Tag Archives children

In a letter sent to Nickelodeon and its parent company Viacom, Sens. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Jay Rockefeller (D-W.V.), Tom Harkin (D-Iowa), and Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) have called on the children’s entertainment network to stop showing advertisements for purportedly unhealthy foods and beverages that are “powerfully promoting childhood obesity.” Citing another company’s announcement last year that it would no longer accept advertisements for unhealthy foods on television, radio and websites directed at children, the senators asked Nickelodeon to “promptly take similar action to implement strong nutrition standards for all of its marketing to children.” “As a leading multi-media entertainment destination for children and adolescents, Nickelodeon has a special opportunity—and responsibility —to help address our nation’s childhood obesity epidemic,” the senators stated. “We ask that you implement a clear policy to guide the marketing of food to children on Nickelodeon’s various media platforms, including the advertisements on your channels, Internet sites, and…

A study allegedly linking prenatal bisphenol A (BPA) exposure to increased fat mass index (FMI) in children has suggested that the common plasticizer “contribute[s] to developmental origins of adiposity.” Lori A. Hoepner, et al., “Bisphenol A and Adiposity in an Inner-City Birth  Cohort,” Environmental Health Perspectives, May 2016. Using data from 369 mother-child pairs enrolled in the Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health New York City birth cohort, the study authors assessed the urinary BPA of mothers during the third trimester of pregnancy and followed up with their children from birth through age 7. Their analysis purportedly shows that although “prenatal BPA concentrations were not associated with birth weight,” they were “positively associated” with FMI, body fat percentage and waist circumference (WC) at age 7 years. Upon closer examination, prenatal BPA exposure was significantly associated with increased FMI and WC in girls, but not boys. As the study further explains, “These…

New research claims that the daily consumption of artificially sweetened beverages (ASBs) during pregnancy is associated with increased infant body mass index (BMI). Meghan Azad, et al., “Association Between Artificially Sweetened Beverage Consumption During Pregnancy and Infant Body Mass Index,” JAMA Pediatrics, May 2016. Using food-frequency questionnaire data from 3,033 mother-infant dyads enrolled in the Canadian Healthy Infant Longitudinal Development (CHILD) study, researchers reportedly determined that, when compared to children whose mothers did not consume ASBs during pregnancy, those born to the 5.1 percent of mothers who imbibed ASBs daily were twice as likely to be overweight at age 1. “Infant birth weight was not affected, suggesting that maternal ASB consumption influenced postnatal weight gain rather than fetal growth,” explain the study authors. “These associations were independent of material BMI, diabetes, total energy intake, diet quality, and other known obesity risk factors. No comparable associations were identified for SSB [sugar-sweetened…

The National Milk Producers Federation, International Dairy Foods Association and U.S. Dairy Export Council have authored a May 9, 2016, letter to President Barack Obama (D), asking the White House to reject proposed World Health Organization (WHO) guidance that “would discourage consumption of nutritious dairy products by young children.” Slated for presentation at the 69th World Health Assembly on May 23-28, 2016, the draft guidelines seek to end the promotion of breast-milk substitutes, including all milk and fortified soy milk, intended for consumption by children younger than age 3. Among other things, the proposal not only places restrictions on the marketing of foods for infants and young children, but also stipulates that “the messages used to promote foods for infants and young children should support optimal feeding and inappropriate messages should not be included.” The guidelines specifically preclude the indirect crosspromotion of breast-milk substitutes with other food products, as well…

A study has allegedly linked fast-food consumption to higher urinary phthalate-metabolite levels but not to increased bisphenol A (BPA) levels. Ami Zota, et al., “Recent Fast Food Consumption and Bisphenol A and Phthalates Exposures among the U.S. Population in NHANES, 2003–2010,” Environmental Health Perspectives, April 2016. Using 24-hour dietary recall data obtained from 8,877 participants from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES 2003- 2010), researchers with George Washington University’s Milken Institute School of Public Health apparently “observed evidence of a positive, dose-response relationship between fast food intake and exposure to phthalates.” The study authors report that, compared to participants who did not consume fast food, those who received more than 34 percent of their total energy intake from fast food had 23.8 percent and 39 percent higher levels of metabolites of di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate (ΣDEHPm) and diisononyl phthalate (DiNPm), respectively. In particular, the data suggested that (i) “fast food-derived…

