The Union Ministry of Women and Child Development (WCD) has suggested that junk food advertisements should not be aired during children's programmes. The Ministry brought up the idea during recent discussions where 'misleading advertisements' were being discussed. Rohit Kumar Singh was chairing the meeting, the Secretary of Consumer Affairs and other officials from several important ministries like health, home affairs, information broadcasting and consumer affairs.
Obesity Amongst Children On Rise
In a meeting held on February 17, the Ministry of WCD said that misleading advertisements regarding junk food should be banned from children's programmes. Moreover, the official also contended that ads should not promote carbonated drinks in which celebrities are seen performing dangerous stunts, The Indian Express reported. Additionally, the official also suggested that the ads should not promote health supplements like DHA Omega 3 fatty acids, which often support brain development. Since 'unhealthy' junk food promotes 'obesity' amongst children, advertisements advocating for the same should be banned.
Prohibit 'Behaviour' That Could Be Dangerous
The National Family Health Survey (NFHS) also highlighted the rising trend of obesity among children. The first draft for the guidelines was released by the Ministry of Consumer Affairs in 2020 but did not mention banning the ads. However, in the latest draft, the government intended to prohibit 'behaviour' in ads that could be dangerous for children and could be hazardous for children and affect their mental health.
The draft guidelines also clearly stated that advertisements that are of interest to children shall not "take advantage of children's inexperience, credulity or sense of loyalty, or exaggerate the features of a good or service in a way that could lead to children having unrealistic expectations of such good or service."