Submission to WHO Consultation on policy guideline to protect children from the harmful impact of food marketing

The George Institute for Global Health is pleased to contribute to the public consultation on the World Health Organization (WHO) draft guideline on policies to protect children from the harmful impact of food marketing.

Across the globe, marketing of unhealthy products to children is a powerful tool used by food manufacturers to increase unhealthy food consumption, alter preferences, stimulate purchase requests, and ultimately adversely impact human health. Marketing limits the uptake of healthy and sustainable diets and is associated with increased rates of diet-related non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including overweight and obesity, dental caries, diabetes, and some cancers. Based on this work and the broader evidence base, we strongly recommend that the marketing of unhealthy products to children is restricted to ensure the healthiest start in life, particularly among communities experiencing greatest vulnerability.

In our response, we share recommendations to improve the overall clarity and support implementation of the Guideline. Moreover, we highlight missing data and context and setting specific issues that have not yet been captured.

This submission was prepared by members of the Food Policy and Impact and Engagement Team, in addition to a complementary, joint submission that was co-developed with the NCD Alliance, NCD Child, World Cancer Research Fund International and the World Obesity Federation.

We congratulate the WHO on the development of the Guideline and stand ready to collaborate to address research gaps and considerations identified by the WHO.