Child marketing of unhealthy food legally restricted | News item

News item | 09-12-2022 | 3:30 pm

In order to make the healthy choice easier and because the current self-regulation is insufficiently effective, the government wants to restrict the marketing of unhealthy foods to children by law. For healthy food and drinks, advertising aimed at people under the age of 18 will continue to be allowed. In addition, municipalities will be given a new statutory power with which they can prevent the arrival of unhealthy food suppliers in certain places, such as in the vicinity of schools or in neighborhoods where the supply of fast food is disproportionately large. To combat obesity, the cabinet is investing in making places where children spend a lot of time, such as school, healthier, and the promotion of sports and exercise – from young to old – is being given an impulse.

Lifelong burden

One in six children is overweight. In some districts that is even one in three children. A child suffers from that for the rest of his life. Overweight children produce more fat cells, which means that they are more likely to remain overweight as adults. In addition, half of adults are overweight. Being overweight increases the risk of all kinds of (chronic) diseases such as type II diabetes, cardiovascular disease, dementia and cancer.

Decide for yourself

State Secretary Van Ooijen of Health, Welfare and Sport: “People should be able to decide for themselves what they eat and drink and we should keep it that way. But that free choice is under enormous pressure from marketing and an ever-growing range of fast food all around us. On the way to school and work and on social media you are constantly tempted to make unhealthy choices. As a cabinet, we want to counterbalance this with the legal restriction of children’s marketing and municipal powers to bar new fast-food establishments. So that people get a helping hand to really choose for themselves what they eat and drink. I hope, of course, that people will make the healthy choice more often.”

Healthy school, healthy sport, healthy day out

It is important to create a healthy environment for children. The government will therefore invest extra in the Healthy School program from 2022 onwards. The long-term goal is for a healthy school coordinator to be active in all schools by 2040. In addition, the number of healthy school canteens in secondary education and MBO will be expanded. In 2025, 100 daytime attractions will be working with a healthier offering. Sports locations are getting started with a healthier offer in the sports environment through the Teamfit approach. In 2030, 5000 sports locations will be connected.

Collaboration between schools and sports associations

In addition to a healthy diet, sports and exercise also play an important role in combating and preventing obesity. Around schools, to and from work, the neighborhood is therefore working on more opportunities to promote sports and exercise. For example, the Fietsersbond and Wandelnet are working on better walking and cycling routes to and from schools. In practice, it will be investigated how better cooperation can be achieved between schools and sports clubs, so that more sports can be done both at school and after school.

Strong impulse help people with overweight

In addition to preventing overweight, extra attention is also paid to supporting people who are overweight or obese. Over the next three years, 62 million euros will be available to give a major boost to better help and guidance for overweight and obese children. Further investments are also being made in the Combined Lifestyle Intervention. With this approach, which is reimbursed from the basic package, people are helped by a lifestyle coach to live a healthier life.