Friday, June 22, 2007

Banning Fast Food Ads on Children's TV Programmes

The Cabinet has decided to ban fast food commercials on children's television programmes, said Health Minister Dr Chua Soi Lek.
Bernama has the rest of the story is here.
In fact, the ministry had been thinking about doing this earlier this year. Read about it here.
Just after the ministry made known its plan in February, McDonald's Malaysia said the way to good health was not through banning fast food advertisements.
McDonald's Malaysia managing director Azmir Jaafar said this had been proven in Sweden, which banned such advertisements 13 years ago.
He said McDonald's, together with the Nutritional Society of Malaysia, Malaysian Dieticians' Society, media and advertisers' associations, had agreed to collaborate with the Health Ministry on the issue.
A meeting was scheduled with Dr Chua on March 5.
Read it here.

I have no idea if the meeting took place. If it did, then it must have not gone so well because the government is going ahead with its plan to ban the ads.

Now, back to today's announcement.
On the outset, it does seem like a responsible thing to do. However, I am not sure whether this will help instil good eating habits among children, as is intended.
Could we be missing the target here?

Frankly, I think it is a very convenient and lazy way of dealing with children's health.
We're so good at banning things. If fast food is really the problem and the biggest impediment to our health, why don't we just ban fast food?
Teh tarik is bad, health wise. So why don't we just ban teh tarik in restaurants and mamak shops.

The fast foods that are advertised during children's programmes are not health food, I know. But they are not so bad or so unhealthy that they are anathema to us.
However, with any food or any thing in life, too much should, of course, not be encouraged.
Just like too much roti canai and too much teh tarik (loaded with condensed milk). Not good.
But I forget, nobody advertises teh tarik and roti canai on TV.

I think if we want to help Malaysian kids eat well, it is not by banning the ads.
If we are really serious, we should be more proactive and do more substantive things that will yield long-term results.

I call my youngers sisters and my nieces as well as nephews, the MacDonalds generation. I, myself grew up on KFC and A&W hotdogs.
I am sure there is a whole generation of Malaysians whom we could call the "fast food" generation. And among some of them are very obese people.
But fast food had not been all that we had. Surely not.

Perhaps, it may work this ban on fast food ads. Perhaps, if children do not see the ads, they will forget about fast food and banish it from their thoughts, from their minds.

Perhaps, their daily diet of rice or pasta no longer has to compete with fast food.
Perhaps too, while at school, kids can turn to their canteen for good and healthy food. Or can they?


Nora aka Anon Fm Miri said...

...."Perhaps too, while at school, kids can turn to their canteen for good and healthy food. Or can they?".....

Are you sure? Looking at what been happening nowadays (all the "Keracunan" thing) in the school. Tak berani nak kata kak.




Apa khabar, bro.

i am very sure that kids DO NOT get good, healthy and nutritious food from canteens. sure, they have the nasi lemak, mee goreng, mee hoon goreng. they also have nuggets, fried chicken, hotdogs and burgers. generally, school canteen operators are not known to take the trouble to serve these dishes with vegetables or nutritious accompaniments. those who do are few and far between.
even then, we have to be thankful that they serve these foods. some schools don't at all.
but what they all do sell are SNACKS. Unhealthy snacks that are loaded with sugar and salt.

The Cabinet should look into that because good eating habits begin at home and fortified at school or vice versa even.

Banning fast food ads on children's programmes is not solving the problem or helping kids eat healthily. I think it is an illusion to think so.

I am not a proponent of fast foods. Although I grew up during in the KFC and A&W generation, I hardly consume them.
My kids used to love them. But I encourage them to eat healthy food as well. I say "used to" because years of instilling good & healthy eating habits have yielded productive results. rewarding. once in a while, they crave for a Big Mac or KFC.
Once in a while they crave for a roti canai too. But they have their teh ais, very kurang manis.

