June 30, 2008

Brazil Considering Restriction on Unhealthy Food Ads

Brazil considering restriction on unhealthy food ads

RIO DE JANEIRO, June 27 (Xinhua) -- The Brazilian Ministry of Health is considering restricting the advertising of unhealthy food on television and magazines.

A study from the University of Brasilia (UnB) said Friday that 72 percent of food ads stimulate consumption of products with high levels of fat, salt and sugar.

Of them, 18 percent were about fast-food products, and 14 percent processed beverages.

On Thursday, representatives from the federal government, the civil society, the Federal Attorneys Office and universities met in the capital of Brasilia to discuss the issue.

The UnB study, which was based on 4,108 hours of TV programs and 128,525 ads, showed that TV food commercials are mostly broadcast from 2:30 p.m. to 6:30 p.m., while magazine ads are concentrated in women, teenager and children publications, and focus on ready food.

According to Ana Beatriz Vasconcellos, chief coordinator of the Food and Nutrition Policy Department of the Ministry of Health, children are the most vulnerable group of the audience, who also have a huge influence on their parents' buying decision.

The study was one of the ministry's actions to implement a resolution approved in 2007 by the World Health Assembly, which proposed the adoption of a global strategy to prevent and control non-transmissible chronic diseases.

According to the plan, countries should adopt mechanisms to reduce the impact of food rich in saturated fats, trans fats, sodium and sugar, which include producing responsible food advertisements, especially for children.

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