Petition calls for a ban on junk food advertising for children in France

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UFC-Que Choisir is campaigning to ban advertisements intended to be seen by children, for food products classified as “D” or “E” on the Nutri-Score table – that is, foods with low nutritional value and would be considered by most people to be “junk” or highly processed foods.The association said it analyzed “448 hours of television programming” and “7,150 commercials”, and found that 90% of advertisements intended to be seen by children sold foods high in fat, sugar or salt, and classified as D or E – such as candy, chocolate, fast food, sweet cereal, and cookies.

The new petition, called ” Childhood Obesity: Turn Off the Junk Food Ad!“(Childhood obesity: let’s turn off junk food ads!”), Can be signed online on the UFC-Que Choisir website.

It is supported by health, family and education associations the FCPE (Federation of Parents’ Councils, PEEP (Federation of Parents of Public Education Students), Rural Families, FFD (French Federation of Diabetics) and health network the Environment Health Network.

Alain Bazot, president of UFC-Que Choisir, said: “We were amazed to see that 88% of the products promoted are in the two worst Nutri-Score classes. [D and E]. »

The association condemned the government’s constraints on advertising to children as a “failure” and said “the companies have by no means improved their practices.”

Ad limits: a long-term problem

The petition comes 13 years after the association first called for limits on such advertising. Now he is calling for a total ban on television and the internet.

Since 2007, several governments in France have considered strengthening regulations on food advertising to children and reducing advertising pressure on young people.

The situation seems to have worsened since then, according to the association. In 1960, 3% of children were overweight or obese in France. Now that figure is 17%, which means “one in six children is overweight or obese,” Bazot said.

He added: “The links between alarming levels of childhood obesity, unhealthy diets and marketing [are now well-known] and we urgently need to take ambitious preventive measures. ”

He said: “With the food industry’s hailed pledges unsuccessful and childhood obesity alarming, it has never been more urgent to act to impose limits on advertising aimed at children. be seen by children, by prohibiting the on-screen promotion (TV and Internet) of foods whose consumption must be limited. ”

The association also pointed out that the Minister of the Economy had recently calculated that the social cost of overweight and obese people was 22 billion euros per year – a cost similar to that of alcohol and tobacco.

In order to further help parents, the association announced that it would publish a leaflet “to help parents be guided in their choices, with a Nutri-Score list of 120 products. With Nutri-Score, we have an analysis table that is completely objective and precise, ”said Mr. Bazot.

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