My younger sisters and the younger members of my extended family are the McDonalds generation. But they are healthy, not obese.That's becos they eat healthily. Big Macs are not predominant in their daily diet. not even monthly. more like once in a blue moon.
we have diabetes in the family. that's genetic. so we take care.

thanks, nora.

Anonymous said...

ini memang topik saya ni, sebabnya mulut ni dah penat suruh anak-anak makan yang kita masak dan yang bagus-bagus. kadang tu geram dengan influence di luar tu. ada masa kita pun kena influnce sekali! tambah lagi fast food ni ada home deliveries.

true kak ena, the school canteen do sell those stuffs. being ajk with the school pibg, pihak sekolah kata dah cuba sediakan but end up to waste as the kids tak makan all these good food. berbalik pada kita as parents pulak untuk membiasakan mereka dengan healthy food di rumah lagi.

saya menipu kalau saya kata saya tak makan fast food dan mamaks food. but my son quite often gets vegetable for free at the school canteen, as much as he likes. and he likes them. ini pasti tak berlaku kalau saya tak cuba bersungguh-sungguh di rumah. sebabnya dapat free selalu, dia kata pakcik canteen said to him, 'daripada membazir tak habis dimakan, baik engkau makan!'

i'm just plain lucky to have time to cook, alhamdulillah. for working mums, cubalah juga prepare some stuff during the weekend agar cooking time will be cut short and food is easily ready during the week, inshaAllah.

Deo said...

canteen foods pun poisonous these days. susu cokelat yang supposed to be healthy food tu pun could kill.

aduuuhhh no foods are safe lah nowadays.

why dont, all moms or mummies (or dads or dummies) :-) cook and pack foods for their kids to school.

Anonymous said...

Promoting healthy eating habits takes more than just a band-aid solution such as banning fast food ads. I have a rather foolproof way of dealing with this problem with my two uni-going youngsters who are the so-called flag-carrying members of the fast food generation. Despite my aversion to cooking, I cook and pack lunch boxes for them. They know if they don’t bring lunch from home, they will have to eat at the canteen with the money coming out of their own pockets, which they earn sweating at their part-time jobs - voila, problem solved by an ingenious (if I may say so myself) manipulation of the ever-so-sensitive hip-pocket nerve.

As for myself, I lead by example and ta pao for lunch as well most days. As I tend to consume less if it is my own cooking (read: unpalatable concoction), bringing lunch from home also serves as an air-tight method of weight control for me. Ah…., the multifaceted health benefits of ta-paoing.


memang, preihal pemakanan dan kesihatan anak2 pasti topik kesukaan kaum ibu2.
adel dan shaira dari kecil kak ena latih diorang makan sayur2an.
McDonalds, KFC, Pizza pun bagi. Roti canai pun.
tapi kita kena use our common sense.
everything in moderation, while some a little bit more.
memang ibu2 harus biasakan pack-kan makanan untuk anak2. masaalah nya, anak2 nak makan nuggets jugak di sekolah.

jumpa lagi, E


deoughtred: yes.. i agree. perhaps parents should pack food for their kids. only thing, what kind of food that can last about 3 hours wrapped or packed.

thank u for visiting


i think you've got it right. yeah, that;s the way to go. use a bit of psychology, a bit of compulsion and voila...

thanks, sesat.

Anonymous said...

Not having the ads on tv gives parents a brief respite to enforce and inculcate good eating choices among their children.

Consumer surveys overseas (that I can think of right now - Australia) have shown that the pulling and pester power over kids comes strongest from fastfood ads.

These ads are designed by companies that have spent decades and multi-millions perfecting their pitch and catch. - As opposed to parents, some of whom are parents for the first time, or who just never get their act together.

Ultimately, good food choices still depends on parents/guardians to teach, present and reinforce.

But not having fastfood ads during prime-time kiddie-viewing might help parents reinforce the message at home - sans interference from the idiot box (that's another topic!).

Rockybru said...

