Tag Archives children

After reviewing an ad for Subway’s “Fresh Fit for Kid’s Meal” featuring premium toys and offering a sweepstakes for a tablet, the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) has recommended that the restaurant chain clearly disclose material information and avoid sales pressure when advertising to children. CARU determined that while the contest rules were available on Subway’s website, the ad itself did not disclose that the contest was only open to those 18 and older, did not provide a free means of entry and did not disclose the odds of winning the tablet. CARU also found that the language “Hurry into Subway … otherwise you’ll miss out” could create undue sales pressure on children. CARU recommended that future ads contain audible disclosures understandable to children, and Subway agreed to take the recommendations into account.

JAMA Pediatrics has retracted a 2012 study authored by Brian Wansink, director of Cornell University’s Food and Brand Lab, because of “inadequate oversight of data collection and pervasive errors in the analyses and reporting.” The study, published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, reported that children ages 8-11 were about 30 percent more likely to choose an apple with a cartoon-character sticker over a unbranded cookie, concluding that “brands and cartoon characters” could increase consumption of healthier foods in school lunchrooms. A reader reportedly sent Wansink a letter in February 2017 noting several errors and the study data was rechecked. In September, Wansink sent JAMA Pediatrics a notice of retraction and replacement acknowledging that the researchers “inadvertently provided an incorrect description of the study design and sample size, used an inadequate statistical procedure, and presented a mislabeled bar graph.” After that notice was published, Wansink said the Robert…

The United Nations' Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has published a guide encouraging agricultural companies to enact child-­labor policies to combat abuse in the industry. The guide offers "practical steps to ensure that programmes contribute to safe employment and training opportunities for youth and that activities intended to support vulnerable families do not have the unintended consequence of encouraging child labour," according to a June 12, 2017, press release. "The agriculture sector holds great potential before, during and after crises, to save lives and contribute to livelihoods, support rural households, provide decent employment and alternatives to child labour, including its worst forms," FAO Assistant Director-General Kostas Stamoulis was quoted as saying.   Issue 638

Responding to a challenge from Ragù® ­maker Mizkan Americas Inc., the National Advertising Division (NAD) has recommended that Campbell Soup Co. change broadcast ads featuring toddlers as “life­-long pasta experts,” finding the ads are “puffery” and do not contain “a claim about the preferences of toddlers.” The ads showed a split­-screen with one child eating and one child refusing the food. Campbell Soup said the claim was substantiated by a “statistically significant” taste test conducted with subjects aged six or older comparing Prego® and Ragù® sauces, but NAD said the ads did not contain a provable claim that young children prefer one sauce over another.   Issue 637

The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has announced new recommendations limiting the amount of fruit juice that children consume to reduce the risk of obesity and dental caries. Whole fruit is preferable to fruit juice for nutrition and healthy weight gain, the group stated, because 100 percent juice is mostly water, with small amounts of vitamins and minerals and no fiber. The recommendations further specify that infants should not have fruit juice at all during their first year, and toddlers should be limited to 4 ounces a day. AAP also recommends that juices be pasteurized to reduce the risk of E. coli, Salmonella and Cryptosporidium.   Issue 636

The University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity has released a study on TV food advertising viewed by preschoolers, children and adolescents, claiming that “food advertising exposure increased with age for both black and white youth, but black youth viewed approximately 50% or more ads than did white youth of the same age.” F. Fleming-Milici and J. L. Harris, “Television food advertising viewed by preschoolers, children and adolescents: contributors to differences in exposure for black and white youth in the United States,” Pediatric Obesity, December 2016. Based on Nielsen panel data gathered between 2008 and 2012, the study reports that “increases in food-ads-per-hour increased exposure for all youth,” but that greater TV viewing and higher rates of advertising “on youth- and black-targeted networks both contributed to black youth’s greater exposure.” “Four product categories contributed almost 60% of food ads viewed by all youth in 2012: breakfast cereals,…

The RAND Corp. has published a study claiming that “most kids’ menu items offered by the nation’s top 200 restaurant chains exceed the calorie counts recommended by nutrition experts,” according to a December 5, 2016, press release. Relying on the recommendations of 15 child nutrition experts—including Public Health Institute Advisor Lynn Silver and Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity Director Marlene Schwartz—the study authors adopted the following benchmarks: (i) a maximum of 300 calories for the main dishes in children’s meals; (ii) 100 calories for a serving of fried potatoes; (iii) 150 calories for soups, appetizers and snacks; and (iv) 150 calories for vegetables and salads that included added sauces, with the entire meal not to exceed 600 calories. The study singles out fried potatoes as the item “that most often exceeded the calorie guidelines.” As the authors conclude, “Given the high frequency of children dining away from home,…

The World Health Organization (WHO) has issued a November 4, 2016, report titled "Tackling food marketing to children in a digital world: trans-disciplinary perspectives," which urges policymakers “to reduce children’s exposure to all forms of marketing for foods high in fats, salt and sugars [HFSS], including via digital media.” In particular, the report claims digital marketing campaigns take advantage of regulatory loopholes to amplify the traditional media advertising of HFSS foods, “achieving greater ad attention and recall, greater brand awareness and more positive brand attitudes, greater intent to purchase and higher product sales.” The report calls attention to the privacy issues that purportedly surround the digital marketing of foods to children, including the collection and use of geo-location and personal data. It also warns that “some food chains partner with gaming companies in order to, for example, make the chain’s restaurants important game locations,” while other advertisers reportedly rely on advergames, social…

The University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity has published a study on student and parent perceptions of competitive foods and beverages sold in schools under the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Smart Snack nutrition standards. Jennifer Harris, et al., “Effects of Offering Look-Alike Products as Smart Snacks in Schools,” Childhood Obesity, September 2016. After soliciting feedback from 659 students ages 13-17 and 859 parents, the study authors report that students could not distinguish between products sold in stores and reformulated “look-alike” versions sold in schools unless the two were placed side-by-side. The study also notes that parents and students “tended to rate the look-alike and store versions of less nutritious snack brands as similar in healthfulness, whereas they tended to view the repackaged Smart Snacks that emphasized improved nutrition as healthier.” In addition, most participants “inaccurately believed they had seen look-alike Smart Snacks for sale in stores”…

Researchers with the University of Pennsylvania Perelman School of Medicine’s Center for Health Incentives and Behavioral Economics have authored a study claiming that adolescents are less likely to purchase sugary beverages that carry warning labels. Eric VanEpps and Christina Roberto, “The Influence of Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Warnings,” American Journal of Preventive Medicine, September 2016. The study asked 2,202 adolescents ages 12-18 to imagine selecting one of 20 popular 20-ounce beverages from a vending machine. This digital survey included 12 sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) that displayed (i) no warning label, (ii) a calorie label, or (iii) one of four labels warning that SSBs contribute to (a) “obesity, diabetes and tooth decay”; (b) “weight gain, diabetes and tooth decay”; (c) “preventable diseases like obesity, diabetes and tooth decay”; or (d) “obesity, Type 2 diabetes and tooth decay.” The results evidently suggested that “77 percent of participants who saw no label said they would select…

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