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Pledges on Food Marketing to Children Worldwide

In light of global concerns about increasing prevalence of childhood overweight and obesity, both the World Health Organization and the Institute of Medicine have called on the private sector to address problems associated with food marketing to children.

Many major global food and beverage companies, in conjunction with industry trade organizations, have issued voluntary pledges to change marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children. This database lists and describes these pledges. It provides the specific criteria each pledge or company uses to define their restrictions on marketing communications to children, including the definition of "children" (age); the definition of marketing directed at children (child-directed media); the communications channels (ex.  television, internet, etc.) and marketing techniques (ex. advertising using licensed characters, advertising using promotional materials, etc.) covered; and the foods which are exempt from the restrictions. Most of the pledges* require participating companies to publish individual commitments to the pledges**, which may contain more stringent definitions than specified in the pledges. A minority of pledges do not require commitments from participating companies. In these cases the criteria set out in the pledge cover all members.

One of the characteristics of the pledges and commitments is that they are updated over time. This database aims to provide up-to-date information on a routine basis. Please contact Megan Orciari at megan.orciari@yale.edu with any comments or questions.

Search for pledges on food marketing to children.

* A pledge is a voluntary statement made jointly by a group of food companies in a specific country or region (e.g., United States, European Union) that sets out basic principles to govern food marketing to children, including restrictions on certain types of marketing, definitions of child-directed media, and nutrition criteria for foods that are exempted from restrictions. A pledge includes a series of key criteria that define the restrictions on marketing communications to children, comprising the definition of what is meant by "children" and child-targeted media, and the communications channels and marketing techniques covered. These are set as a minimum standard. The pledges may also set minimum standards for the foods that can be exempted from the restrictions, but this is usually defined in the commitments.

** A commitment is a statement or letter written by a participating company that states that the company supports the pledge and sets out specific standards that the company will follow. The criteria cannot be less restrictive than the pledge, but can be more stringent. Commitments are not required by all the pledges. Where they are required, they, rather than the pledge, usually define the foods to which the restrictions apply.