The Council of Better Business Bureaus (CBBB) and the National Confectioners Association have announced the Children’s Confection Advertising Initiative (CCAI), “a new self-regulatory initiative that promotes responsible advertising to children.” Modeled after the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), which includes six major confectioners, CCAI asks participating companies not to advertise to children younger than age 12 or in schools from pre-kindergarten through sixth grade. Six candy companies have already pledged to abide by CCAI advertising rules. As Federal Trade Commission (FTC) Chair Edith Ramirez remarked, “This new initiative is a welcome addition to the CBBB’s existing Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative and represents the type of self-regulatory solution the FTC has long advocated. The commitment by six confectionery companies to refrain from advertising in elementary schools and in media targeted at children is a positive step. I also hope that this new partnership with the National Confectioners…

The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) has called on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) to require labeling on foods containing synthetic food dyes such as FD&C Green 3 and FD&C Blue 2. CSPI’s latest move follows its January 2016 publication of a report critical of FDA’s inattention to food dyes and pointing to studies allegedly linking food-dye consumption to behavioral issues in children, particularly those with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD). The health advocacy group’s proposed labeling would state: “WARNING: This food contains synthetic food colorings that may impair the behavior of some children.” “As long as dyes are permitted, only a warning label will provide consumers with the appropriate information to enable them to make the association between foods containing those dyes and their children’s behavioral symptoms,” CSPI said in its March 15, 2016, letter to FDA. “The FDA has mandated such labeling in the…

The Canadian Standing Senate Committee on Social Affairs, Science and Technology has issued a “groundbreaking” report on obesity that calls for a tax on sugar- and artificially-sweetened beverages as well as a ban on advertising food and drink to children. Titled Obesity in Canada: A Whole-of-Society Approach for a Healthier Canada, the March 2016 report also recommends, among other things, (i) “a National Campaign to Combat Obesity,” (ii) “a complete revision of Canada’s food guide to better reflect scientific evidence,” (iii) “a review of nutrition food labelling to make it easier to understand,” and (iv) “a plan for making healthy food more affordable.” “Canada’s dated food guide is no longer effective in providing nutritional guidance to Canadians. Fruit juice, for instance, is presented as a healthy item when it is little more than a soft drink without the bubbles,” notes the report, which summarizes expert testimony given before the committee…

The World Health Organization’s (WHO’s) Commission on Ending Childhood Obesity (ECHO) has issued a January 25, 2016, report that recommends, among other things, a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), context-specific dietary guidelines, and “interpretive” front-of-pack labeling. Taking “a life-course approach” that focuses on what it describes as an obesogenic environment, the report urges WHO, member governments and non-state actors to implement specific action items designed to (i) promote intake of healthy foods and reduce intake of unhealthy foods and SSBs among children; (ii) promote physical activity and reduce sedentary behaviors; (iii) provide guidance on preconception and antenatal care to reduce the risk of childhood obesity; (iv) support healthy diet, sleep and physical activity during childhood; (v) promote healthy school environments, health and nutrition literacy; and (vi) provide family-based lifestyle weight management services. In particular, ECHO singles out food and beverage marketing as “a major issue demanding change that will protect…

The Access to Nutrition Foundation has released its second Access to Nutrition Index® (ATNI), which ranks the 22 largest food and beverage companies on their “contributions to tackling obesity and undernutrition.” According to a concurrent press release, “The 2016 Index concluded that, while some companies have taken positive steps since the last Index, the industry as a whole is moving far too slowly. Scored out of ten on their nutrition-related commitments, practices and levels of disclosure, no company achieved a score of more than 6.4.” Supported by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, Wellcome Trust and Children’s Investment Fund Foundation, the 2016 Global Index ranks companies in the following areas: (i) governance, including whether the company has a corporate nutrition strategy; (ii) product formulation and nutrient profiling systems; (iii) efforts to make healthier products accessible to consumers via pricing and distribution; (iv) compliance with marketing practices and policies geared toward general…

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