If the cabinet is really convinced that those fast food are harmful to children, it should order their outlets closed. Otherwise, it will be irresponsible of the Cabinet to allow them top continue to exist. Banning their ads not enough. Let's treat Big Macs like fags, sell only to those above 18!

Anonymous said...

Alamak! Aku masa kecik makan burger pasal tengok iklan, padanlah rasa tak sehat sekarang ni. Aku nak sue kerajaan pasal dulu benarkan iklan masa aku kecik. Celako.

Anonymous said...

Tepat, Kak Ena oi! Convenient and lazy way dan juga stupid. Kantin sekolah anak2 saya penuh dengan crap food. Tak ada ad atau tak ada McDonals pun tak hal. Kuncinya: education. Tapi cara itu memerlukan kerahan tenaga. Kena rajin dan tak stupid. Syabas, artikel yang padat. Compare dgn pojok Utusan Malaysia yang ampu-bodek, lazy, convenient, dan tolol.
Terima kasih dan Mwah!

Anonymous said...

Oi, achei teu blog pelo google tá bem interessante gostei desse post. Quando der dá uma passada pelo meu blog, é sobre camisetas personalizadas, mostra passo a passo como criar uma camiseta personalizada bem maneira. Até mais.


Yes, I do agree. precisely.. but banning such ads during kiddie programs is really not the answer. but yes, i agree with you, nonetheless.

share n care said...

Dear Sis,

MoH is doing its bit by promoting healthy lifestyle. But the extent and impact of ADs negates or dilutes the this promotions.

Also repeated bombardment of these messages to the young make them believe that is the gospel truth.

There many studies find it, control of these Ads has a positive impact.

Any how the role of the parents, current KFC/A&W pampered ones, need to do their duty in educating as well as providing the healthy food to their kids.

MoH can not into their home to help but let them do their bit relieve the -ve influence which challenges the parents' efforts.

Md Sha'an

Anonymous said...


Remember we talked about the "power of consumerism" sometime back? How Malaysian grossly lack of it?

This is exactly my point!

Malaysians will hv to resort to regulatory/authority control to deal with their issues, all the time. As a society, they simply too lazy & complacent to work this on their own.

If the Cabinet has to decide what's good and not good for their children, that clearly shows how lame Malaysian parents as consumers are. That is one step short of having a "Kementerian Pengurusan Isirumah dan Hal Ehwal Dalaman Keluarga".

This new Ministry shall hv the biggest budget, because it will monitor and manage ALL the family household in Malaysia (imagine how many people and families involved!)


ahirudin (rocky):
you know my sentiments about the government's eagerness to ban this and that for want of a more intelligent course of action.
our problem is we want quick fixes, that are really a waste of time. i can see their point of banning the ads. BUT, it is not addressing the issue.
but let's see whether it works.
but from their action, it looks like the government is saying fast foods are HARMFUL to our health.
that is quite misleading. like is said, i am no proponent of fast food, buti can be sure of their hygiene and level of cleanliness in their foiod preparation. And I have never got tummy upset from eating a big Mac or a coney dog or a pepperoni pizza.
I am 50 going on 51, i love working out, i love goin up the kiara hill, i belly dance, i love salsa, i love aerobics and i eat lots of vegetables and things that are good as well as things that a re not good if taken in big amount or consumed excessively, so i dont. and yes, i love noodles and pasta.

what i am trying to say is, we are responsible for our bnody and our health. and parents are responsible for their kids' health.
the government is responisbile for making sure that poison are not sold to us.

so, eating well and staying healthy needs a lot more than banning fast food ads on kiddies' program. and i still think that is missing the target.
of course, i have received contradictory views which i welcome, nonetheless.


anon@8:55pm: betul tu. dulu burger ok, sekarang tak ok. tapi ada baik jangan sue dulu.. mungkin nanti ada kajian yg membuktikan bahawa "fast food" bermutu tinggi dan mengandungi khasiat membikin warga malaysia lebih cerdik dan pandai dan bagus untuk pertumbuhan dan pembesaran badan yang positif.

hah. amacam?


