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Sydney Principles’ for reducing the commercial promotion of foods and beverages to children

  • Boyd Swinburn (a1), Gary Sacks (a1), Tim Lobstein (a2), Neville Rigby (a2), Louise A Baur (a3), Kelly D Brownell (a4), Tim Gill (a5), Jaap Seidell (a6) and Shiriki Kumanyika (a7)
  • DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S136898000800284X
  • Published online: 01 September 2008
Abstract
Abstract

A set of seven principles (the ‘Sydney Principles’) was developed by an International Obesity Taskforce (IOTF) Working Group to guide action on changing food and beverage marketing practices that target children. The aim of the present communication is to present the Sydney Principles and report on feedback received from a global consultation (November 2006 to April 2007) on the Principles.

The Principles state that actions to reduce marketing to children should: (i) support the rights of children; (ii) afford substantial protection to children; (iii) be statutory in nature; (iv) take a wide definition of commercial promotions; (v) guarantee commercial-free childhood settings; (vi) include cross-border media; and (vii) be evaluated, monitored and enforced.

The draft principles were widely disseminated and 220 responses were received from professional and scientific associations, consumer bodies, industry bodies, health professionals and others. There was virtually universal agreement on the need to have a set of principles to guide action in this contentious area of marketing to children. Apart from industry opposition to the third principle calling for a statutory approach and several comments about the implementation challenges, there was strong support for each of the Sydney Principles. Feedback on two specific issues of contention related to the age range to which restrictions should apply (most nominating age 16 or 18 years) and the types of products to be included (31 % nominating all products, 24 % all food and beverages, and 45 % energy-dense, nutrient-poor foods and beverages).

The Sydney Principles, which took a children’s rights-based approach, should be used to benchmark action to reduce marketing to children. The age definition for a child and the types of products which should have marketing restrictions may better suit a risk-based approach at this stage. The Sydney Principles should guide the formation of an International Code on Food and Beverage Marketing to Children.

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Corresponding author
*Corresponding author: Email Boyd.swinburn@deakin.edu.au
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This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

2.E Millstone & T Lobstein (2007) The PorGrow project: overall cross-national results, comparisons and implications. Obes Rev 8, Suppl. 2, 2936.

14.MM Haby , T Vos , R Carter , M Moodie , A Markwick , A Magnus , KS Tay-Teo & B Swinburn (2006) A new approach to assessing the health benefit from obesity interventions in children and adolescents: the assessing cost-effectiveness in obesity project. Int J Obes (Lond) 30, 14631475.

15.C Hawkes (2007) Regulating and litigating in the public interest: regulating food marketing to young people worldwide: trends and policy drivers. Am J Public Health 97, 19621973.

21.C Hawkes (2005) Self-regulation of food advertising: what it can, could and cannot do to discourage unhealthy eating habits among children. Nutr Bull 30, 374382.

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Public Health Nutrition
  • ISSN: 1368-9800
  • EISSN: 1475-2727
  • URL: /core/journals/public-health-nutrition
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