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‘Striking’ Increase in Childhood Obesity During Pandemic

WebMD 

Obesity rates among children jumped substantially in the first months of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a study published online in Pediatrics. Experts worry the excess weight will be a continuing problem for these children. The study looked at a large pediatric primary care network and found the number of patients with obesity increased from 13.7% to 15.4%. Read more

Jamie Oliver calls on the government to stick by plan to ban online junk food ads

iNews .co.uk

The TV chef is urging the government to “put health first” and not be “weakened by vested interests”. Jamie Oliver and more than 90 health figures are urging the government to push ahead with proposals to ban all online adverts for foods high in sugar, fat, and salt. Campaigners want the government “to forge ahead with landmark proposals to end almost all unhealthy food and drink adverts online, which will protect children from the influence of junk food marketing”. It is understood the proposals to stop all online adverts for unhealthy food may not go ahead, according to reports in the press. Read more

Are high-sugar adverts contributing to obesity in Mediterranean countries?

FoodNavigator. Com 

The Spanish food industry is promoting unhealthy products for breakfast, according to Mireia Montaña Blasco from the Open University of Catalonia, who has undertaken research in response to rising obesity rates in Mediterranean countries. In total, the researcher analyzed 355 advertisements from 117 different products that appeared across Spanish media including the internet, television, radio, print and outdoor advertising.  Among the findings was that a vast majority of those targeted at children had an average sugar content of 36.2% compared to 10.25% for those targeted at adults. In Spain one in three children are overweight and the country has the highest proportion of childhood obesity in Europe. Read more

Raiding your cupboards like a vending machine? Big Food is feeding our snack addiction

USA Today  
Big Food is using our deepest human instincts against us to make their products more addictive than ever, and then maneuvering to exploit our efforts to regain control of our health. In the early days of COVID-19, manufacturers of cookies, crackers and chips saw sales jump nearly 30% as people loaded up on items they hadn’t had since childhood. And now, the companies aren’t about to let us go. Read the article

Online junk food advertising: Could banning it tackle obesity?

BBC Science Focus

Research suggests that an online advert ban will be most beneficial to children whose parents earn the least (and are therefore at increased risk of obesity and other diet-related illnesses), compared to those who earn the most, thus additionally playing a role in reducing socioeconomic health inequalities. Read the article

UK to ban all online junk food advertising to tackle obesity

The Guardian 
Research has found that one in three children leaving primary school are overweight, or obese, as are almost two-thirds of adults in England. “This would be a world-leading policy to improve children’s health,” said Fran Bernhardt, coordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign. “Online adverts have cast unhealthy food in the starring role for far too long. The current regulations are inadequate to protect children. Companies advertising healthier foods have nothing to fear.” Read the article

Why we should ban junk-food ads aimed at children 

Washington Post 

Food manufacturers have spent a good part of the past century figuring out how to get kids to convince their parents to spend money, and they’ve gotten very good at it. New York University professor Marion Nestle, who has been following the issue for decades, told me she hears from parents about junk food marketed to children all the time. Read the article here

 

Mexico state bans sale of sugary drinks and junk food to children

The Guardian 

The southern Mexican state of Oaxaca has banned the sale of sugary drinks and high-calorie snack foods to children – a measure aimed at curbing obesity. The bill puts sugary items into the same category as cigarettes and alcohol. “It’s important to finally put the brakes on this industry, which has already sickened our country and our children,” said Magaly López Domínguez, the Oaxaca lawmaker who presented the bill. “[The industry] gets into the most remote corners of the state” – known for its mountainous topography – “where there’s often not even medicines, but there’s Coca-Cola.” Read the article here

Obesity: Unhealthy ‘buy one get one free’ deals targeted

BBC 

Buy one get one free deals on unhealthy food will be banned as part of the government’s bid to tackle obesity in England. The plan also includes restrictions on where foods high in fat and sugar can be promoted in-store, and new rules for displaying calories on menus. A ban on junk food adverts before 21:00 has been confirmed – for the whole UK. Boris Johnson said the plans would help “reduce our health risks and protect ourselves against coronavirus”.  Read the story here

Confronting obesity in Canada

Canadian Bar Association – National

The outlook for an improved food environment remains bleak as policymakers focus on stamping out COVID-19 and reviving the economy. While the early Trudeau government prioritized these health measures, it has since backed down when faced with industry opposition — and dire warnings about financial consequences. “For sure, COVID has thrown a monkey wrench in the works,” said Tom Warshawski, chair of the Childhood Obesity Foundation. Once the COVID fire is manageable, Warshawski added, legislation will get back on track. “They will make good. We can’t afford not to.”  Read the article here.