Europe Looks To Ban Junk Food Marketing Aimed At Kids

The World Health Organization, in collaboration with 53 European countries, unveiled a nutrient profile model designed to help authorities better identify sugar, saturated fat, trans fat, and salt levels in foods. The model also aims to severely restrict junk food marketing aimed at children, a tactic that is currently only used by Ireland, Denmark, Norway, and the United Kingdom.

The model covers 17 categories; some foods, like fruits, vegetables, proteins, and eggs, will receive no restrictions, while other foods, like candy, cookies, energy drinks, and ice cream, will receive complete bans from marketing to children. The UK's Labor Party has already suggested a similar model, which would ban junk food and fast food advertising on television until 9 p.m.

"Given the current epidemic of childhood obesity across Europe, there is no justification for marketing products that have little nutritional value and contribute to unhealthy diets," Dr. Gauden Galea, a public health physician with the World Health Organization, told Food Navigator.

According to the WHO, the model could be useful in restricting children's exposure to junk and fast food. It could also be used to examine the advertising sphere of influence.