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Singapore could be first country to ban adverts of sugary drinks

Singapore is set to be the first country to ban adverts of highly sugary drinks.

Senior Minister of State for Law and Health, Edwin Tong, revealed plans to outlaw advertisements of sugary beverages across the city-state in print and broadcast, as well as online platforms.

Singapore’s Ministry of Health has a “war on diabetes” campaign which Mr Tong referred to in his speech. Last year, it was revealed that Singapore residents consumed 60g of sugar a day on average.

The measures are set to come into play by the end of 2020 and, according to the nation’s Ministry of Health, there will also be a nutrition label grading system for high-sugar drinks based on different colours to enable people to “make an informed choice and make a conscious choice to choose the healthier product”.

Mr Tong made the announcement at the opening ceremony of the 2019 Singapore Health and Biomedical Congress, which took place between October 10 and 12.

He said: “The SSBs [sugar-sweetened beverages] will be assigned a summary grade based on their nutritional quality.

“The label will be mandatory only for the less healthy SSBs, and we are considering highlighting their sugar content on the label as well to warn consumers of these less healthy and high-sugar-content drinks.

“More than half of our sugar consumption still comes from SSBs which are easily available, enticing and not expensive. It is something that we need to tackle more closely.”

A public consultation was staged by the nation’s Ministry of Health and Health Promotion Board exploring views of people and companies on reducing the sugar content in food and drink, with the response indicating that most were in favour of new measures.

Within the UK, the Department of Health and Social Care has begun a public consultation on a proposed 9pm watershed on advertising food and drink products that are high in sugar, fat and salt.

Last week, UK’s Chief Medical Officer put forward 49 recommendations to fight back against rising rates of childhood obesity.

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