Regulating food ads not a solution to lifestyle diseases

Editor, Parents should have control over what their children consume. It is not the TV that should dictate what our children eat. Processed food manufacturers attach much emphasis on sales and profit margins. It's their survival in this extremely competitive world.
Tv food advertisements are believed to influence young people on what to eat. (File)
Tv food advertisements are believed to influence young people on what to eat. (File)

Editor,

Parents should have control over what their children consume. It is not the TV that should dictate what our children eat. Processed food manufacturers attach much emphasis on sales and profit margins. It’s their survival in this extremely competitive world.

WHO is once again having its priorities upside down by targeting the marketing segment in the whole process that leads to processed food consumption. It’s amazing how the UN organisations work. To me, non communicable diseases whose prevalence can be related to nutrient quantities in processed foods can be controlled by instead working with the specific processors to minimise those specific nutrients.

I think Coca-Cola is already aware of what WHO is trying to do, the reason why they introduced diet coke, with aspartame, a low calorie sugar, instead of sucrose to minimise risks of diabetes and other NCDs related to high sugar.

Advertisement targets consumption and thus sales, but advertising is not intended to cause lifestyle related diseases. I can imagine that any efforts by WHO to restrict media advertisement would be challenged by big processed food manufacturers. Manufacturers would rather minimise particular nutrients e.g. sugar (like diet-coke has done), than be restricted from advertising. Their lawyers would win the case against WHO.

James Munanura

Reaction to the story, “Rwanda welcomes WHO move to regulate food ads” (The New Times, October 12)

ADVERTISEMENT