12th Meeting of the WHO European Action Network on Reducing Marketing Pressure on Children - Meeting Report (2017)



In April 2017, the 12th meeting of the WHO European Action Network on Reducing Marketing Pressure
on Children took place in Dublin, Ireland. The Network facilitates cooperation and knowledge sharing
between European Member States on reducing marketing of foods high in fat, sugar or salt (HFSS) to
children as part of broader efforts to tackle increasing levels of childhood obesity and the high burden of
noncommunicable diseases.

Meeting participants—including representatives of 15 Network countries—exchanged information on
national efforts to reduce marketing pressure on children. New national developments to extend the scope
of marketing restrictions beyond broadcast marketing were reported in several Member States, to
improve compliance through monitoring arrangements, to adopt the WHO nutrient profile model to
define HFSS foods, and to implement evidence-informed policy.

New research of relevance was presented, including the findings that children who eat more HFSS foods
following exposure to HFSS marketing do not compensate by eating less at the next mealtime, and that
inclusion of a ‘protective’ message does not reduce the impact of advergames promoting unhealthy foods
to children. The Network meeting explored the wider challenges of food marketing—including digital
marketing, advergames and supermarket packaging of foods targeted at children—and identified the
definition, measurement and monitoring of digital HFSS marketing to children as key areas for future
collaboration. The meeting also considered how to address inappropriate promotion of foods for infants
and young children and agreed to extend the remit of the Network beyond the issue of ‘marketing to
children’ to include ‘promotion of foods for infants and young children’.