To reduce consumption of unhealthy food by children, authorities have recommended a ban on junk food advertisements.
Artist Lakshmi Nambiar with her daughter Tamaara and Dancer Hima Bindu Kanoj with her daughter Laasya.
The attractive advertisement showing the cheesy gooeyness of a burger may soon be a thing of the past. The Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI), who had earlier recommended additional tax on processed foods and sugar-sweetened beverages, has now recommended a blanket ban on the advertising of junk foods and beverages on children’s channels and content for children across television, websites and social media.
The ban was recommended following the report ‘Consumption of fat, sugar and salt (FSS) and its health effects on Indian population’, which suggested many ways to reduce consumption of unhealthy food by children.
While we are all aware about the ill-effects of junk food, it doesn’t stop people from getting those products home. Welcoming the ban, Hima Bindu Kanoj, dancer and parent to six-year-old Laasya, says, “Children are very familiar with what goes on in television channels. They know about the schedule and what advertisements come in between. So if the ban is being imposed, nothing like it. It will help divert the child’s mind to something more concrete.” She adds, “Then again, all the blame can’t be put on advertisements; parents also need to be more cautious. One can let children indulge twice a month and the rest you can monitor.”
“I am really shocked with this step. Now, how will I get to know which chips have been added on with vitamins and minerals?” asks Avish Juluri, the nine-year-old son of artist Sravanthi Juluri. “Avish is not much of a junk food eater, but he likes to buy things either because they look attractive or his friends have eaten them. The ban will be a boon for the parents. Less visibility means less peer pressure to try and eat it at least once,” says Sravanthi.
According to fellow artist and parent, Lakshmi Nambiar, her daughter Tamaara gets enticed with the advertisements which get aired every few minutes in between a show. “Kids remember every minute detail which is showcased in the ads. If that is restricted, I think we have a win over junk foods,” says Lakshmi.