Wednesday 12/8/21
CHILDHOOD OBESITY

Spain to ban ads for chocolate, ice cream, juices aimed at children

The government said that the self-regulation system that has been in force since 2005 has proven "insufficient", as shown by the data on overweight and obesity affecting Spanish children
20/07/2021
Consumer Affairs Minister Alberto Garzón during his speech at the press conference after the Council of Ministers meeting. Photo: La Moncloa.
Consumer Affairs Minister Alberto Garzón at the press conference following the Council of Ministers meeting. Photo: La Moncloa/File photo.

The Government of Spain is preparing a new regulation that will prohibit brands of chocolate, energy bars, cakes, juices, cookies, energy drinks and ice creams from advertising on television during children's hours. Nor can they be advertised in print media or social networks.

Consumer Affairs Minister Alberto Garzón (from Unidas Podemos), announced on Thursday that his department will regulate through a decree the issuance of advertising for "unhealthy foods and beverages" when it is addressed to children and adolescents.

Garzón said that the self-regulation system that has been in force since 2005 has proven "insufficient", as shown by the data on overweight and obesity affecting Spanish children. And he pointed to advertising as one of the main causes.

"Minors are vulnerable consumers and we have the obligation to protect them from advertising," said the minister at a joint press conference with the mayor of Barcelona, Ada Colau.

The Ministry of Consumer Affairs wants to establish the nutritional profiles established by the World Health Organization (WHO) as the basis for measurement.

Five categories of products

According to Government information, the regulations will affect five categories of products that will not be able to advertise to minors regardless of the nutrient content.

The first category is that of chocolate and sugar confectionery products, energy bars and sweet toppings and desserts.

The second is the food group that includes cakes, cookies, and other baked goods. Nor will three other categories that make up juices, energy drinks and ice creams be allowed.

For the rest of the product categories, the decree establishes a limit of nutrient content per 100 grams. 

In these cases, they can be advertised as long as total and saturated fats, total and added sugar and salt levels are kept below the limits established for each product.

Childhood obesity

The Aladino 2019 study -related to children between 6 and 9 years old- shows that 40.6% are overweight. Of them, 17.3% suffer from obesity.

The study has been prepared by the Spanish Agency for Nutrition and Food Safety (AESAN, in its Spanish acronym).

The government says that with these child advertising regulations it wants to curb childhood obesity and make the Spanish regulations equal to those of countries such as the United Kingdom, Portugal or Norway.

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