Diin Panjaang:

pokok nya semua ndak yang mudah dan senang.
zaman ini zaman ndak wang senang, untung senang, macam2 senang.

jadi polisi dan course of action pun nak yang senang, tak payah fikir2 panjang.
nanti dapat migraine. atau stress..


senhor rodrigo,
Siento muito. mas se seu blog é ganhar dinheiro, eu não posso ser parte de ele. agradece-o, senhor. de qualquer jeito, obrigado para visitar.


No entanto, eu entrei em seu blog. realmente é interessante.


Care&Share (Md Sha'an):
yes, indeed. i understand. and i am sure it is all with the best of intentions. I am sure malaysians support this gesture.
let's hope that it will yield results.
thank you.


of course, of course.. in the same vein, BD, in the same vein.

malaysians have to start being responsible for their way of life, their lifestyle, their health, their environment. time to take charge and be accountable.

Anonymous said...

Just curious: How many people here would like to see cigarette and alcohol adverts back up on tv again?

Anonymous said...


Onde você aprendeu o português, eh? Temos uma linhagem portuguesa?


abu rabu
Meu caro irmão, nosso colonialists cedo eram o português, não? se eu posso falar inglês, seguro eu posso falar português. hahaaha.


anon@1:16pm: that's a little different, don't u think?
but, thanks for the reminder.

Anonymous said...


Muito bom. E holandês? Também temos linhagem holandesa, não ... De Witt?

Anonymous said...

Well, I could be reading this thread wrong, but I thought the whole argument is whether or not we should be allowed to make our own choices, instead of the government deciding for us.

That's why I brought up the ciggy and alcohol ads.

Not everything the government does is bad for us. In fact, I was very surprised the gov had the guts to go against what must have been considerable pressure from fastfood companies.

Not a lot of media organisations would have had that much strength of conviction...

Anon 1:16pm


anon@1:16pm: are right. it is also about our right to make choices.
however, i got distracted by your mention of cigs and alcohol.
i disagree, though, with your point about the government having guts to do this given the pressure from the fastfood companies.
thanks again.


abu rabu,

Infelizmente, eu não posso falar holandês. uma pena.são correto, nossa linhagem é De Witt.

Anonymous said...

apo bahaso yang ko cakaq dgn si abu rabu tu? tak paham pun.

Anonymous said...

I pack food for my child for the first break at 10am, lunch is catered by school( I have checked and it's a well balanced meal)and the best part is nothing else is sold in the school cantten, what is served is what the children have to eat.

and in school they are taught the food pyramid and a child like mine at Year 1 knows the importance of having vege, carbo and protein and other vitamin( which is also taught at home).For that I must salute the Education Ministry-at least they are trying to educate the young ones.

Once a month we go to McD, eat anything we like, usually the same thinglah-nugget and quarter pounder and fries. We enjoy it:).

Banning is not going to work- its still an outlet for family and friends to gather.

As long was we know not to over indulge in fast food and depend on it as our staple food, it's good enough.

CIk Mek MOlek

Anonymous said...

Kak Ina,

Saya setuju bila akak katakan bahawa tindakan 'ban' ini hanyalah langkah 'short-cut'. Banyak perkara yang tidak betul-betul diperhatikan sebelum keputusan ini dibuat.

Rasanya kalau 'ban' atau kurangkan iklan, sales mereka akan berkurangan dan hujungnya mungkin beberapa outlet akan ditutup. Yang akan kehilangan pekerjaan adalah rakyat Malaysia juga. Lebih-lebih lagi budak-budak Melayu kerana rata-rata mereka yang bekerja di syarikat-syarikat makanan segera tersebut.

Bukankah lebih bijak sekiranya kerajaan menetapkan jenis menu/ komposisi yang perlu ada dalam setiap hidangan? Contohnya, kawalan/piawaian dari segi kandungan garam dan gula, atau cara makanan itu disediakan.

