Bill proposed to curb child obesity from AI-driven junk food ads

Image courtesy of CKTravels

A new bill designed to curb child obesity by safeguarding children from modern AI-driven marketing tactics that encourage unhealthy eating habits is set to be presented to legislators.

The Deputy Director-General of the Department of Health, Pongpol Vorapani, spoke during the final public hearing of the bill, noting that the high rate of obesity among Thai children, which has more than doubled over the past two decades, is primarily linked to the overconsumption of unhealthy foods.

The Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages Marketing Control Bill aims to raise awareness among children and their parents about modern marketing tactics which cleverly utilise AI to increase children’s exposure to advertisements that heighten their cravings for unhealthy snacks and drinks.

The Health Department considers obesity and other non-communicable diseases to pose a significant health threat to young Thais and is a leading cause of premature death.

“The rate of obesity has largely stemmed from unhealthy dietary choices, including eating too much sweet, fatty, and salty food, and drinking sweetened beverages such as sodas and carbonated fizzy drinks.”

Marketing strategies employed by producers of these products significantly influence youngsters to make poor dietary choices, he added.

A lecturer at the Institute for Population and Social Research, Mahidol University, Nongnuch Jindarattanaporn, highlighted that more than 50% of Thai children are exposed to these marketing tactics, reported Bangkok Post.

She cited examples such as crunchy snacks packaged with famous cartoon characters and fizzy drinks promoted by celebrities or social media influencers. Social media platforms like YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, and X are the top choices for attracting young people’s attention to junk food, said Nongnuch.

“These marketing strategies have raised the target age groups’ cravings for these products by about 45%.”

In separate news, Prime Minister Srettha Thavisin led the Phenix project, aiming to transform Thailand into a global food wholesale hub. The event saw participation from several key political figures, highlighting the project’s significance in positioning Thailand at the forefront of the global food industry.

Thailand News

Ryan Turner

Ryan is a journalism student from Mahidol University with a passion for history, writing and delivering news content with a rich storytelling narrative.

Related Articles