WHO / CHILDREN HEALTH

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19-Feb-2020 00:04:15
Following the release of a landmark report by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and The Lancet on children’s health, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said, “The health of children everywhere is at risk. We can do more, and we must do more. Our children, our young people, deserve better.” WHO

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STORY: WHO / CHIDLREN HEALTH
TRT: 4:15
SOURCE: WHO
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LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS

DATELINE: 19 FEBRUARY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

SHOTLIST:

FILE - GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

1. Wide shot, WHO emblem outside headquarters

19 FEBRUARY 2020, GENEVA, SWITZERLAND

2. Wide shot, conference room
3. Wide shot, attendees
4. Med shot, photographer
5. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization:
“Young people around the world are asking leaders to act. It is time to listen. We, as adults, stand accountable to them. We must ensure we leave them a world with the conditions necessary for children to not only survive, but thrive, and build the future they deserve.”
6. Wide shot, attendees
7. SOUNDBITE (English) Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, Director-General, World Health Organization:
“We encourage leaders around the world to take heed. No country can afford to be complacent; no country is doing enough. The health of children everywhere is at risk. We can do more, and we must do more. Our children, our young people, deserve better.”
8. Various shots, meeting
9. SOUNDBITE (English) Helen Clark, Co-Chair, WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission:
“The new report says that the future isn't so bright unless we act. Of course, the message is that we can act on the climate crisis and on the commercial determinants that are driving ill health among children. So, looking to the positive, there's a good strong message there for action.”
10. Med shot. Clark participating in meeting
11. SOUNDBITE (English) Helen Clark, Co-Chair, WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission:
“There's two big threats identified, one is the whole background of the climate crisis, which threatens food security, greater prevalence of disease, more disasters, all extremely risky for the future of children. It also focuses in on the commercial environment, which is very damaging to children's health with bad food and drinks, and the whole obesogenic environment that's been created.”
12. Med shot, Clark being interviewed
13. SOUNDBITE (English) Helen Clark, Co-Chair, WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission:
“On climate: action, action, action. Live up to what's required to meet the Paris Agreement’s target of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. And secondly, on the commercial determinants, governments must regulate, and we suggest an optional protocol to the convention on the rights of the child, which tackles the commercial determinants of children's health.”
14. Med shot, Clark being interviewed
15. SOUNDBITE (English) Helen Clark, Co-Chair, WHO-UNICEF-Lancet Commission:
“There's optimism that we can act, that we can turn the tide. It's going to take tremendous advocacy and leadership. There has to be action led by heads of government. They need to mobilize across the governments and ministries and sectors to get that action. I've been a leader, I know how tough it is to take on commercial determinants and those who are behind, the pollution, which is causing climate change. But leaders have to step up. Otherwise, we don't secure the future we need for our children.”
16. Med shot. Costello participating in meeting
17. SOUNDBITE (English) Anthony Costello, Professor of Global Health and Sustainable Development, University College, London and co-author of the Report:
“The voices of children are incredibly important. We've seen the school strikes, I mean millions of children out on the streets saying, this is their future. We've got to do something about it. In our report, we visited children in a number of countries, Lebanon, Nigeria, Argentina, and New Zealand. And what was interesting, they all had a similar set of priorities. Number one was their family and relationships. Number two was their environment. And then protection from violence and their education. Those are the four priorities for children. That's what our politicians should invest in because if we destroy our future, we’ve failed miserably.”
18. Med shot, Costello being interviewed

STORYLINE:

Following the release of a landmark report by the World Health Organization (WHO), UNICEF and The Lancet on children’s health, WHO Director-General Tedros Ghebreyesus said, “The health of children everywhere is at risk. We can do more, and we must do more. Our children, our young people, deserve better.”

The report released today by a Commission of over 40 child and adolescent health experts from around the world found that no single country is adequately protecting children’s health, their environment and their futures.

The report, ‘A Future for the World’s Children?’, found that the health and future of every child and adolescent worldwide is under immediate threat from ecological degradation, climate change and exploitative marketing practices that push heavily processed fast food, sugary drinks, alcohol and tobacco at children.

At an event in Geneva today (19 Feb), Tedros said young people around the world “are asking leaders to act. It is time to listen. We, as adults, stand accountable to them. We must ensure we leave them a world with the conditions necessary for children to not only survive, but thrive, and build the future they deserve.”