Ubah sedikit menu pada setiap 'plate' atau 'value meal' yang lebih berkhasiat, contohnya hentikan air berkarbonat dan gantikan dengan jus buah-buahan.

Saya rasa lagi selamat nak makan di restoran makanan segera kerana suasananya bersih dan makanannya pun nampak kurang berminyak.

Kalau dibandingkan ayam goreng/french fries/burger di restoran mamak yang berminyak tu.. hhmmm... entahlah...



alah...kita gurau2 aje. Bahasa Portuguese..


betul tu, ain.
kita ni mudah nak "ban itu dan ban ini" sebab kakak rasa tidah sukar nak baut keputusan ban ni. Tak menyusahkan dan tak perlu untuk memikirkan hal2 lain.
semua nak jalan mudah.
memang, ain, cadangan ain bagus.

muteaudio said...

Can they guarantee heathy living once you don't see any fast food advertisements? Can they guarantee 'no more obesity'?
Do you see any decrease in cigarettes sales with cigarettes advertisement ban? Do you see less people with lung cancer?

A few months back I saw a cigarette brand advertising their latest perfume on National TV. Advertisers will always be advertisers. They'll find a way to circumnavigate the ruling. At this moment what we need to do is to go to Finland!

In the 70s, Finland was one of the world's unhealthiest nations. At that time they held the world record for heart disease. Now they're one of the fittest countries in the world. Life expectancy is around 82 y/o (women) and 75 y/o (men).

Anonymous said...


how do they do it?

Anonymous said...

Above, muteaudio said: "In the 70s, Finland was one of the world's unhealthiest nations. At that time they held the world record for heart disease. Now they're one of the fittest countries in the world. Life expectancy is around 82 y/o (women) and 75 y/o (men)."

This is a very good example of "believing what you read". Now, I am not suggesting that it is not true that Findland had a high rate of heart disease and health issues, but by no means was it ever the unhealthiest place in the world, and never has been. The unhealthiest place in the world sits smack in the middle of the United States, Pine Ridge, South Dakota. It is the shame of the American Govermnent that has allowed their land to be polluted, has stolen their money, and relegated them to a (short) life of disease and poverty.

Finland has never been the least healthy place in the world. It cannot compete with this:

Life Expectancy and Health Conditions

Some figures state that the life expectancy on the Reservation is 48 years old for men and 52 for women. Other reports state that the average life expectancy on the Reservation is 45 years old. These statistics are far from the 77.5 years of age life expectancy average found in the United States as a whole. According to current USDA Rural Development documents, the Lakota have the lowest life expectancy of any group in America.

Teenage suicide rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is 150% higher than the U.S. national average for this age group.

The infant mortality rate is the highest on this continent and is about 300% higher than the U.S. national average.

More than half the Reservation's adults battle addiction and disease. Alcoholism, diabetes, heart disease, cancer, and malnutrition are pervasive.

The rate of diabetes on the Reservation is reported to be 800% higher than the U.S. national average.

Recent reports indicate that almost 50% of the adults on the Reservation over the age of 40 have diabetes.

As a result of the high rate of diabetes on the Reservation, diabetic-related blindness, amputations, and kidney failure are common.

The tuberculosis rate on the Pine Ridge Reservation is approximately 800% higher than the U.S. national average.

Cervical cancer is 500% higher than the U.S. national average.

It is reported that at least 60% of the homes on the Pine Ridge Reservation are infested with Black Mold, Stachybotrys. This infestation causes an often-fatal condition with infants, children, elderly, those with damaged immune systems, and those with lung and pulmonary conditions at the highest risk. Exposure to this mold can cause hemorrhaging of the lungs and brain as well as cancer.

A Federal Commodity Food Program is active but supplies mostly inappropriate foods (high in carbohydrate and/or sugar) for the largely diabetic population of the Reservation.

A small non-profit Food Co-op is in operation on the Reservation but is available only for those with funds to participate.