The 76.3% of foods advertised on television are ”unhealthy” or, in other words, three out of four advertisements do not meet the criteria of WHO European Region nutritional profile. to be considered healthy.
The study ‘Quality of food products advertised on television before and after the plan to improve their composition, 2017-2020’ conducted by researchers from the Preventive Medicine and Public Health Service of the Albacete Hospital and the National School of Public Health of the Carlos III Health Institute, and published by Gaceta Sanitaria, yields this statement that sees no changes in advertising habits after the measures adopted by the Ministry of Health for regularization.
The conclusion of the research conducted is clear and concise: “the nutritional profile of foods and beverages advertised on television.mostly unhealthy, has not changed after the implementation of the food reformulation plan in Spain.“.
The results were drawn after analyzing 256 hours of television broadcast during two time periods (2017 and 2020), where 173 food products were identified (78 in 2017 and 95 in 2020) and where chocolates and confectionery products were the most frequently advertised in both study years, with 26.9% of the total in 2017 and 22.1% in 2020.
More than 30% of the child population is overweight.
As the study explains, one third of the Spanish school-age child population is overweight and around 10% are obese.These factors increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes, hypercholesterolemia and arterial hypertension in childhood and adulthood.
The Ministry of Health signed in 2017 a. collaboration agreement with the food industry. for the improvement of the composition of food and beverages, with a commitment to reduce an average of 10% of sugars, saturated fats and salt over a 3-year period. and ensure that reductions and substitutions do not raise caloric content.
That agreement was embodied in the ‘Collaborative plan for the improvement of food and beverage composition and other measures’.‘, which also seeks to increase the supply of healthier menus or meals outside the home through social catering, modern catering and automatic dispensers, and to decrease health inequalities in access to healthy eating.
But, according to the researchers who authored this study, the main shortcoming of the plan is that it “excludes some widely advertised and consumed products, such as cola soft drinks, and that its unambitious commitments may be insufficient to improve the classification of products according to nutritional profiles.”
In short, according to the authors, it is necessary to “policies that regulate nutritional quality and food advertising at children’s times.in order to effectively protect children from the exposure to unhealthy foods and beverages“. And one of the first actions is to regulate food advertising to protect children.