Adverts for Unhealthy Food and Drinks Remain Restricted
The Ministry of Food and Drug Safety on Tuesday said restrictions on advertising for fattening products like carbonated drinks and fast foods will be maintained.
The Cabinet approved guidelines that ban commercials for fattening food from TV from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. when many children are watching.
The ban was first introduced in 2010 for three years and renewed two times more. The new guidelines make it permanent. It covers foods that are high in calories, saturated fat, sugars, and sodium and low in proteins and other nutrients. Examples are cookies, soda drinks, cup noodles and hamburgers.
The ministry said, "We believe this regulation will help solve youth obesity problems."
The obesity rate among children from six to 18 was a whopping 13.3 percent as of 2016, 1.5 times higher than in 2001. The rise has been linked to an increase in consumption of fast foods and fizzy drinks.
According to a survey last year by the Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 18.9 percent of boys and 15.9 percent of girls in high schools in Korea ate fast foods three times or more per week, 1.3 times higher than in 2009.
In a 2016 survey by the ministry, 25.8 percent of children said they get their information about snacks from TV commercials, and 62.5 percent were persuaded by TV commercials to buy the product. And 61.7 percent of parents said limiting exposure to commercials would help establish healthier eating habits for children.
Junk food marketing targeting children is restricted in several advanced countries such as Norway, the U.K. and the U.S.