies, healthcare professionals, state institutions (policy makers), and regulatory bodies. The objective was to gather insights and opinions on the potential restrictions on food advertising targeting children.
During these discussions, it was noted that several Latvian food manufacturers have already taken steps to improve the nutritional composition of their products, such as reducing sugar or salt content, as part of their social responsibility. They have also committed not to advertise food products to children under 12 years of age. Participants reached a consensus on the need to limit food advertising aimed at children. However, they identified several unresolved issues such as the necessity of implementing these restrictions at the EU-wide level to ensure equal conditions for all member states and to establish effective oversight of these restrictions. The participants agreed that ongoing discussions are essential to determine the most suitable solution for Latvia’s specific circumstances.
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