MOSCOW: The Russian government is planning to introduce tough new regulations on fast-food advertising as part of a national health care program aimed at tackling rising obesity rates.

The Ministry of Health is also expected to force food manufacturers to add clear nutritional information to product packaging, including details about calories, fat, carbohydrates and salt content. Products such as potato chips, fast food and carbonated soft drinks will all be affected. 

But the Association of Communication Agencies of Russia (AKAR), however, says it will oppose any bans and restrictions. Vladimir Yevstafiev, an AKAR expert, said it wasn't just advertising agencies that would be affected.

"TV stations, print media, radio, and outdoor sites will also lose revenue," he told Izvestia.  Yevstafiev went on to point out that "fast food chains and producers of sugary drinks are the main sponsors of many sports and entertainment events" and any advertising constraints could result in heavy losses.

"Before slapping on restrictions, the Ministry of Health should determine whether it can compensate for the losses," he added.

Ahead of legislation expected later this year, campaigners are calling for an immediate ban on advertisements aimed at a younger audience. 

In particular, the Consumer Rights Protection Society, a consumer watchdog, wants to stop billboard ads for sugary drinks and fast food items being located near schools and an end to such ads being broadcast on children's television.

Data sourced from Izvestia/Russia & India Report; additional content by Warc staff