MK Danny Danon (Likud), chairman of the Knesset Committee for Rights of the Child, has proposed a private member's bill to require government supervision for food available to children in schools, kindergartens, community centers and other facilities and thus cut down on obesity.
Danon notes that 10 percent of all Israeli youngsters and 30% of adults are overweight too many of them obese. Eighty percent of fat youth will be overweight as adults, he said on Tuesday.
The country spends an estimated NIS 10 billion a year for treatment of diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, orthopedic problems, heart disease, stroke and other conditions in the population that are connected to overweight.
While parents are supposed to supervise the health and dietary habits of their children at home, the schools have no supervision at all of what kiosks sell -- usually junk food -- and of hot meals provided in cafeterias that are often not nutritious. While the Education Ministry has issued guidelines and instructions about what is sold in kiosks, Danon said that their owners "ignore" them.
Many countries, especially in Australia, Scandinavia and the rest of Western Europe and even in obese United States, have begun to supervise what children eat in schools and other social frameworks outside the home, he said.
While pornography and other harmful material are prohibited on TV, there is no prohibition of broadcast ads for junk food targeting children and youths, the Danon added. In Israel, sweet foods with empty calories are piled up near the cash registers in stores for purchase while waiting in the queue.