Creating healthy food environment for children: Front-of-pack food labelling - why we should care

14 Jun 2023
Health child food
14 Jun 2023

Childhood under- and over-nutrition are fuelling an epidemic of adult NCDs, with children increasingly targeted as a new and emerging market. Front-of-pack labels (FOPLs) have emerged as a World Health Organisation-endorsed policy vehicle to improve nutrition. FOPLs have been credited with improving consumer literacy on healthy diets and are being used to supplement other non-communicable disease prevention policies, and as a mechanism to identify foods subject to marketing restrictions.

Overweight and obesity are on the rise amongst South Africa’s children, and fuelling a growing epidemic of adult NCDs.  Many of our children are growing up in communities where healthy foods are unavailable or unaffordable, as local markets have become flooded by cheap ultraprocessed foods - low in nutrients and high in sugar, salt and fat.  In addition, children are increasingly targeted by advertisers as young consumers who through their ‘pester power’ also shape family purchases. 

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