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Asia Pac J Clin Nutr. 2008;17(3):483-91.

What's on Malaysian television? - A survey on food advertising targeting children.

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  • 1Department of Nutrition and Dietetics, Faculty of Allied Health Sciences, National University of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.


The Malaysian government recently introduced a ban on fast food advertisements targeting children on television. This study reports on data covering 6 months of television food advertising targeting children. Six out of seven of the Nation's commercial television networks participated (response rate = 85.7%). Based on reported timings of children's programmes, prime time significantly differed ( p <0.05) between weekdays (mean = 1.89 +/- 0.18 hr) and weekends (mean = 4.61 +/- 0.33 hr). The increased trend during weekends, school vacation and Ramadhan was evident. Over the six-month period, the mean number of food advertisements appearing per month varied greatly between television stations (C = 1104; D = 643; F = 407; B = 327; A = 59; E = 47). Food advertising also increased the most in September (n = 3158), followed by July (n = 2770), August (n = 2431), October (n = 2291), November (n = 2245) and June (n = 2211). Content analysis of advertisements indicated snacks were the highest (34.5%), followed by dairy products (20.3%), sugars and candies (13.4%), biscuits (11.2%), fast food (6.7%), breakfast cereal (6.4%), beverages (4.1%), supplements (0.9%), rice (0.6%), noodles (0.5%), bread (0.3%), miscellaneous and processed foods (0.2%). Paradoxically, we found that the frequency of snack food advertised during children's prime time was 5 times more than fast foods. The sodium content (mean = 620 mg per 100g) of these snack foods was found to be highest.

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