Over 120 organizations and children’s health advocates across the country are calling on our governments to restrict food and beverage marketing to kids. Together, we stand behind the Ottawa Principles, a set of definitions and principles meant to guide restrictions in Canada.
Industry self-regulation has failed.
For the past 10+ years, industry has set its own standards and self-regulated its marketing; yet, food and beverage advertising to children has increased.
- The Canadian Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative is voluntary, and the nutrition standards are weak. For example, Lucky Charms, Froot Loops and Eggo Waffles are considered “better-for-you” products.
- Research reveals that three-quarters of the ads kids and teens see online for foods and beverages high in sugar, saturated fat or salt are from companies who participate in their own voluntary initiative.
More can be done.
Diet-related diseases are anything but simple. Legislation to restrict food and beverage marketing to kids is not a magic bullet, but it is a critical component of a multi-pronged strategy to protect children and to support parents who are trying to instill healthy eating habits in their kids. It is seen as a relatively easy, low-cost, and effective action that our governments can take to enable the success of other programs and actions to promote healthy eating.
All levels of government and leaders in a community can play a role in restricting marketing to kids. This includes restricting exposure to food and beverage marketing in public places where children gather; including childcare settings, schools and school grounds, libraries, public transit, recreation centres, parks, playgrounds, sporting or cultural activities, as well as hospitals.
Other complementary tactics are also needed. For instance:
- Taxing sugary drinks.
- Improving nutrition labels on food and beverage products and mandating menu labelling in restaurants.
- Regulating sodium content of processed foods.
- Establishing healthy lunch programs in schools.
- Encouraging farm-to-school initiatives and community gardens.
- Educating children, youth and families about healthy cooking and eating-in particular consuming whole, unprocessed foods.
Additional Information and Resources:
- News Coverage: Dr. Potvin Kent (2018). Canadian kids see thousands of ads for unhealthy food on social media: study
- Obesity Policy Coalition – International Comparisons on unhealthy food and beverage marketing restrictions.
- World Health Organization: Taking Action on Childhood Obesity Report
- World Health Organization: Marketing of foods high in fat, salt, and sugar to children
- M2K News Stories: Coalition in the News
- Heart Month 2017: The Kids Are Not Alright
- Stop Marketing to Kids Coalition – webinar series