Archive for category Food marketing

Young Kids’ Screen Time May Raise Blood Pressure

Young children who spend too much time in front of the television, the computer and video games might be at increased risk for high blood pressure, a new study suggests.

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8 Reasons to Quit Soft Drinks

Fooducate listed 8 good reasons to stop buying softdrinks: Obesity, Tooth decay, Money, Taste, Refined Sugars, Artificial sweeteners, Artificial Colors and  Ecology. What is your reason?

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Banning TV food advertising reduces childhood obesity

Researchers from Australia and The Netherlands constructed a mathematical simulation model to estimate the potential effects of reducing the exposure of 6- to 12-year-old US children to TV advertising for food on the prevalence of overweight and obesity. Model input was based on body measurements from NHANES 2003–04, the CDC-2000 cut-offs for weight categories, and literature that relates advertising to consumption levels and consumption to body mass. Based on literature findings, the model predicts that reducing the exposure to zero would decrease the average BMI by 0.38 kg/m2 and lower the prevalence of obesity from 17.8 to 15.2% for boys and from 15.9% to 13.5% for girls. When estimates are based on expert opinion, these values are 11.0%  and 9.9%, respectively.

You find the article here.

Drinking water in our parks

Sustain in the UK launched a new campaign to get drinking fountains provided in every public park.

It’s a grassroot campaign where concerned individuals can download and do a survey in a local park. After visiting a local park to check out the drinking water supply citizens are encurraged to filling in a short Survey Monkey survey by 30th September 2009.  Sustain will use this information to build up a picture of drinking water in parks across the UK.

Also help is provided if the water supply in local parks is not good enough.  A template letter and information on finding the correct contact details are available.

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Smaller chocolate bars to be standard under new controversial UK Government plan

A bar of Cadbury Dairy milk, currently 49g, should also be sold in 40g sizes, while a Mars Bar and Twix, both 58g, should be made in 50g portions, the Food Standards Agency has recommended. And cans of fizzy drinks, currently 330ml, should be sold in a significantly smaller size of 250ml.

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Huge amounts of cola can cause muscle problems

Drinking several liters of cola-containing soft drinks per day can cause a chronic depletion of potassium in the body, leading to muscle weakness and even paralysis

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Kids and the Media: What We Know, What We Don’t Know, and What We Need to Find Out (Quickly!)

The media may influence virtually every health concern that parents and pediatricians have about children and adolescents — aggressive behavior, drug use, early sexual activity, obesity, eating disorders, school achievement, language development, suicide.

Considerable research has been done in the past 50 years that documents the media’s ability to teach children and adolescents attitudes and beliefs that may influence their behavior. Media can also be powerfully pro-social.

Clinicians need to understand the potential of media to influence young people and ask 2 key questions at health visits: How much entertainment screen time does the child or teen spend per day? Is there a TV set or Internet connection in the child’s or teen’s bedroom? Public policy suggestions for mediating harmful effects of media are also presente

Read more See also Health Scout.

Functional foods are about marketing, not health

Nutrition professor Marion Nestlé made new comments on Functional foods like adding fibers to Kellogg Froot Loops as a public service to improve kids’ nutrition. And Unilevers calcium-enriched ice cream.

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Soda is the next tobacco

“I believe soda is the next tobacco,” said Barry Popkin, director of the University of North Carolina’s Interdisciplinary Obesity Center and author of The World is Fat, published this year. Soda drinkers haven’t achieved pariah status like smokers before them, but proposed sugar taxes and social pressure to be healthy can put a damper on drinking softdrinks — and even some in the growing ranks of diet pop drinkers are feeling soda shame.

According to Popkin, Americans are consuming up to 300 more calories per day now than they were 25 to 30 years ago, and two-thirds of that increase is from caloric beverages like soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit juice and milk. While milk has important vitamins and minerals, the sugary beverages “have no health benefits,” Popkin said. And studies show people who drink caloric beverages don’t compensate by cutting out other food, so the calories add up, he said.

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How about a unified front of package label?

Hemi from did a great job formulating a list of 9 urgent items on his wishlist for FDA Commissioner Margaret Hamburg starting on her first full week in office today. These include:

1. Free packaged foods of “health claims“, which are actually marketing claims, by banning them altogether. A reminder to our readers, “health claims” are a concession that the US lawmaker gave to the powerful food industry lobby in the early 90’s when the Nutrition Education and Labeling Act was being negotiated. The result of that law is the nutrition label as we know it today.

2. Please stop the practice of rounding down to zero. Manufacturers are legally allowed to claim a product has 0 trans fat even if a serving contains 0.49 grams. And since we all know people consume much more than the formal serving size, they can get much more than the 0 trans fat they were expecting.

3. Serving Size – Here are some ridiculous examples – 11 potato chips, 2 Oreo cookies. Come on, even 3 year olds eat more than that in a sitting. The reason serving sizes are so minute is to make them appear less caloric/fat/salty/sweet in the nutrition label. Please help manufacturers give us accurate info.

4. How about a unified front of package label? These labels are supposed to be a quick glance way for a consumer to decide if a product is nutrtious enough ro not. With all the new formats sprouting like mad (NuVal, Smart Choices, Guiding Stars, etc..), consumers are more confused than ever. Why not adopt a system such as UK’s Traffic Lights? Yes, it irritates food manufacturers, but hey, you are supposed to protect us consumers.

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