Bong Go

Bong Go urges DOH, FDA to strictly monitor unhealthy food ads

July 9, 2023 People's Journal 317 views

SENATOR Christopher “Bong” Go has urged the Department of Health and the Food and Drug Administration to strengthen and closely monitor advertising campaigns that promote food containing high levels of saturated fatty acids, trans-fatty acids, free sugars, and salt.

This follows a recommendation from the World Health Organization for governments worldwide to enact stringent policies to protect children from advertisements which significantly impact their dietary choices.

“We are seeing an alarming rise in diet-related diseases such as diabetes, heart diseases, and obesity, particularly in our youth. There is a critical need to regulate the aggressive marketing of food and beverages that have been proven to negatively influence the dietary norms among children,” Go said referring to HFSS food that are ‘High in Fat, Salt and Sugar’, such as junk food.

Go expressed his concern about specific marketing techniques targeting children and said “it is time we put a stronger emphasis on the health of our children and regulate the type of food being marketed to them.”

“The government must categorize and determine which food products should be limited in their marketing. This will enable us to effectively regulate advertisements on various media platforms,” suggested Go.

According to WHO, food advertisements have an adverse effect on the development of children’s norms about food consumption.

“Calls to responsible marketing practices have not had a meaningful impact. Governments should establish strong and comprehensive regulations,” Francesco Branca, director of the Department of Nutrition and Food Safety of WHO, said in a statement issued on Tuesday.

Go hopes that his appeal will push for the reinforcement of such policies and lead to healthier consumption habits among the youth. He urged the public to remain vigilant about the food they consume and encourages everyone to participate in the campaign against unhealthy food marketing.

“Let us all work together towards a healthier Philippines. Our future depends on it,” Go said.

“Alagaan natin ang kalusugan ng mga kabataan dahil sila ang kinabukasan ng ating bayan,” he emphasized.

Go’s call for more responsible food marketing practices goes hand-in-hand with his ongoing health initiatives, including the continuing operation of Malasakit Centers, the additional construction of Super Health Centers, and the proposed establishment of Regional Specialty Centers nationwide.

The Malasakit Centers, a program enacted into law that was sponsored and authored by Go in the Senate, aim to make government medical assistance more accessible to the country’s indigent patients.

Go is also pushing for the establishment and expansion of Super Health Centers nationwide to be built in strategic areas to bring basic health services closer to the grassroots. These facilities, similar to medium-type polyclinics, offer a wide array of services, including database management, out-patient, birthing, isolation, isolation, diagnostic (laboratory: x-ray, ultrasound), pharmacy and ambulatory surgical unit. Other available services are eye, ear, nose, and throat (EENT) service, oncology centers, physical therapy and rehabilitation center, and telemedicine, where remote diagnosis and treatment of patients will be done.

On the other hand, the proposed Regional Specialty Centers will be located in DOH regional hospitals, each hosting a different specialty, making services previously only available in Metro Manila-based hospitals accessible to the people in the regions. Congress has passed the proposed measure which was principally sponsored by Go who is also one of its authors, and is awaiting President Ferdinand Marcos Jr.’s signature.