The Festival promotes healthy diets for children

19-02-01Obesity has tripled in children over six years old since 1980, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).

Although the situation is most serious in the United States, where 10% of children aged between five and seventeen years old are obese and over 30% are overweight, it is increasing significantly in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the Pacific. This is shown in a report by the International Obesity Task Force (FIO). In the northern European countries, between 10% and 20% of children have a tendency to be overweight, while in the south the percentage is between 20% and 35%.

19-02-02In this context, the NAOS programme (Strategy for Nutrition, Physical Activity and Prevention of Obesity) was launched in Spain in 2005 by the Spanish Agency for Food Safety and Nutrition (AESAN). It aims to raise public awareness about the problem of obesity for health and to promote all initiatives that help citizens, and especially children and young people, to adopt healthy lifestyles, particularly through healthy diets and regular physical activity.

Based on these objectives, various companies in the food sector will be publicizing the benefits of a balanced diet for children at the Children and Youth Festival.

“The Children and Youth Festival contributes to raising awareness of habits for a healthy lifestyle”

19-02-03Ana Palencia

Communications at Director Unilever Spain and president of the Diet, Physical Activity and Health committee of the Spanish Federation of Food and Drink Industries

“It is worrying that obesity has tripled among children aged between 6 and 12 years old. We must not forget that a child who is overweight or obese will be an obese adult, unless we implement active policies to combat what is a real epidemic.”

According to Palencia, “the two main causes of obesity are poor eating habits and the lack of physical activity. We are replacing our Mediterranean diet with other less healthy diets, and our leisure time has become sedentary, especially among children who watch television for two and a half hours a day and spend another half hour on top of that playing with video game consoles or connected to the Internet. 38% of young people would rather watch television than play sports…”.

She adds that “our towns do not make it easy to engage in physical activity in the street, there is a lack of green spaces, the ones that exist are not entirely safe, and there are not enough bicycle lanes, compared to other European countries. In short, it is a responsibility of Spanish society as a whole to make the strategy of healthy nutrition and obesity prevention successful, and the Children and Youth Festival can help to raise awareness of healthy lifestyles in the family and community to fight against child obesity.”

“It fosters solidarity, civic responsibility, a healthy lifestyle”

19-02-04Mili García

Communications Director of the Panrico Donuts Group

“Childhood is a crucial stage for individuals’ physical and intellectual development and that is why it is so important to adopt healthy habits. The keys to a healthy lifestyle are diet and physical activity.

For García, “a balanced diet for children should provide a variety of foods in quantities adapted to the nutritional needs of children based on their age and level of activity. All foods have a place in this framework, and we at Panrico support the message launched by NAOS (the Ministry of Health’s Strategy for Nutrition, Physical Activity and Prevention of Obesity) that there are no good or bad foods, but instead well or badly balanced diets, and the recommendation of physical exercise on a regular basis, especially for children.”

“The Children and Youth Festival is the right context to launch this type of message because it is an event with an educational focus that promotes values such as solidarity and civic responsibility, as well as a healthy lifestyle based on diet and physical activity, which are values that are shared and disseminated by our brands,” she says.

GLORIA DILLUVIO