TAYTAY, Rizal – In an apparent effort to address obesity and diet diet-related health problems among residents, the local council passed an ordinance restricting child-targeted marketing of ultra-processed food and beverages in the municipality.
According to Councilor Tobit Cruz, who authored Ordinance 2307-036, the new local law is primarily designed to protect children from the harmful impacts of food and beverage marketing.
Taking into consideration a study conducted by the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), Cruz said that the ordinance specifically prohibits any advertisements of foods that are high in fat, salt, or sugar in child-centered areas such as school zones, playgrounds, parks, and family mall areas.
According to the study, exposure of children to advertisements featuring ultra-processed food is linked to increased consumption of such foods and associated risks of obesity.
During the final reading of the ordinance, Cruz said that it is a win for all the children in the municipality when it comes to their health.
"We commit to creating an environment where our children can grow up healthy and easily pursue healthy eating habits, starting with this policy," Cruz averred moments after the local council passed his legislative measure in the third and final reading.
"Taytayeños can anticipate more proactive and sustainable programs that prioritize children's health through this policy win," he added.
Relatedly, a local task force will be formed “to focus on monitoring food and beverage advertisements within the municipality and assisting establishments to comply with the new regulations, enabling them to finally end harmful food and beverage marketing to children.”
The task force will also lead efforts to assist the community in promoting healthier food choices among children and families.
Defiant establishments face a fine of P2,500 and are required to take down their advertisements that violate the regulations.
Meanwhile, lawyer Sophia San Luis, the Executive Director of Imagine Law, the local government's partner in drafting the ordinance, lauded the municipality for being the first to advance the landmark health policy.
"This measure aligns with the broader national and global efforts to combat childhood obesity and promote healthier lifestyles among children," San Luis added.
Based on the 2021 study by the Department of Science and Technology Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), one in every seven Filipino school-aged children is obese or overweight.
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