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Free drinking water in Andalucía's bars and cafés a legal requirement
By thinkSPAIN Team Tue, Jan 9, 2018
BARS and cafés in Andalucía are now required by law to give customers free drinking water if they request it as part of the regional government's drive to improve the population's health.
They must provide a jug and glasses without charge, although the contents may be tap water instead of bottled if the former is drinkable.
Free water must also be available in vending machines set up in public places, or via fountains or other installations not more than two metres away, and also in schools or anywhere children may be gathered, such as parks.
Restaurants are now required to ensure they provide healthy meals on menus and be willing to offer different portion sizes if requested, and grocery shops and supermarkets must retail fresh and perishable produce in different sized packaging to reflect 'all family sizes' – a move aimed mainly at those living alone who do not want to buy goods in large containers that they know they will never be able to eat before they go off.
School canteens are required to use fresh, seasonal and local produce where possible and to base their lunches on the Mediterranean diet, whilst children will spend time working on school allotments as part of their curriculum and must undertake at least five hours of physical activity a week within school hours.
After-school activities should be based upon sports and exercise as much as possible.
Workplaces with more than 50 employees are required to install bicycle parks, and curbs on advertising of food and drink with high levels of fat, sugar and calories will be brought in shortly, especially those aimed at children under 15.
Such advertising must not claim any 'sensations of superiority' as a result of their consumption – like showing an ordinary school child turning into a super-hero after downing a can of fizzy drink.
Food and drink sold in vending machines and tuck shops in schools must not contain more than 200 calories in a single unit, nor exceed a stated maximum level of saturated fat, trans fatty acids, salt, sugar, caffeine or other stimulants.
In preparing the new consumer law, the regional government of Andalucía brought together committees of parents, teachers, health workers and patients, business owners and professional governing bodies such as the College of Pharmacists and College of Lawyer.
According to figures released in the presentation, a total of 16.6% of Andalucía's adult population is clinically obese, as are 15.2% of pregnant women – but children are most at risk, since 23% of the under-18s in Andalucía suffer from obesity.
And health experts fear these numbers could double by the year 2050.
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