For many people, the term “daycare food” conjures up images of hotdogs, canned soup and bologna sandwiches. In recent years, a growing number of concerned operators and chefs have taken a fresh look at what’s on their daycare menus. The result? More and more centres are experimenting with…
Today ten health organizations and community groups filed a legal amicus brief in support of NYC’s proposed sugary drink portion cap rule. The rule, proposed by the New York City Board of Health, limits the size of sugary drinks sold to 16 ounces or less.
The brief recognizes the importance of taking action to stem obesity and chronic diseases, particularly for underserved racial and ethnic communities. It is directed at overconsumption of sugary drinks, a key driver of the obesity and type 2 diabetes epidemics.
The Institute of Medicine has identified sugary drinks as “the single largest contributor of calories and added sugars to the American diet.” The rate of sugary drinks consumption is significantly higher among Hispanics and African-Americans. In New York City neighborhoods with the highest levels of obesity, residents are four times as likely to drink four or more sugary drinks a day as residents of neighborhoods with the lowest obesity rates. As a result, African Americans and Hispanics suffer from higher rates of chronic disease and obesity.
The consumption of sugary drinks by African-American and Hispanic youth, in particular, has been fostered by racially and ethnically targeted marketing by beverage companies. Ads for sugary drinks are more frequently present in magazines and television shows that target African Americans and Hispanics. Lower-income black and Latino neighborhoods also contain more outdoor ads for sugary drinks than do white and higher-income neighborhoods.
The brief points out that larger default portion size has led to increased consumption. By reducing standard sugary drink portion size to less than 16 ounces, NYC can move towards stopping the twin epidemic of obesity and type 2 diabetes.
Thank you to the following organization for supporting this important policy by joining to file the brief: National Alliance for Hispanic Health, Association of Black Cardiologists, Harlem health Promotion Center, New York State American Academy of Pediatricians, United Puerto Rican Organization of Sunset Park, Harlem Children’s Zone, The Children’s Aid Society, National Congress of Black Women, Montefiore Medical Center, and Mount Sinai Health System.
A new study found that obesity among young children dropped by nearly half in the past decade, indicating a possible turning point in the nation’s public health record.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found obesity among children ages 2 to 5 dropped to 8 percent, down from 14 percent in 2003. The only decline was seen in preschoolers, not in older children, according to the study, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Some experts note the improvement in toddlers wasn’t a steady decline, and say it’s hard to know yet whether preschooler weight figures are permanently curving down or merely jumping around.
(Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
The Mexican Soda Tax
The soda tax didn’t fly in Albany, but it’s found new life in Mexico City. On Thursday the lower house of Mexico’s Congress approved new taxes on sugary beverages and high-calorie foods as part of a broader reform plan proposed by President Enrique Peña Nieto. If the proposal passes the Senate, the government will levy a 1 peso (8 cent) per liter tax on sugary beverages such as soft drinks, and a 5 percent tax on packaged foods that contain 275 calories or more per 100 grams.
Mexico had an intense public debate about the soda tax, which the soft-drink industry dubbed “the Bloomberg tax” because the New York mayor spent some of his personal fortune to support it. The beverage industry took out full-page newspaper ads to fight the proposal. But Mexican lawmakers went ahead and voted for the tax because they were concerned about the country’s significant obesity problem. More than 32 percent of its population is obese and nearly 70 percent are obese or overweight, according to the World Health Organization. Diabetes and heart disease are the top two causes of deaths among adults.
Using taxes as a tool to fight obesity is an old idea in the public health community. Some health experts have argued that just as tobacco taxes helped reduce the prevalence of smoking, levies on sugary drinks and high-calorie foods should help cut down on their consumption.
The editorial board has previously supported levying taxes on sodas and other sweetened beverages, but efforts by former New York Gov. David Patterson and others failed thanks in large part to opposition from beverage companies.
Critics say that such taxes will do little to reduce obesity while placing a disproportionate burden on the poor. There is no question that taxes on their own are not sufficient to deal with a problem as complex as obesity. Governments also need to make sure that their people, especially children, have access to healthier options (like clean water, for instance).
But it’s just as true that if designed well, taxes can help improve the health of the poor, who tend to have higher rates of obesity and are less able to afford treatment for diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
It is not clear if Mexico’s proposed taxes will make a significant difference. Many advocates had pushed for a 2-peso per-liter tax on sugary drinks and also wanted the money to go to building water fountains in schools and other public spaces, ideas that did not make it into the legislation adopted by the lower house. But at least the country is starting to tackle this urgent health issue.
(From The New York Times)
If star athletes sell junk food — is your kid more likely to eat it?
NFL star Peyton Manning is nearly as famous for his product pitches as his football passes, building an endorsement empire that has included Papa John’s pizza and Oreo cookies. But are your kids grabbing – and consuming – what the quarterback is slinging?
The Denver Broncos signal caller is one of the sports world’s top hawkers of unhealthy foods and drinks, according to a paper published Monday in the journal Pediatrics. The authors are urging famous jocks like Manning to re-think corporate offers to peddle sugar-rich drinks or high-calorie foods.
