Tag Archives children

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…

The American Heart Association (AHA) has issued a scientific statement allegedly linking added sugar consumption “at levels far below current consumption levels” to cardiovascular disease risk factors in children. Published in the August 22, 2016, issue of Circulation, the statement recommends that children consume less than 25 grams (100 calories or approximately six teaspoons) of added sugar per day, while advocating that children younger than age 2 should avoid added sugars altogether. After reviewing the latest studies on the topic, the AHA committee apparently identified “strong evidence” backing “the association of added sugars with increased cardiovascular disease risk in children through increase energy intake, increase adiposity, and dyslipidemia.” Among other things, the statement finds that “foods and beverages each contribute half of the added sugars in children’s diets, 40 g each,” and includes soda, fruit-flavored and sports drinks, cakes, and cookies as the top contributors to added sugar in children’s…

Her Majesty’s Treasury (HM Treasury) has released the details of a proposed soft-drink levy announced during March 2016 budget talks as part of the U.K. government’s childhood obesity action plan. Slated to take effect in April 2018, the Soft Drinks Industry Levy (SDIL) would affect the manufacturers of added-sugar soft drinks “with total sugar content of 5 grams or more per 100 millilitres, with a higher rate for drinks with 8 grams or more per 100 millilitres.” The levy exempts beverages with no added sugar—including 100-percent fruit juice—as well as alcohol beverages with alcohol content above 0.5-percent alcohol by volume. The SDIL would also apply to imported soft drinks. HM Treasury has requested comments on the SDIL by October 13, 2016. Among other things, the government seeks evidence and views from respondents about (i) “the types of added-sugar low alcohol products that may be captured by the levy, and the appropriate approach…

The Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) has advised Kellogg Co. to revise the packaging for Fruit Flavored Snacks, recommending against statements that the product is “made with real fruit.” The front of the package featured cartoon characters and the statement “made with real fruit” superimposed on the image of an apple. The side panel clarified that the snacks are “made with equal to 20% fruit.” Based on a typical child’s interpretation of the message, CARU found that children may be confused because “although the fruit flavored snacks were made with fruit puree concentrate, at the end of the process, only a very small amount of actual fruit puree concentrate was included in each serving of the product.” In a statement, Kellogg indicated that it disagreed with CARU’s findings but would modify the language and remove the apple logo in deference to the self-regulatory process.   Issue 614

The National Academies Press (NAP) has published a report summarizing a March 2015 workshop held by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine on The Interplay Between Environmental Chemical Exposures and Obesity. The report summarizes both animal model and human epidemiological studies allegedly linking exposure to environmental chemicals “to weight gain and to glucose tolerance, insulin sensitivity, inflammation, and other aspects of the metabolic syndrome.” It also examines the “possible biological pathways and mechanisms underlying the potential linkages.” Noting the purported efforts of so-called endocrine disruptors during prenatal and early childhood development, the report focuses on the increase in chemical production alongside obesity rates and raises questions about the metabolic effects of various substances such as “organophosphates and carbamates; polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs); polybrominated biphenyls and fire retardants; heavy metals; solvents; and plastics, such as phthalates and bisphenol A (BPA).” In addition, the report addresses the potential role of infectious…

At the behest of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine (NAS) has issued a report examining “the approaches to data collection, analysis, and interpretation that have been used in recent reports on obesity prevalence and trends at the national, state, and local level, particularly among U.S. children, adolescents, and young adults.” Titled Assessing Prevalence and Trends in Obesity: Navigating the Evidence, the report reviews the literature to date, providing “a framework for assessing and interpreting published reports,” as well as “recommendations for improving future data collection efforts and filling data gaps.” Given the various challenges presented by data collection—such as inconsistencies among data sources; insufficient sample size; discrepancies between measured and self-reported data index; and the limitations inherent in trend estimates and interpretations—NAS offers the Assessing Prevalence and Trends (APT) Framework to help stakeholders, policymakers and other “end users” compare various studies…

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