A ban on advertising unhealthy foods, price rises and even a ban on fast food for children are among the suggestions made by the CDA scientific institute to boost a healthy lifestyle.
Lifestyle related illnesses became a greater issue during the coronavirus pandemic, but more care, money and personnel are not the solution, the institute said in a new report.
‘Unhealthy food is so widely available that people are becoming ill unnecessarily,’ the institute said.
Obesity, diabetes, heart and lung disease and cancer are among the illnesses which can be triggered by an unhealthy diet and children are becoming used to eating unhealthy food at a young age, the report said.
The report suggests limits to fast food availability, a ban on marketing unhealthy products, making agreements about the supply of good food and stimulating the market to make changes by making unhealthy food more expensive.
It also wants better education for children, the introduction of school lunches at a primary school level, and suggests ‘consider introducing a minimum age for fast food, similar to that introduced for alcohol and tobacco’.
‘It is crucial to ensure that our food supply serves people’s health and that the advantages enjoyed by industrial, processed food are removed,’ author Gerard Adelaar said.
This should all be accompanied by a massive publicity offensive to encourage people to eat less industrial, ultra processed-food and better regulation of the industrial food sector, he said.
Last month, it emerged that junior health minister Maarten van Ooijen is investigating new laws to allow local councils to limit the spread of fast food chains and junk food advertising.
Many municipalities have asked the government to create the legal tools for them to stop an overload in fast food restaurants, including Amsterdam, Rotterdam, Utrecht and The Hague.
‘They see that often empty shop spaces are filled up with fast food restaurants, and they have mixed feelings about this,’ said Ruben van Dorssen, spokesman for the health ministry.
‘On one hand, you are doing all of this work with sports clubs, programmes to get people moving and education at school, and on the other, children are walking through districts where there is a huge amount of advertising and less healthy things on offer.’
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