Posts

Over 100 doctors call for tax on junk food to handle obesity epidemic

Metro Newspaper (UK) 

A group of around 200 doctors and healthcare professionals signed an open letter to ministers putting forward a number of proposals to overhaul the UK’s ‘unfair, unhealthy and unsustainable’ food system when the pandemic passes. This includes a tax on foods that are high in salt and fat, a tax on food derived from animal agriculture, subsidies for plant-based diets, a return of public sector catering to stop processed meat being served in schools and hospitals and that the ban on junk food advertising is accelerated and made total, banning such advertising even after the watershed. Read the article here

Top health official frets over higher alcohol, junk food use by Canadians during pandemic

The Province 

Chief Public Health Officer Dr. Theresa Tam expressed concern over the higher consumption of alcohol and junk food during the coronavirus epidemic. “While social interactions and activities might look different right now, Canadians should be actively looking for safe ways to socialize, engage in physical activity and make … healthy food choices,” she said. Read the article here

 

Obesity costing Western Australia $340 million per year

News. com. au 
Obesity is costing Western Australia’s health system close to $340 million a year, with experts renewing calls for a ban on junk food advertising. A report by WA’s Department of Health finds that health conditions related to excess body mass were responsible for 9.3 per cent of all hospitalizations in 2016. The report projects that by 2026, such hospitalizations will have risen by 54 per cent – and the costs to the health system increased to $610 million – unless the problem is addressed.  Read the article here

Coronavirus and obesity: Doctors take aim at food industry over poor diets

Food Navigator

A cardiologist has blamed the food industry for normalizing ultra-processed junk food as more evidence emerges that obesity is the biggest factor for death from Covid-19 in under 50s according to a new study from the US Center for Disease Control based on 99 countries and 14 states from March. You can read the article here

National study finds diets remain poor for most American children; disparities persist

Tufts Now 

Despite consuming fewer sugar-sweetened beverages and more whole grains, most American children and adolescents still eat poorly – and sociodemographic disparities persist, according to an 18-year national study between 1999 and 2016 of U.S. children’s dietary trends. Read the story here

You can find the study here (behind a paywall)

Combatting a sweet tooth: the role of health marketing

Biomedical Central

A recent study published in BMC Public Health aimed to determine whether Public Health England’s Sugar Smart campaign was effective in altering dietary behaviour, by assessing any impact of the campaign on sugar intake among children aged 5-11 years. Overall it was found that the health marketing campaign raised awareness of sugar in food and drinks in both parents and children, impacting food consumption in families.  Read the article here

Path from junk food to poor decisions drawn by Western University researchers

The London Free Press

In a paper published in The Lancet Child and Adolescent Health this month, researchers found that too many calorie-dense foods can lead to changes in the part of the brain that controls self-regulation, decision-making and reward-seeking. Adolescence, the researchers found, is a time of “dual susceptibility,” when teens are still developing their ability to make decisions, which leads to a lack of self-control when it comes to junk food. And all that junk food may lead to changes in the brain’s prefrontal cortex, the last area to develop, Reichfelt referred to the prefrontal cortex as “the manager of the brain” because it controls behaviour. Read more here

Teens ‘especially vulnerable’ to junk food advertising, experts say

ABC News

The inundation of junk food advertising is contributing to the rising rate of teen obesity — a public health crisis among a population that is “especially vulnerable” to the messaging, experts say. In 2016 alone, the food industry spent almost $14 billion on overall advertising to influence Americans’ food choices. The U.S. food system is the second-largest advertiser in the American economy, and views adolescents as a major market force, aggressively targeting them to build brand awareness, preference and loyalty. Read more here

 

A little scoop: Unilever will stop marketing to kids in an effort to curb childhood obesity

Washington Post

Food giant Unilever has vowed to stop marketing its products to children by the end of this year in order to tackle rising obesity rates. The firm said it would limit the use of cartoon characters in its advertising and also promised to stop using social media stars or celebrities “who primarily appeal” to children under 12.   Read the article.

Is this the secret to getting teens to reject junk food?

Washington Post

Using a media literacy approach to make teens aware of misleading marketing practices has more of an effect on their diets than the traditional approach of telling them a certain food is unhealthy. This was especially true for male students in a recent study, who purchased less junk food in the lunchroom for the remaining three months of the school year compared with those who heard traditional messages.

You can read the article here