by Sujatha Nanjundeshwara | 23 FEB 2018
India is a land of opposites. There are huge variations on everything from cultures to seasons to nutrition levels.
38% of children below 5 years of age suffer from severe malnutrition.
On the other hand, 22% of 5-13 years old urban children are victims of obesity as per WHO! And the main culprit of this is the marketing of unhealthy foods and non- alcoholic drinks.
The Indian government has taken some steps in this regard.
No more junk food ads on kid’s channels : Especially on the cartoon ones, as per the Minister for I&B , Rajyavardhan Singh Rathore.
FSSAI diktat on voluntary ban : Based on the recommendation of an expert group, FSSAI has remarked that food businesses should stop advertising high fat, sugar & salt foods on children’s channels voluntarily.
Leading food advertisers agree to it : Coca-Cola, Nestle & others have agreed to not to sponsor junk food ads on children’s channels or during children’s shows.
Hopes rise that children make healthy food choices ! With this move in place, it is hoped that children learn to make healthy food choices when they are not exposed to such junk food ads.
FSSAI also says, ban celebrity endorsements : FSSAI also recommends that celebrities stop endorsing foods high in sugar/ salt / fat items; the government is yet to consider this suggestion.
Junk food ads can be aired on mainstream channels : I & B Minister Smriti Irani has categorically denied that there is any kind of a blanket ban on all kinds of junk food ads on TV. The junk food ads ban is applicable only to children’s channels, while mainstream TV channels can continue to air them.
In other words, if a child happens to catch these ads on other channels, he/ she may get inspired to eat junk food again!
In such a scenario, it becomes the responsibility of the parents to continuously educate their children and create awareness regarding the critical role played by healthy food habits in their future growth and development.
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