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Parliamentary questions
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16 February 2010
by Elena Oana Antonescu (PPE)
to the Commission

 Subject: Measures to counteract risk factors leading to obesity
 Answer in writing 

In recent decades, laws have been adopted both in the national parliaments of the Member States and at European level to discourage the consumption of substances potentially dangerous to human health. The advertising and marketing of alcoholic drinks and tobacco has been subject to certain restrictions and conditioning, especially when they may be attractive to vulnerable consumers such as children and adolescents. Alcohol and tobacco continue to be responsible for the degeneration in health and death of millions of people, but after several decades of policies to discourage smoking, for example, statistics show that the number of smokers has fallen, while the number of people who consider smoking to be a harmful habit has increased significantly. Another major risk factor for consumer health — that of fast food — has, with the economic crisis, recently increased in the Member States.

The European Charter on Alcohol(1) (Article 4) proposes controlling demand for alcohol among young people, including by taxation. The European Charter on Counteracting Obesity(2) also provides (paragraph 2.4.6) for the possibility of using fiscal policies to stem the worrying trend in obesity among the young.

What role can the Commission play vis‑à-vis the Member States to limit the impact on health of fast food consumption, with a view to achieving the objectives of the aforementioned Charter through the means suggested therein?

(1)EUR/ICP/ALDT 94 03/CH01.

Original language of question: ROOJ C 138 E, 07/05/2011
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