COSI Portugal said that 82.4 percent of children consume up to three times a week chips, puff pastry and popcorn, 80.0 percent eat cookies/ biscuits, cakes and donuts and 71.3 percent consume sugary drinks.
These foods are high in saturated fat, sugar or salt and since 2019 have been the target of restriction in food advertising aimed at children less than 16 years of age, “so this data reinforces the importance of evaluating the outcomes achieved”, said DECO.
Many institutions, including the World Health Organization, recognise the strong influence that the promotion of unhealthy foods has on children's eating behaviours. This phenomenon is aggravated by the time children and young people spend watching TV or using a computer, tablet or smart phone, which is associated with greater exposure to the powerful food marketing tactics used in the digital world, according to COSI Portugal.
In this sense, DECO points out some measures to follow in order to help kids:
- Control the sale of foods high in saturated fats, salt and sugar to children in a digital environment, calling for quick intervention by the responsible entities.
- Creation of support plans for education and food literacy, in order to empower citizens to make more informed choices. In this regard, over the years DECO has been trying to educate consumers showing that it is possible to make healthier choices, from a nutritional point of view, but also cheaper and more sustainable, within the scope of the DECOJovem and DECOForma programmes.
- Regional and local development to promote healthy eating, calling for the involvement of local authorities.
- Paying attention to the area of nutrition in Health Care, in order to increase responsiveness in the area of nutritional assessment and dietary counselling as a lifelong health management strategy.