An Assessment of Government Capacity Building to Restrict the Marketing of Unhealthy Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverage Products to Children in the Region of the Americas

Abstract

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) Strategic Plan 2020–2025 committed to reduce children’s consumption of energy-dense nutrient-poor food and beverage products high in fat, sugar and salt (HFSS) and promote healthy eating patterns to reduce malnutrition in all forms. This paper describes the capacity-building needs in PAHO’s Member States to restrict the marketing of HFSS food and beverages to children. We asked Ministries of Health officials or national institutes/departmental representatives (n = 35) to complete a 28-item web-based survey (January to July 2020). Capacity-building needs were assessed using an adapted version of the World Health Organization’s government capacity-building framework with three modules: public health infrastructure, policies and information systems. Notable achievements for the PAHO’s Plan of Action were identified. State representatives reported strong infrastructure and information systems; however, policy improvements are needed to increase comprehensive national responses. These include using a constitutional health and human rights approach within the policies, policies that document conflict of interest from non-state actors, and strengthening regulatory oversight for digital media platforms. These findings provide baseline data and we suggest priorities for further action to strengthen national governments’ capacity-building and to accelerate the development, implementation, and monitoring systems to restrict the marketing of HFSS food and non-alcoholic beverages to children in the region of the Americas.

Description
Keywords
food marketing, Children, nutrition policy, government regulation, capacity-building, Obesity, region of the Americas
Citation
Patiño, S.R.-G.; Da Silva Gomes, F.; Constantinou, S.; Lemaire, R.; Hedrick, V.E.; Serrano, E.L.; Kraak, V.I. An Assessment of Government Capacity Building to Restrict the Marketing of Unhealthy Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverage Products to Children in the Region of the Americas. Int. J. Environ. Res. Public Health 2021, 18, 8324.