1 (Dec) November 2015
Assorted Fruits Skewer
at Novotel Nadi City Centre
-City Centre, Kuala Lumpur-
with meeting participants, staff and temporary advisors
Mission to Malaysia, Day 3 (see previously 6.329 Kam-Heong Pan-Fried Prawns).
In Kuala Lumpur. Here to support a regional workshop on restricting the marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children, today to Friday. Arrived Sunday evening. Flying back Saturday.
This is the big one, the culmination of a year dedicated to helping our Member States in strengthening legal frameworks to promote healthy diets, with focus on restricting the marketing of unhealthy foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children.
An excerpt from the welcome remarks (drafted by me, read by the head of our country office) :
The Western Pacific has benefitted from and is burdened by rapid urbanization, modernization, globalization and trade liberalization. As a result, unhealthy foods and non-alcoholic beverages are more readily available, accessible and affordable than ever. Marketing of such products also makes them seem attractive. The industry spends hundreds of billions of dollars globally on marketing, primarily for processed foods and non-alcoholic beverages high in sugar, fat and salt. Marketing campaigns are non-stop, widespread, and clever, relying on the same tricks of advertising, promotion and sponsorship pioneered by the tobacco and alcohol industries. Likewise, children are key targets. Marketing messages strongly influence children’s beliefs about diet, preferences, and consumption patterns, which can last a lifetime. In 2010, the World Health Assembly endorsed the WHO Set of Recommendations on the Marketing of Foods and Non-alcoholic Beverages to Children. The recommendations provide guidance for countries to restrict marketing aimed at children. Five years later, however, progress has been slow. This workshop represents part of WHO’s efforts to scale-up support for Member States to accelerate action. By advancing implementation of the Recommendations, we can protect our children from harmful marketing practices, promote health-enabling environments, and ultimately prevent the growing NCD epidemic.
To walk the talk, we worked closely with the ministry and the hotel to ensure that only healthy food options would be available at the welcome reception (see for comparison 6.224 NCD Risk Factors).
Going a step further, the nutrition division in MOH prepared calorie labels for every item, as per their internal policy for foods served at all official functions — very cool (labelling may be our next focus, perhaps in 2017).