The Minister of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, María Luisa Carcedo, highlighted, at the inauguration of the 67th Congress of the Spanish Association of Pediatrics, that childhood "is a priority", since "it is the most important development phase of the entire life course "as recognized by the World Health Organization (WHO).
Carcedo lamented the impact of the crisis and austerity policies in childhood and argued with data its "important impact." Spain has one of the highest rates of risk of child poverty in the European Union, over 28%, compared to almost 22% in adults. Severe poverty reaches one in ten people. In childhood, that figure rises to 15%.
The minister explained that poor children and adolescents face widespread environmental inequalities that affect their health. One of the direct consequences of poverty and inequality are the high rates of childhood overweight and obesity. 1 in 10 children between 2 and 17 years old is obese and 1 in 6 suffers from overweight, according to the Spanish National Health Survey of 2017. Spain is the second country with the worst figures of overweight, obesity and severe obesity in children between 6 and 9 years among 21 EU countries, according to a study published in the journal Obesity Facts.
"In the medium and long term, this implies a social, economic and health cost, and childhood obesity predicts adult obesity and the development of diseases such as type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases and other respiratory diseases such as asthma," the minister insisted. .
To alleviate this situation, Carcedo has highlighted the actions that are being carried out by the Ministry of Health, Consumption and Social Welfare, such as the NAOS strategy for nutrition, physical activity and prevention of obesity. In this framework, last January, 20 agreements were signed with associations representing 398 food and beverage companies to reduce the content of an average of 10% of sugar, saturated fat and salt in more than 3,500 foods and beverages.
He also announced that it intends to strengthen the Code of Corregulation of Food and Beverage Advertising directed to minors, within the Prevention of Obesity and Health (PAOS Code) and improve the nutritional information of products to facilitate healthier decisions contributing to create environments that facilitate more active lifestyles.
"In this term that begins we will work in particular on different projects to promote the health of children in the area of mental health, sexual health and life habits and healthy eating," he said.
The minister also explained that the Proposed Draft Organic Law on Comprehensive Protection against Violence against Children it entails the elaboration of a common protocol of sanitary action where will be established what measures should be adopted if a case of violence is detected on a minor. In addition, records relating to the care of underage victims of violence will be recorded in the medical record.
In addition, the minister has highlighted Strategy for Health Promotion and Prevention in the National Health System, the Positive Parenting Program or the adoption of the common vaccinal calendar throughout life, which has been reinforced with the inclusion of a tetravalent vaccine that will prevent against serogroups A, C, W and Y of meningococcus.
Finally, Carcedo thanked the daily work of the pediatricians: "You are fundamental," he assured. "I anticipate that one of the priorities that will be developed in 2019 within the framework of the Strategy of health promotion and prevention is the integral advice to improve with parents, mothers and children their daily habits. ", it is finished.