Parents resent use of toys to sell fast food

The Peninsula
Sanaullah Ataullah

With the Ministry of Public Health set to curb unhealthy food marketing practices to promote healthy eating, parents have raised concern over free toys and other giveaways along with children’s meal. The Ministry is mulling a ban on use of toys for promoting unhealthy food by various fast food restaurants.

“A ministerial decision is being prepared for fast food restaurants to curb use of toys to market children’s meals,” Al Sharq said in a recent report quoting Dr Sheikha Al Anoud bint Mohammed Al Thani, Director of Health Promotion and Non-Communicable Diseases.

In a vast majority of restaurants, children’s meals do not meet nutrition standards. Often, restaurant toys or premiums are tied to cartoon characters and this practice has been shown to affect children’s food choices and preferences.

Marketing aimed at children puts their long-term health at risk by enticing them to eat food items that are low in nutrition, and also unhealthy. Parents who shared their concerns with The Peninsula demanded a ban on meals packed with toys and to stop other activities at fast-food-restaurants like play-area in a bid to discourage unhealthy eating habits.

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