Principal Investigator (PI): Asst Prof Shin Wonsun
Co-Principal Investigator (Co-PI): Assoc Prof Shirley Ho, Assoc Prof May Lwin, Asst Prof Lim Ai Ching
Start Date: Nov 2014
End Date: On-going
Abstract: The increase in obesity rates around the world is evident in all age groups including children. As obesity is associated with various medical complications such as diabetes, heart disease, respiratory effects and cancers, the personal, social and economic cost of rising obesity rates in children has drawn attention of both health policy makers and governments (Kopelman et al, 2007).
Food advertising has been identified as one of the contributing factors to childhood obesity. Despite this Singapore currently lacks regulations and guidelines pertaining to food advertising to children. The Singapore government is planning initiatives aimed at curbing advertising of unhealthy foods that are currently scheduled to come into existence in 2014/15. This research aims to inform health policymakers on the impact of the new guidelines. We assess the impact of introducing nationwide guidelines on food advertising to children under 12 years via real-time longitudinal studies. This will be done by tracking the impact of food advertising on Singaporean children before and during the policies are in effect through the use of food diaries.
The longitudinal nationwide surveys with children will help us determine the effects of the new policies on children. The in-depth food diaries will provide real life reactions of children to the changes in the advertising practices and its impact on food consumption and preferences. Findings from this study can help direct and educate the nation’s overall well-being and provide incentives to implement anti-obesity campaigns. Implications for policy makers, health regulators, advertisers, food businesses and parents will be proposed and discussed.