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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

Coke, crisps, convenience: how ads created a global junk food generation

The Guardian

New research claims that blanket exposure to promotional material for unhealthy foods is encouraging children to eat badly around the world. 100 schoolchildren in seven countries were asked by researchers from University College London to film themselves and the food they eat for a study about the exposure of children to unhealthy diets. The accompanying policy-analysis shows that policy responses to address diet-related non-communicable diseases remain largely inadequate with responses anchored around individual behaviour change and personal responsibility.

You can read the article here

Brain differences may be tied to obesity, kids’ study says

CBC News

In a federally-funded study involving 3,190 U.S. children ages 9 and 10, researchers found differences in the heaviest children’s brain scans – slightly less volume in the brain region behind the forehead that controls what are known as “executive function” tasks. “We don’t know which direction these relationships go nor do they suggest that people with obesity are not as smart as people at a healthy weight,” said editorial co-author Dr. Eliana Perrin.  Read the article here

Why one campaigning group is ‘building a movement’ against junk food ads

Marketing Week

Bite Back 2030 has been set up as an “unstoppable movement” of young people in the UK.  Backed by chef Jamie Oliver, the aim is to halve childhood obesity in the UK by 2030. Read the article here.

 

What’s so bad about processed foods? Scientists offer clues

CTV News
Three recent studies offer more clues on how our increasingly industrialized food supply may be affecting our health, they also underscore how difficult nutrition science and advice can be. Distinguishing which processed foods might be better or worse is increasingly difficult as companies continually re-engineer products to make them seem more wholesome. Read full article here.

Munter: We are letting our kids eat themselves sick

Ottawa Citizen

Alex Munter, president and CEO of CHEO, the national capital’s pediatric health centre wrote an op-ed highlighting the link between obesity and chronic diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease, and the need to stop bombarding children with ads for food and beverages high in salt, sugar, and saturated fats. Read full OpEd here.
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76% of sports sponsorships tied to junk food

CNN 

Excerpts:
76% of sports sponsorships tied to junk food, study says The study, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, reveals that 76% of food products shown in ads promoting a sports organization sponsorship are unhealthy and that 52.4% of beverages shown in sports sponsorship ads are sugar-sweetened.

Cheering on your favorite sports team and snacking on junk food often go hand in hand in the United States, but a new study sheds light on just how intertwined sports and unhealthy foods really are.

The study, published in the journal Pediatrics on Monday, reveals that 76% of food products shown in ads promoting a sports organization sponsorship are unhealthy and that 52.4% of beverages shown in sports sponsorship ads are sugar-sweetened. Read article here…