13th Meeting of the WHO European Action Network on Reducing Marketing Pressure on Children

23–24 May 2018, Vienna, Austria

Background

Increasing levels of childhood obesity and the high burden of noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) observed across the WHO European Region call for broad-based prevention efforts. One important measure is to reduce marketing pressure on children – especially the marketing of energy-dense, micronutrient-poor foods and beverages. Such marketing influences children’s knowledge, preferences, attitudes, food choices and dietary behaviours.

In the past decade, the issue of reducing the marketing of foods high in fat, salt or sugar to children has become increasingly prominent on the international agenda. International action is essential to ensure that efforts to reduce marketing pressure on children are effective.

The establishment of the WHO European Action Network on Reducing Marketing Pressure on Children in 2008 reflected the joint interest of several countries in the Region in taking action on this issue. Subsequently, the World Health Assembly adopted the WHO “Set of recommendations on the marketing of food and non-alcoholic beverages to children” in 2010. WHO also integrated marketing restrictions as a priority in policies and strategies, notably the European Food and Nutrition Action Plan 2015–2020. The Network is an important mechanism to enhance action on food marketing to children.

There are currently 30 countries in the Region participating in the Network. In addition, several organizations and institutions take part in the Network as observers. Network meetings have been held in Belgium, Denmark, Greece, Portugal, Serbia, Slovenia, Switzerland, Turkey and the United Kingdom.

Purpose

The 13th meeting of the Network will take place on 23–24 May in Vienna, Austria. Participants will exchange experiences, discuss national activities and review the most effective methods and approaches for restricting and monitoring the marketing of food to children. The main objectives of the meeting are to:

  • provide a status report on the implementation of the WHO set of recommendations in the Region;
  • share examples of country activities since the last meeting relating to policy development and monitoring;
  • update Member States on the most recent research in this area;
  • stimulate discussion on neglected forms of marketing, such as in-store promotions, product packaging, and promotion of foods for infants and young children; and
  • discuss ongoing WHO support for joint activities in 2018.