TweetThe Spanish Ministry of Health has declared war on childhood obesity. It has decided to back legislation that, if passed, would ban restaurants and food manufacturers from including toys and prizes with their products. And it’s not just the children that will be unhappy to hear of this decision – multinational corporations, such as McDonald’s, Burger King and Kellogg’s, won’t be too pleased either. Nonetheless, it’s something that Spanish health experts think is a necessary step.
The percentage of children who are overweight has skyrocketed in recent years all over Europe, but the problem has been particularly acute in Spain. The country has the highest incidence of overweight boys and the third highest rate of overweight girls in the EU. One of the reasons may be that Spain, as a country, industrialized later than others in Europe, but when it happened, it happened very quickly, so the change in diet occurred much more dramatically.
As well as banning companies from including toys or prizes in foods targeting kids, the new law would also prohibit celebrities from appearing in any ads for foods aimed at children. But it remains to be seen how the Spanish public will react to the idea of all the fun being taken out of their kids’ Happy Meals, especially when, according to research, most parents think that “an occasional treat” won’t do their offspring any harm at all.
Ferran from Barcelona, Spain