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Groups propose new restrictions on marketing foods to children.

A new code that would restrict the marketing of unhealthy foods to children has been proposed by two international lobby groups who claim the food industry is failing to self-regulate, especially in developing countries. reports that the International Obesity Taskforce (IOTF) and Consumers International (CI) have jointly developed the International Code on Marketing of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages to Children, which they plan to present to the World Health Assembly next month.

The IOTF and CI code covers "energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods that are high in fat, sugar and salt". It calls for:

* A ban on TV and radio advertisements promoting unhealthy food between 6 a.m. and 9 p.m.;

* No marketing of unhealthy food using new media, such as websites, social networking sites and text messaging;

* No promotion of unhealthy food in schools;

* No inclusion of free gifts, toys or other collectables that are attractive to children; and

* No use of celebrities, cartoon characters or competitions.

"The time has come for all concerned to recognize that an international code, enforceable in law, is the best way forward," said Professor Arne Astrup of the University of Copenhagen, president to the International Association for the Study of Obesity (of which IOTF is the policy and advocacy arm).

"Voluntary measures and individual pledges from some companies offer inadequate protection when children are being targeted in the internet, by mobile phone as well as via television, and especially in developing countries where these kinds of calorie-dense foods can have a devastating impact on children's health."
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Publication:Food & Drink Weekly
Date:Mar 24, 2008
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