Fast food ads ‘promote unhealthy eating in Gulf’

Almost half of Gulf residents report that being exposed to fast food adverts — particularly those on TV — is making it harder for them to make healthy food choices. (AFP)
Updated 01 October 2018
0

Fast food ads ‘promote unhealthy eating in Gulf’

  • Almost half of Gulf residents report that being exposed to fast food adverts — particularly those on TV — is making it harder for them to make healthy food choices
  • The survey found that 87 percent of people think that TV advertising affects children’s current food choices

Rebecca Spong LONDON: Exposure to fast food ads is contributing to poor eating habits in the Gulf, new research has found.
Almost half of Gulf residents report that being exposed to fast food adverts — particularly those on TV — is making it harder for them to make healthy food choices, according to a survey by YouGov Omnibus.
Over two-thirds of respondents living in Kuwait — the Gulf country with the highest levels of obesity — said that advertising was swaying them toward less healthy options.
Respondents were particularly concerned about children bring overly exposed to fast food TV advertising — with nearly a quarter saying their child asks for fast food after watching an advert.
The survey found that 87 percent of people think that TV advertising affects children’s current food choices and will influence their food choices as they grow up.
A total of four in five people think there should be laws regulating the level of fast food advertising during hours where children are most likely to watch television.
The survey found that two-thirds of people said buying fast food is an “impulsive” decision. This was typical behavior reported in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar — the top three countries in the Middle East with the highest levels of obesity — where 70 percent said they bought fast food on impulse.
While the research found that four in five people said they knew that eating fast food leads to weight gain, there seems little sign that people in the region are working to reduce their intake, said Kerry McLaren, the regional head of YouGov Omnibus.
“YouGov data shows that although people are aware of the adverse effects of eating fast food and show general concern in lack of controls around its advertising, there is no direct resistance in overall consumption of fast food,” she said.
“In today’s society there is an expectation to be increasingly conscious of what we put in our bodies and yet this is not reflected in the communication we receive.
“Obesity rates are increasing, especially in the Middle East, so it is important for brands to be more responsible in their messaging and the imagery used in advertisements as it can have a significant impact on the food choices consumers make.”
Kuwait has an obesity rate of 37.9 percent according to World Health Organization statistics compiled in 2016, while the rate in Saudi Arabia and Qatar stood at 35.4 percent and 35.1 percent respectively.


Qatari media incites boycott of Bahrain’s Palestinian workshop, but ignores leaks about own regime attendance

Updated 26 May 2019
0

Qatari media incites boycott of Bahrain’s Palestinian workshop, but ignores leaks about own regime attendance

  • Experts predict that comments come as a result of Iranian and Qatari media propagating a negative view of the workshop, which is being falsely portrayed as an effort to force Palestinians to sell-away their right to a state
  • Dubbed “Peace for Prosperity,” the conference is expected to bring together leaders from several governments, civil society and the business sector

DUBAI: Qatari media has been upping the ante with articles and opinion pieces shedding negative light on the US-lead “Peace to Prosperity” economic workshop in Bahrain, which led to Palestinian officials to have a negative view of the summit and urge other Arab states of boycotting it.

“We call on the countries that have agreed to attend the Bahrain workshop to reevaluate their decision,” the secretary of the PLO’s executive committee, Saeb Erekat, told Arab News in an interview yesterday. 

Experts predict that comments come as a result of Iranian and Qatari media propagating a negative view of the workshop, which is being falsely portrayed as an effort to force Palestinians to sell-away their right to a state. 

“‘A two-day international Peace to Prosperity economic workshop in Bahrain undermines #Palestinians and their calls for sovereignty’” read a tweet from Qatar-owned English version of The New Arab, a newspaper based in London. 

Another tweet by the same news website read: “In-depth: ‘Palestinian political and religious leaders have slammed Jared Kushner’s so-called Deal of the Century Israel-Palestine peace plan, due to be revealed in part in a controversial Bahrain summit‘”

While a Twitter poll from senior Al Jazeera New channel anchor Jamal Rayyan asked “Do you support Saudi Arabia, UAE and Israel’s organization of an economic conference in Bahrain to finance the deal of the century and the liquidation of the Palestinian cause?”

The results showed 71 percent against while 29 percent for.

Also, articles from Middle East Eye and Middle East Monitor – both Qatari-backed and pro-Hamas and pro-Muslim Brotherhood – have exaggerated the ‘failings’ of the workshop in Manama.

But while Qatari media has aggressively pushed against the Bahain summit, Israel-based Haaretz has published an article claiming that Qatar plans to attend and participate in the conference, which takes place on June 25 and 26.

No reports of Qatar confirming or denying the Haaretz article were found by Arab News.

Dubbed “Peace for Prosperity,” the conference is expected to bring together leaders from several governments, civil society and the business sector.

Trump’s office said the conference was a “pivotal opportunity... to share ideas, discuss strategies, and galvanize support for potential economic investments and initiatives that could be made possible by a peace agreement.”

The Palestinians see this as offering financial rewards in exchange for accepting ongoing Israeli occupation.

“Attempts at promoting an economic normalization of the Israeli occupation of Palestine will be rejected,” Erekat said.

(With AFP)