public health

Mukbang no more? DOH considers banning ‘mukbang’ after death of vlogger

Ivy Pedida

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Mukbang no more? DOH considers banning ‘mukbang’ after death of vlogger
Health Secretary Ted Herbosa warns the public against mukbang videos, and adds that the content might be banned if the investigation proves mukbang is linked to vlogger Dongz Apatan's death

MANILA, Philippines  – The Department of Health (DOH) is considering banning “mukbang,” or videos showing people eating a vast amount of food, following the death of a food content creator from Iligan City, Mindanao island in southern Philippines.

Mukbang no more? DOH considers banning ‘mukbang’ after death of vlogger

Dongz Apatan, known for his various food videos on different social media platforms, died after a stroke on June 13, 2024. His usual videos feature him, or his family, eating large amounts of food.

Health Secretary Ted Herbosa warned the public about mukbang videos, and added that the online videos might be banned if the department’s investigation proves mukbang is linked to Apatan’s death.

“I can ban it locally, I can propose for banning mukbang locally. Even ask the DICT [Department of Information and Communications Technology] to stop those sites….You can earn income as long as it does not produce health risks, if you’re earning income from something that is a public health threat, I will have to stop you,” Herbosa said.

In an interview with GMA’s Unang Balita, DOH spokesperson Albert Domingo clarified that the department will not immediately ban mukbang videos and that they are considering how the proposal can affect public health.

Ayaw rin natin na masyadong nagi-infringe sa free speech….What makes a particular broadcast mukbang a threat to public health? If that is established versus ibang bagay na maaring expression lamang. Iyan ang mga kailangan nating gawing pulido,” Domingo said.

(We do not want to infringe on free speech….What makes a particular broadcast mukbang a threat to public health? If that is established versus other things that might just be a form of expressing yourself. Those are the ones we need to polish.)

Herbosa said that mukbang vlogs encourage unhealthy eating habits. “It’s a bad practice because people make content by overeating. Overeating is not healthy. It will lead to obesity, and obesity will lead to hypertension, heart conditions, non-communicable diseases, and even heart attack.”

Herbosa also highlighted how it puts both vloggers and their audience at risk. “Other people copy it. Other people will also do the same because they earn money from doing a video blog of mukbang. So, it’s risky for them.” 

Mukbang, or broadcast eating, is a practice that originated in South Korea around 2008, and soon became a worldwide trend. Studies have linked mukbang videos to eating disorders and fueling food fixations.

For those looking for ways to build better eating habits, the DOH encourages Filipinos, including food content creators, to follow the “Pinggang Pinoy” guide, a food plate modeled to meet the needs of Filipino adults.

What do you think of this proposal? – Rappler.com

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Ivy Pedida

Ivy Pedida is a digital communications specialist for Rappler’s Digital Communications arm. A shameless bandwagoner, she likes everything pop culture, whether it be the latest anime or another HBO hit. She is a furmom to five cats and one dog.