The WHO Director-General encouraged leaders around the world to “take heed” adding that no country could afford to be “complacent; no country is doing enough.”

Former Prime Minister of New Zealand and Co-Chair of the Commission Helen Clark said there were two big threats identified in the report: “One is the whole background of the climate crisis, which threatens food security, greater prevalence of disease, more disasters, all extremely risky for the future of children. It also focuses in on the commercial environment, which is very damaging to children's health with bad food and drinks, and the whole obesogenic environment that's been created.”

Clark said what was required was action on climate change and to meet the Paris Agreement’s target of keeping global warming below 1.5 degrees Celsius. On the commercial determinants, she said “governments must regulate, and we suggest an optional protocol to the convention on the rights of the child, which tackles the commercial determinants of children's health.”

The Commission’s Co-Chair said there was optimism that the tide could be turned but stressed that it would take “tremendous advocacy and leadership.” She said, “There has to be action led by heads of government. They need to mobilize across the governments and ministries and sectors to get that action. I've been a leader, I know how tough it is to take on commercial determinants and those who are behind, the pollution, which is causing climate change. But leaders have to step up. Otherwise, we don't secure the future we need for our children.”

The report included a new global index of 180 countries, comparing performance on child flourishing, including measures of child survival and well-being, such as health, education, and nutrition; sustainability, with a proxy for greenhouse gas emissions, and equity, or income gaps.

According to the report, while the poorest countries need to do more to support their children’s ability to live healthy lives, excessive carbon emissions – disproportionately from wealthier countries – threaten the future of all children. If global warming exceeds four degrees Celsius by the year 2100 in line with current projections, this would lead to devastating health consequences for children, due to rising ocean levels, heatwaves, proliferation of diseases like malaria and dengue, and malnutrition.

The index showed that children in Norway, the Republic of Korea, and the Netherlands have the best chance at survival and well-being, while children in Central African Republic, Chad, Somalia, Niger and Mali face the worst odds. However, when authors took per capita CO2 emissions into account, the top countries trailed behind: Norway ranked 156, the Republic of Korea 166, and the Netherlands 160. Each of the three emits 210 per cent more CO2 per capita than their 2030 target. The United States of America (USA), Australia, and Saudi Arabia are among the ten worst emitters.

The only countries on track to beat CO2 emission per capita targets by 2030, while also performing fairly (within the top 70) on child flourishing measures are: Albania, Armenia, Grenada, Jordan, Moldova, Sri Lanka, Tunisia, Uruguay and Viet Nam.

The report also highlighted the distinct threat posed to children from harmful marketing. Evidence suggests that children in some countries see as many as 30,000 advertisements on television alone in a single year, while youth exposure to vaping (e-cigarettes) advertisements increased by more than 250 per cent in the USA over two years, reaching more than 24 million young people.

Professor Anthony Costello, one of the Commission’s authors, said, “The voices of children are incredibly important. We've seen the school strikes, I mean millions of children out on the streets saying, this is their future. We've got to do something about it. In our report, we visited children in a number of countries, Lebanon, Nigeria, Argentina, and New Zealand. And what was interesting, they all had a similar set of priorities. Number one was their family and relationships. Number two was their environment. And then protection from violence and their education. Those are the four priorities for children. That's what our politicians should invest in because if we destroy our future, we’ve failed miserably.”

Children’s exposure to commercial marketing of junk food and sugary beverages is associated with purchase of unhealthy foods and overweight and obesity, linking predatory marketing to the alarming rise in childhood obesity. The number of obese children and adolescents increased from 11 million in 1975 to 124 million in 2016 – an 11-fold increase, with dire individual and societal costs.

To protect children, the independent Commission authors called for a new global movement driven by and for children. Specific recommendations include:

1. Stop CO2 emissions with the utmost urgency, to ensure children have a future on this planet;
2. Place children and adolescents at the centre of our efforts to achieve sustainable development;
3. New policies and investment in all sectors to work towards child health and rights;
4. Incorporate children’s voices into policy decisions;
5. Tighten national regulation of harmful commercial marketing, supported by a new Optional Protocol to the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child.
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WHO
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unifeed200219c
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2533633