“Our ultimate hope would be that athletes reject the unhealthy endorsements or, at the very least, promote healthy foods,” said Marie Bragg, lead author of the study and a doctoral student in clinical psychology at Yale University. “These athletes have an opportunity to work with parents. Instead, they’re promoting really unhealthy foods.”
A representative for Manning did not respond to requests for comment. The QB pockets $12 million annually by lending his face, voice and persuasive powers to Buick, Reebok, Gatorade and DirecTV plus Papa John’s – and he owns 21 Papa John’s stores in the Denver area, according to Forbes.
On Sept. 29, his pizza-pie profile even ignited some on-field ribbing: During the Broncos’ win over Philadelphia, Eagles defensive players tried to drown out Manning’s play calls by repeatedly screaming the name of the pizza chain.
But according to the study, one mega-star ranks a notch higher than Manning when it comes to plugging munchies: LeBron James of the NBA champion Miami Heat. He earns $42 million per year by endorsing McDonald’s, Coca-Cola and other products. At No. 3 on the researchers’ list of low-nutrient-food boosters is tennis great Serena Williams, who in the past has done ads for McDonald’s and Oreo cookies. Representatives for James and Williams did not respond to interview requests.
A litany of pro athletes analyzed by the authors put their big names behind 44 different food or beverage brands during 2010, with 79 percent of those food products being “energy-dense and nutrient-poor,” and with 93 percent of the drinks receiving all of their calories from added sugar — including sports drinks, the paper notes.
Many of those food-and-beverage sales campaigns are aimed at young consumers.
“When taking into account the nutrient quality of the products endorsed and the amount of advertising for each product, Peyton Manning, LeBron James, and Serena Williams are the highest contributors to the marketing of unhealthy foods,” the authors wrote.
The promotion of those meals “by some of the world’s most physically fit and well-known athletes is an ironic combination that sends mixed messages about diet and health,” added the authors, who compared the modern players’ food peddling to the cigarette ads of bygone sports stars like Babe Ruth and Ted Williams.
But bashing food endorsements is an unfair swipe, asserts sports-marketing expert John Rowady, because even the opinions among some nutritionists have been known to shift. Consider butter. Diet experts now agree that margarines made of inflammation-promoting, industrial fats are harmful while pastured butter has been shown to slash belly fat and lower heart-attack risk.
"These athletes become easy picking for advocates pushing different social-change platforms," said Rowaday, president and founder of rEvolution, a sports-marketing and media agency whose clients include Chipotle and Red Bull.
"I guarantee that in a few years (health watchdogs) will say that (smart phones), with all the texting going on, constitutes an unhealthy lifestyle," Rowaday added. "Then you can ask the same question about why LeBron James endorses the Samsung Galaxy?”
One thing is certain: James, Manning, Williams and the like have sparkling selling powers, which is why companies pay them to push their wares. And that’s why nutrition advocates like Marie Bragg are concerned about the stars’ backing of certain foods and drinks marketed toward kids and teens.
Two years ago, researchers in Australia found that when sports celebrities endorse energy-dense, nutrient-poor products, some parents begin to perceive that those foods and drinks are actually more nutritious.
"The evidence is that sales go up," said NBC News Health and Diet Editor Madelyn Fernstrom. "So the impact of the athlete endorsements must be working or the companies would not do it."
(From NBC News)
June 17, 2013
Researchers at the Rudd Center have quantified the number of food and beverage ads viewed by Hispanic youth on both Spanish- and English-language television. Regardless of language, the majority of ads promote nutritionally poor products, such as fast food, sugary cereals, and candy. The study was published in JAMA Pediatrics, and is the first of its kind.
Using data obtained from Nielsen, a media research company, researchers examined advertising viewed by Hispanic and non-Hispanic youth in 2010. On average, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic youth saw 12-15 television food ads every day and most of the ads were for fast food, breakfast cereals, restaurants and candy. For Hispanic youth, 75 percent or more of these ads appeared on English-language television. Despite watching similar amounts of television, Hispanic youth viewed fewer food and beverage ads than their non-Hispanic peers because those ads appear less frequently on Spanish-language television.
Of special concern, Hispanic preschoolers watched 24 more minutes of television per day than their non-Hispanic peers, and those who spoke only Spanish watched more than 4 hours per day. These young viewers were exposed to a significant number of ads for fast food shown on Spanish-language television.
Much of the advertising viewed by Hispanic children was for food products and for restaurants that are not approved for advertising to children by the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI). Companies participating in the CFBAI voluntarily pledge to advertise only healthier dietary choices during children’s television programs.
Previous studies have shown that exposure to large numbers of television advertisements for unhealthy foods and beverages contribute to poor diet among youth. Given higher rates of obesity and overweight among Hispanic youth and recent introductions of new media and marketing campaigns targeted to bilingual youth, the authors noted the importance of continued monitoring of food and beverage marketing to Hispanic youth.
The paper was co-authored by the Rudd Center’s Frances Fleming-Milici, PhD, Research Associate; Jennifer Harris, PhD, MBA, Director of Marketing Initiatives; Vishnudas Sarda, MBBS, MPH, former Biostatistician; and Marlene Schwartz, PhD, Acting Director.
From the USDA Food and Nutrition Service
(From Alliance for a Healthier Generation)