IASO's StanMark project raises standards...
IASO's project on standards for marketing food and beverages to children (StanMark) has developed a set of principles for reducing children's exposure to commercial messages that encourage excess consumption of 'junk' food. An open stakeholder meeting of the EU-funded StanMark project held in Brussels in March saw the launch of a set of summary standards aiming to reduce the risk to children of over-consumption of foods high in saturated and trans fats, sugar and salt as a result of cross-border marketing.
Taking the WHO Recommendations as its guide, the standards propose to reduce exposure and power of marketing messages for those foods seen by children due to cross-border marketing. Taking a risk-reduction strategy and applying high standards, the Stanmark project proposes:
· Marketing of such foods must avoid all techniques with special appeal to children and adolescents.
· Products which can be promoted should be only those products which conform to national and international dietary guidelines supporting WHO's Global Strategy to prevent obesity and chronic disease.
· The age of a child should be based on persons who have not yet reached an age when they are legally considered to be competent to protect their own welfare.
· Particular attention should be placed on settings where children gather, where authorities are in loco parentis, where authorities set an example of good practice.
· Those responsible and accountable include all those who have a 'duty of care' as participants in the marketing process, including media distributors, web hosts, service providers.
· Brand marketing should avoid mixed messages given by brand names with mixed portfolios of products: brands should not be promoted unless a healthy product range is the dominant feature of the advertisement.
The meeting heard that responsible marketing means marketing to the highest standards of health protection and health promotion. Tim Lobstein, IASO's Policy Director, said that cross-border standards support all member states implementing the WHO recommendations, and protect children in those states where regulations are not in place or enforced. Universal standards make international monitoring simpler. The meeting also heard that restrictions on marketing could equalise competition between food producers and potentially assist smaller enterprises and those producing healthier food products.
For the full set of presentations from the Stanmark meeting, see http://bit.ly/feNQFx
For more information on the Stanmark project, see http://bit.ly/fq9yec
IASO provides target outcomes for UN Summit on NCDs
IASO is drafting a set of recommended Outcomes for the UN General Assembly's Summit on Non-Communicable Diseases to be held in New York later this year.
The Summit will be the second ever high-level meeting of heads of state to address health-related issues, the previous one being concerned with HIV/AIDS. It will be held over two days, 19-20, September 2011.
IASO is drafting a set of outcomes for the meeting, and is expected to include proposals such as:
· Cross-departmental obesity and nutrition strategy units in every government
· Cross-agency food security, environment and health coordination in the UN
· An international code to protect children from food and beverage marketing
· Government-set targets for industry to reduce salt, sugar, trans fat and saturated fat
· Increased surveillance of food supplies, diet and health status
· Universal access to baby-friendly hospitals and nutrition-friendly schools
A preliminary meeting is being held in Moscow, April 28-29, where IASO will be represented by the IASO President, Professor Philip James.
Further details in the next IASO Newsletter...
Healthy maternal and child weight
A conference held by the UK Nutrition Society in April 2011 will hear about the hazards of excess body weight in expectant mothers, the health hazards of obesity in childhood and the need for more to be done to reduce obesity among children.
IASO's Policy Director Tim Lobstein will outline the raised levels of complications in pregnancy and delivery among obese mothers - including evidence that infant mortality is significantly higher - and that weight gain in pregnancy is also a predictor of complications. The prevalence of raised blood pressure, blood lipids, and pre-diabetes indicators among overweight children will be noted, and Dr Lobstein will call for stronger measures to reduce the incidence of obesity among children - including controls on marketing of energy-dense foods and beverages, strong school and pre-school standards, and improved surveillance to detect the effects of policies - especially if these are not equally effective across different socio-economic groups.
Details from Tim Lobstein at email@example.com