Stakeholders are reminded to be responsible and adhere to new guidelines that came into effect at the start of the month for the marketing of food and beverages to children during a dialogue session with the Ministry of Health (MoH) yesterday.
The Code on Responsible Marketing of Food and Beverages to Children came into effect on January 1.
The objective of the code is to regulate the marketing of food and beverages, including advertisements, to children as one of the initiatives of the ministry to reduce and control obesity among children.
Senior Medical Officer at the Health Promotion Centre Dr Hajah Norol Ehsan binti Haji Abd Hamid gave a talk to stakeholders during which the three principles behind the code were outlined.
The first principle states that all marketing to children must be prepared with and observe a sense of social responsibility to consumers and society.
The second principle states that all marketing to children should not make use of children’s credulity, loyalty, vulnerability or lack of knowledge and experience or without reason, to mislead or deceive them.
The third principle warns against the use of popular personalities or characters well-known to children, including child actors, in marketing to promote food in such a manner as to undermine a healthy diet as defined by the Guideline on Marketing Food and Beverages in Brunei Darussalam.
According to the MoH, between 1997 and 2016, the obesity rate in Brunei Darussalam more than doubled from 12 per cent to 28 per cent.
The obesity rate among teenagers nears 20 per cent and the same worrying trend is seen in younger children with one-point increase in the prevalence of obesity every year since 2009.
The trend has been observed despite increased awareness on healthy eating and lifestyle in the population. It has also persisted in spite of the integration of healthy eating into the school curriculum, equipping parents with cooking skills and other similar programmes.