Senator Guido Girardi

“I believe that the deceptive advertising of junk food aimed at children should be sanctioned.”

Chile

As a Senator and physician in Chile, Guido Girardi works tirelessly to address rising obesity rates. He has authored a law passed by the Chilean government to reduce the country’s use of processed foods and improve child nutrition.

Diseases associated with obesity – hypertension, diabetes, heart attacks, encephalic vascular accidents and cancer – together make up one of the worst epidemics of the 21st century, taking countless lives, particularly among the world’s poorest who are not only underprivileged and vulnerable, but often also obese.  

The worst part is that these pathologies are mostly preventable and are generally a result of poor nutrition, that leads to Chronic Non-Communicable Diseases (NCDs). Senator Girardi refers to NCDs ironically, as the most communicable of all as they are “transmitted” through advertising.

“Large food companies must understand the change in the current nutritional paradigm driven by civil society”.

Girardi believes that the strategy used by transnational corporations to sell junk food - placing healthy images on packaging, presenting ingredients in an unintelligible list and using misleading messages to entice children - violates human rights.

In Chile, after much effort and protest, a new labeling system in food products has been approved, allowing people to exercise their right to choose. Simple black marks on the front of food packets mean that even a young child can identify junk food, or tell if a product is high in sugar, sodium, saturated fats or calories.   

It is forbidden for products with black marks to be advertised on TV or the internet, and they can’t be sold in schools or used in games, cartoons or other promotional products for children.

This encourages companies to reformulate their products and reduce the unhealthy nutrients they contain. 

Girardi has inspired leaders around the world, who have since looked to Chile’s legislation when reviewing their own regulations.

 

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