FORTY PER CENT of Spanish children are overweight and the central government wants to do something about it.
In 2021 the Ministry of Consumer Affairs will introduce legislation vetoing advertisements for “unhealthy” food aimed the under-15s.
Restrictions include barring celebrities and favourite cartoon characters from junk food advertisements during programmes watched under-15s before the watershed. This will also apply to cinemas.
Existing regulations are limited to the under-12s and children’s programmes.
“Experts and nutritionists agree that the present system does not work because advertisements for children’s food are hardly controlled,” said Consumer Affairs minister Alberto Garzon.
He was speaking at the presentation of Aladino 2019, a survey of child obesity in Spain whose findings Gazon’s department described as “alarming.”
Nutri-Score, the five-colour system ranging from green to red for labelling food will be introduced in 2021, Consumer Affairs announced.
This reveals at a glance if food is deemed “safe” or “unhealthy” and although its use is optional, the Ministry will have access to all classifications and can decide which products should be barred from targeting under-15s.
Consumers’ association OCU also criticised the food industry for fostering the belief that breakfast should be “rich in carbohydrates, ultra-processed fats, sugar, salt and additives.”
These should be eaten sporadically, OCU said, lamenting that junk food packaging so often included images of healthy ingredients absent from the product itself.