Advancing children's right to healthy food environments
It is becoming harder and harder for children around the world to access affordable and appealing healthy diets. Fuelled by the actions of a powerful food and beverage industry, the globalisation of food systems is driving a transition towards unhealthy food environments where ultra-processed foods and beverages, that are high in saturated fats, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, and/or salt, are easily available, convenient, cheap, and widely promoted.
This transition has precipitated a global shift towards unhealthy diets which is leading to a rapid rise in childhood overweight and obesity and increased lifetime risk of noncommunicable diseases including type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and some forms of cancer. The unhealthy food environments in which today’s children live, play and study undermine children’s right to nutritious food and healthy futures.
To mark the occasion of World Obesity Day 2022, UNICEF partnered with the Global Health Advocacy Incubator to launch a new series of capacity-building webinars. The four webinars allowed UNICEF staff and trusted partners to dive deeper into some of the cross-cutting issues, challenges and opportunities for countries looking to introduce food environment regulations:
1. The launch webinar on 3rd March 2022 introduced the concept of food environment regulations, spotlighted UNICEF’s priority policy asks, and highlighted the challenge of industry interference. This webinar included speakers from the World Health Organization, civil society advocates and UNICEF country offices. Watch recording here.
2. The second webinar on 21st April 2022 provided an overview of the main principles and research underlying each of UNICEF’s four priority policy interventions: food and beverage taxes, mandatory front-of-pack labelling, healthy school food environments, and food marketing restrictions. This included speakers from the World Health Organization, leading academic institutions, and civil society. Watch recording here.
3. During our third webinar 16th June 2022, we provided an overview of the key legal and policy considerations for food environment policy development and implementation for a non-legal audience. Watch recording here.
4. The final webinar on 14 July 2022 focused on effective advocacy and communications strategies to support food environment policy campaigns. We heard from innovative and creative examples from leading UNICEF country offices and partner organizations, including Bite Back 2030, Global Health Advocacy Incubator, and ShareAction. Watch recording here.