Tighter rules for fast food and soda ads to protect children: Minister

Tighter rules for fast food and soda ads to protect children: Minister

SINGAPORE - Fast food restaurants may have to stop trying to attract children with advertisements that dangle free toys and games with their meals.

Soda companies may also have to tailor its advertising campaigns to an adult population instead of kids.

These are just some of the key changes to advertising rules that may be adopted by the authorities to protect children from being drawn to a diet that is high in fat, sugar or salt.

The proposed changes were revealed by Health Minister Gan Kim Yong at the launch of this year's National Healthy Lifestyle Campaign on Saturday.

Speaking at the event, Mr Gan said the Government will launch a public consultation in November to address the subject of advertising guidelines.

The Health Promotion Board said evidence has shown that "advertising influences children's food preferences, purchase requests or consumption patterns".

The World Health Organisation has been encouraging member states to restrict advertisements of food and drinks that are high in fat, sugar or salt to children.

Countries like Norway and Sweden, and the state of Quebec in Canada, have already banned advertisements aimed at children aged 12 years and younger.

The United Kingdom and South Korea have statutory regulations restricting food advertising. Finland and Denmark have also introduced guidelines in this area. Mr Gan said Singapore is planning to do the same.

Currently, advertisers here abide by the Code of Advertising Practice set by the Advertising Standards Authority of Singapore.

It states, for example, that advertisements should not actively encourage children to replace main meals with confectionery or snacks.

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