The "Lisbon Call to Action - To protect children from obesogenic food environments" was launched in the framework of the Portuguese Presidency of the European Union and comes after a conference organised jointly with the World Health Organisation (WHO) for the European region that discussed the issue.
"More and more food is bought over the Internet (online supermarkets and 'food delivery apps'), information on healthy eating is sought on digital platforms and the (increasing) period of time "surfing" exposes the population continuously to food advertising, which in general are unhealthy," reads a DGS statement.
"The digital world seems to be changing food consumption, purchasing behaviour and food preparation. The powerful marketing strategies that have emerged in the digital context, the frequent use of 'food delivery apps' and the increased risk of misinformation regarding healthy eating, are some of the main threats facing the fight against obesity," it adds.
The authorities also highlight the opportunities that digital environments provide, with tools that allow monitoring the supply and consumption of food and that "can be essential for the planning and monitoring of public policies for the prevention of obesity".
The call to action is addressed to governments, families, civil society organisations, digital content producers and marketing experts, but also to food companies.
"Governments are asked to act to reduce children's exposure to digital marketing of unhealthy foods; parents and families are asked to recognise the risks associated with excessive exposure of children to screens, seeking to encourage their reduction; schools and the whole school community are asked to collaborate in order to contribute to increasing digital and media literacy of children and young people and economic operators in the agri-food sector and marketers are asked to commit not to advertise foods of poor nutritional quality for children. These are just some examples", says the DGS.