The local government of Taytay, Rizal yesterday passed an ordinance that restricts child-targeted marketing of ultra-processed food and beverages within the municipality, in a bid to protect children from obesity and other diet-related health risks.
Ordinance No. 2307-036 or An Ordinance to Protect Children from the Harmful Impacts of Food and Beverage Marketing’, introduced by Councilor John Tobit Cruz, prohibits advertisements of food high in fat, salt, or sugar, in child-centered settings such as school zones, playgrounds, parks, and family mall areas.
“This is a win for children’s health,” said Tobit Cruz during the final reading of the ordinance. “We commit to creating an environment where our children can grow up healthy and easily pursue healthy eating habits, starting with this policy,” Cruz added.
Exposure of children to advertisements featuring ultra-processed food is linked to the increased consumption of such foods and associated risks of obesity, according to a study by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).
“We laud Taytay for being the first municipality to advance this landmark health policy. This measure aligns with the broader national and global efforts to combat childhood obesity and promote healthier lifestyles among children,” said Atty. Sophia San Luis, Executive Director of ImagineLaw, the local government’s partner in drafting the ordinance.
One in every seven Filipino school-aged children is obese or overweight, according to a 2021 study of the Department of Science and Technology Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI).
“We hope that this policy serves as a model for other municipalities and cities seeking to protect the health of their children,” she added.
Local task force to end harmful food and beverage marketing to children
To enforce the ordinance, a local task force of Taytay government officials will be formed to focus on monitoring food and beverage advertisements within the municipality, and assisting establishments to comply with the new regulations.
Violators of the ordinance will face a fine of PhP 2,500.00 and will be required to take down advertisements that violate the regulations.
The task force will also lead efforts to assist the community to promote healthier food choices among children and families.
“Taytayeños can anticipate more proactive and sustainable programs that prioritize children’s health through this policy win,” Coun. Cruz added.