Being overweight and the level of obesity are increasing in Europe, especially amongst children. In order to improve the understanding of the influences on children’s dietary choices and nutritional status, the International Association for the Study of Obesity (IASO) and BEUC conducted the PolMark project (Policy options for Marketing Food and beverages to children).

The interviews took place between December 2008 and April 2009, between a wide range of stakeholders. Members of EPHA staff were interviewed for the project.

The results of the study revealed a gap. On a number of issues, public health and consumer organisations and organic produce manufacturers disagree with the point of view taken by food, media and advertising companies. Health and consumer groups advocate for more regulation and consider the current legislation of food advertising insufficient. Food and advertising industries find the current regulation satisfactory.

Regarding advertising on popular TV shows, branded internet sides and commercial text messages, consumer and health groups advocate for a statutory ban. Advertising and food industries are opposed to such a ban.

However, both sides agree on the effects of TV marketing on children’s purchases and consumption of certain types of food.

Finally, reflecting EPHA’s position on the topic, all stakeholders agreed that diet and physical activity play an equal role in the prevention of obesity.

Reports have been made on the following countries:

- Belgium

- Cyprus

- the Czech Republic

- Denmark

- France

- Ireland

- Poland

- Slovenia

- Spain

- Sweden

- The United Kingdom

For further information:

- Stakeholder views on policy options in the EU: Findings from the PolMark project

EPHA related articles:

- EPHA position on Marketing Communication

- Advertising “unhealthy” food to children

- Marketing to Children: Analysing the Federal Trade Commission’s Landmark Food Marketing Study

- Global developments on marketing of unhealthy foods to children, June 2007

Last modified on August 19 2011.