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October 27, 2017

Colombian Parents Are Urged To Join Calls For Ban On Junk Food Advertising That Targets Children

(Bogotá, Colombia and New York, USA) – Vital Strategies today commended Colombian partners on the launch of a new mass media campaign to warn consumers about the harms of junk food advertising that targets children. The campaign, entitled “No comas más mentiras ni se las des a tus hijos” (“Don’t Eat More Lies And Don’t Serve Them To Your Kids”), was developed by Red PaPaz and is supported by a diverse group of civil society organizations including FIAN Colombia and Educar Consumidores, with Vital Strategies providing technical assistance. It supports and draws attention to a petition at www.nocomasmasmentiras.org, launched by Red PaPaz, which calls for restrictions on junk food marketing.

 

The “Don’t Eat More Lies And Don’t Serve Them To Your Kids” campaign is centered on a 30-second Public Service Announcement (PSA) which will run on national, local, regional and cable TV channels and on radio for five weeks from today until November 30, 2017. Images and messages from the campaign will run on billboards, bus stop posters, in print newspapers and on social media.

The PSA shows how children are exposed to junk food advertising for such products as sugary drinks, sugary cereals, hamburgers and salty chips, and how this influences their eating habits. Preferences established in childhood can continue for life and consumption of these products is linked to an increased risk of disease in adulthood – including obesity, early-onset diabetes, heart disease, and other serious illnesses. The PSA ends with a call to action: “Do not eat more (of the food and beverage industry’s) lies and do not serve them up to your children. ENOUGH! (BASTA!) Let’s remove all junk food advertising from their world.”

Commenting on the launch of the campaign, Carolina Piñeros, Red PaPaz Director, said: This campaign aims to create awareness about the need to prevent children’s exposure to junk food advertising (especially marketing for foods that have high levels of sugar, fats and salt) as a necessary step to stop the rising rates of overweight and obesity.”

“Globally, the food industry likes to claim it abides by a voluntary code of conduct and doesn’t target children. The reality is that junk food marketing – on TV, radio, outdoor media, in stores, at point of sale, and on the internet – is so pervasive that children are constantly bombarded with ads promoting unhealthy products – and that can lead to unhealthy food preferences,” said Sandra Mullin, Vital Strategies’ Senior Vice President, Policy, Advocacy and Communication. “We trust that this campaign will be highly effective in encouraging Colombians to think more critically about the way in which children are targeted by the food industry, and prompt them to join Red PaPaz’s call for policy change.”

High levels of overweight and obesity are contributing to Colombia’s burden of preventable disease. Without urgent change, there is likely to be an increase in the health and economic costs associated with this burden. The World Health Organization estimates that Colombians have a 12 percent chance of dying prematurely from non-communicable diseases (NCDs).  Just over half of Colombia’s population (51 percent) is overweight or obese, as are 17 percent of children in the country. One in six children in Colombia are overweight and obese. As overweight and obese children are more likely to grow up to be overweight and obese adults, they may face a lifetime of obesity-related disease. The impact of junk food advertising on consumer choices – especially among children – is well-documented. Preventing children from viewing junk food marketing is an essential tool in obesity and NCD prevention.

About Vital Strategies

Vital Strategies is a global health organization that believes every person should be protected by a strong public health system. Our team combines evidence-based strategies with innovation to help develop and implement sound public health policies, manage programs efficiently, strengthen data systems, conduct research, and design strategic communication campaigns for policy and behavior change. To find out more, please visit www.vitalstrategies.org or Twitter @VitalStrat.

For further information or to arrange an interview with a Vital Strategies public health expert, please contact press@vitalstrategies.org.

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