Comparing the extent and nature of unhealthy food and drink TV marketing to girls and boys across nine countries in Asia

Asia has undergone a rapid socio-economic transition that is linked to a large-scale change in dietary patterns towards high-energy and low-nutrition food products. The continent is now home to half of all overweight or obese children under five.

Food and beverage consumption is shaped by environment, including exposure to food advertising, such as television marketing. Targeted advertisements of unhealthy food and beverages can contribute to a poor diet and increased exposure to non-communicable disease (NCD) risk factors such as obesity. Regulations on food marketing vary widely across Asia, and several countries have no restrictions on promoting unhealthy products to children and adolescents.

Evidence is needed across countries on the extent and nature of food and non-alcoholic beverage advertising and television marketing. Another research gap exists in understanding portrayals of gender in marketing campaigns and how these affect the dietary behaviour of girls and boys in various countries.

The International Network for Food and Obesity/Non-communicable diseases research, monitoring, and action support (INFORMAS) is a global network of public interest organizations and researchers that monitor and support actions to increase healthy food environments. Their protocol on food promotion will be applied across nine countries, namely Bangladesh, China, India, Malaysia, Mongolia, Nepal, Philippines, Sri Lanka, and Vietnam. The results of the study will inform and strengthen policies related to unhealthy food advertising to children in Asian countries. The collaborative network will also promote shared exploration of other research needs that will develop a better understanding of media and messaging that is used to influence food consumption among children in Asia.

Project ID


Project status



36 months

IDRC Officer

Madiha Ahmed

Total funding

CA$ 744,300


Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand


Food, Environment, and Health

Project Leader

Dr. Tilakavati Karupaiah


Taylor's University SDN BHD

Institution Country


Institution Website