"Taiwan to ban junk food ads - Thu, Jan 28, 2010 AFP
TAIPEI (AFP) - TAIWAN aims to become of one of the first societies in the world to ban junk food adverts in children's TV programmes in a bid to cut obesity rates, an official said on Thursday.
The authorities are drafting a bill to ban such commercials as well as images of smoking in children's programmes, following the lead of Britain and South Korea, said an official at the Bureau of Health Promotion.
The bill will also introduce the world's first tax on food deemed unhealthy, such as sugary drinks, candy, cakes, fast food and alcohol."
You are what you eat. Fast food companies have been known for years to target the young and innocent with the many merchandises like Hello Kitty toys, and this and that toys and gadgets that turned them into mesmerized and captive loyal customers!
It is a known fact also that human beings are creature of habits and when a habit is formed from a young age and for a long long time, it become increasingly difficult to break and form a new healthier eating habit!
Lessons for me are:
1. companies have to be socially responsible in the pursuit of growth and profitability. There are many ways to grow the top line and the bottom line. e.g. healthier menus and food and drink, stop encouraging over-consumption!;
2. government that regulate the standard of advertising MUST act on the strong principle of: "protecting the impressionable young kids. And spare the parents the torment of having to decide for the kids if eating fast food is good or not!" by outlawing such advertisement in the first place! This may hurt some commercial interests and may even be termed 'repressive' and ' not trusting that the people know what is good for themselves!'. All these rhetoric must be ignored as the evidence of fast foods and drinks are bad is quite clear. So, do not wavered on this resolve! Ban it!! If the consumers still want to buy and eat and drink the fast foods, let them do so without the benefits of advertisement!;
3. the industry must also re-examine its approach to providing healthier foods and drinks in their joints. Many have taken such steps and some have succeeded in finding new avenues to generate the desire growth in their top lines and the bottom lines. It can be done if one is prepared to be innovative on the basis of doing the right thing!
May more countries follow the lead of Britain, South Korea and, now, Taiwan, in banning fast food companies from targeting children! Don't allow the cradle snatchers to succeed in this particular arena!!