The Norwegian regulations on marketing of foods and beverages to children. In respect of children’s human rights?
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Background: Childhood overweight and obesity has increased significant the last years and are recognized as a global health challenge. These trends can be caused by a number of environmental factors. Food marketing to children is one possible releasing factor. Norway has some legislation that protect children from certain types of marketing, as well as a self-regulatory system. Human rights provides an additional framework with several tools to protect the children from this kind of marketing. Aim: The aim of the study is first to investigate the coverage of the international standards on marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages towards children, and see if there are coherence with laws and regulations in Norway. Secondly, the aim is to investigate the Code on Marketing of Food and Non-Alcoholic Beverages to children, and to see if it covers the selected human rights principles; Participation, Accountability, Non-discrimination, Transparency and Rule of law. Methods: The study combines document analysis with qualitative interviews. Document analysis has been used to analyse the content of the human rights instruments, the Norwegian legislation and the Norwegian Code. Five interviews were conducted with key informants of three sectors of society; Authorities, Civil Society and Business sector. The interviews had a semi-structured approach. Microsoft Word was used to transcribing the material, and a simple content analysis were used after words. For the main analyse part of the interviews an assessment tool were developed in line with the FAO toolbox and the Human Right Indicators. Results: The Norwegian legislation showed multiple gaps in the regulation of marketing of unhealthy FNAB to children. The Norwegian Code was found more “flexible” than the WHO recommendations, especially regarding to marketing techniques and nutrients. Overall, The Norwegian Code was found to be in partial compliance with core HRBA principles, in theory and practice. The business sector proved to be more protective in the interpretation of the guidelines. The authorities and civil society had resembling views and often a different view than the business sector.
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