Muscat: The Ministry of Health may ban junk food ads aimed at attracting children due to the growing obesity rates in the country.
According to a source in the Ministry of Health, the plan is still in its first phase and may take more than two years to be implemented.
“We are currently in phase one which includes surveying people from the media industry on number of advertisements that are broadcasted by their respective channels and their effects,” she said. She noted that the following steps will include education in schools related to obesity and a strategy to contain its alarming rise, by the different government organisation involved, before the law is passed.
The suggestion comes from the World Health Organisation (WHO), which plans to cut down on advertisements attracting younger population on fear of unhealthy practices and their consequences. Several European countries including the UK already have such plans underway.
Countries in the GCC suffer from high rates of obesity and MoH aims to decrease the rising percentage. “We have a high rate of obesity and junk food advertisement attracting children are one of the reasons for such unhealthy practices. MoH has planned several campaigns next year targeting obesity in both children and adults,” she added.
Due to its direct effect in different industries, several government organisations are involved, including Ministry of Education, Muscat Municipality, Ministry of Social Development, Ministry of Information and Ministry of Commerce.