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The Bangkok Call to Action

Participants in a recent conference in Bangkok made a call for action on food marketing to children.

The Bangkok Call to Action

Made by 150 participants from attending the ASEAN Conference on Marketing of Food to Children Conference, Bangkok, 29th February 2008

This ASEAN Conference on Marketing of Food to Children conference, attended by 150 participants from Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Philippines, South Korea, Australia, United Kingdom, Germany and from international organisations including the World Health Organization, Consumers International and the International Association for the Study of Obesity:

  • Is aware of the high rates of obesity and other non-communicable diseases globally and the personal, social and financial burden that these present in the ASEAN region;
  • Believes that poor diet is an important risk factor for obesity and other non-communicable diseases,
  • Recognises the importance of ensuring that all segments of society, but particularly parents and children are supported in the use of basic knowledge of child health and nutrition;
  • Supports the conclusions of the 2006 WHO Technical Meeting on Marketing of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages to Children that commercial food promotion is overwhelmingly for energy-dense, micronutrient poor foods which undermine recommendations for a healthy diet; and that there is a strong scientific rationale linking commercial promotion of foods and beverages to poor diets in children
  • Believes that methods for nutrient profiling are now available that can be used to differentiate healthier and less healthy foods;
  • Acknowledges that national and domestic regulations should ensure that promotional marketing must be legal, decent, honest, true, fair and not misleading, and in addition should also be restricted in the nature, quantity, duration and frequency with which they promote foods and beverages that undermine recommendations for children’s diets;
  • Believes that commercial operators have a responsibility to ensure that their marketing practices do not undermine children’s health irrespective of national borders

And in consequence this Conference:

Calls for action by governments

  • To control all forms and types of the promotional marketing of energy-dense nutrient poor food and non-alcoholic beverages to children up to the age of 18.

To do this, governments must introduce statutory regulations

  • to restrict the nature, quantity, duration and frequency of marketing food to childrento have consumer friendly labelling to help children make healthy choices
  • to ensure independent monitoring, surveillance and stringent enforcement
  • to support health and nutrition promotion in schools

Calls for action by civil society, academic and professional networks to support and promote stronger controls on food and non-alcoholic beverage marketing to children, and to provide independent monitoring on the effectiveness and impact of controls;

Calls for action by the manufacturers, importers, retailers and caterers dealing with energy-dense nutrient poor food and non-alcoholic beverages to cease promoting such products in any manner which encourages increased consumption among children;

Calls for action by the international community including the World Health Organization, the UN Standing Committee on Nutrition, the UN Food and Agricultural Organization, Codex Alimentarius, the World Trade Organization and other relevant bodies to support an International Code of Marketing of Foods and Beverages to Children which applies globally and can protect children from marketing across national borders.

Agreed by the participants

Bangkok, 29th February 2008

Corresponding Address

Assoc. Prof. Dr.Vithaya Kulsomboon

Health Consumer Protection,

Chulalongkorn University, Thailand


Published on February 29, 2008 in International news