Oct. 7, 2013,
When Miami Heat star LeBron James isn’t scoring baskets, he’s busy — selling soda, sports drinks, and fast food.
But James isn’t alone. In a new study, many top U.S. athletes, from Peyton Manning to Serena Williams, were all over television promoting food and drinks, most of which aren’t very healthy.
“We see these people — they’ve obviously (reached the top) of sports achievement, they’re obviously living a healthy lifestyle — and they’re endorsing these foods. And that kind of lends an aura of healthfulness to these foods and beverages that they don’t deserve,” said Emma Boyland, from the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.
“The message is really getting mixed up,” added Boyland. She studies marketing and children’s food choices but didn’t work on the new research. Continue reading
Oct. 4, 2013,
By Kathleen Doheny
Free online games promoting food products tend to emphasize high-fat or sugary products, according to researchers who looked at 143 websites marketing foods to children through the interactive games, known as “advergames.”
Featured foods tended to be low in multiple nutrients or vitamins and high in calories, sugar, and fat, said study researcher Lorraine Weatherspoon, an associate professor of food science and human nutrition and director of the didactic program in dietetics at Michigan State University, in East Lansing, Mich.
Children often see the game promoted on the food packaging, then go online to play. The games vary, but one cereal maker, for instance, has the product character featured in an interactive comic book online. A beverage maker has a game in which users “swap the sweets” — pictures of candy, cupcakes, and other treats — to make sets of three or more. Continue reading
Sept. 26, 2013,
The Wall Street Journal
McDonald’s is partnering with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the Clinton Foundation and American Heart Association, to increase customers’ access to fruit and vegetables and help families and children to make informed choices in keeping with balanced lifestyles. President Bill Clinton, founder of the Bill, Hillary & Chelsea Clinton Foundation, Don Thompson, President and CEO of McDonald’s, and Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, announced the groundbreaking Clinton Global Initiative (CGI) Commitment today at the 2013 CGI Annual Meeting in New York City.
McDonald’s worked with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation to develop a comprehensive plan for 20 of the restaurant chain’s largest markets. Continue reading
Sept. 14, 2013,
By Bob Jamieson
Cornell University experts have found ways to get America’s school kids to eat healthier school lunches.
They say their techniques are low cost, even no cost, and nudge students to more nutritious offerings by manipulating the lunchroom environment.
“A lot of our work is experimental. We will actually go out in the field and run experiments in schools to see what will happen,” said David Just, associate professor and co-director of the Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs. Continue reading
Aug. 28, 2013,
By Amir Khan
If your kid is clamoring for a Happy Meal, he may be more interested in the toy than the burger, according to a new study published in the journal PLOS ONE. Researchers from the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire found that fast food advertisements aimed at kids promote toys and movie tie-ins more than the food, which could play a role in increasing childhood obesity epidemic.
Nearly 70 percent of fast food advertisements aimed at kids promoted giveaways or a movie tie-in, according to the study, compared to only 1 percent of advertisements targeting adults. Associating fast food with cartoon characters is linked to an increased consumption of fast food, according to the researchers, who said that there needs to be strict regulations on child-targeted advertising. Continue reading
Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is hosting a webinar “Marketing Matters: How Local Governments Can Address Food Marketing to Children” on Thursday, July 25, from 2:00-3:00 p.m. EDT
The webinar will provide an overview of the role local governments can play to effectively reduce the marketing of unhealthful foods and beverages to children. Research shows a strong connection between marketing practices that target youth and an increase in the consumption of junk food that contributes to childhood obesity. Moving beyond industry self-regulation, several local governments have adopted innovative strategies to minimize the prevalence of unhealthy food and food marketing. Presenters will share examples of successful policy options to promote the marketing of healthier food and beverage options. Continue reading
July 9, 2013,
The Huffington Post
By Michele Simon
Last month, I participated in an important panel at a childhood obesity conference to discuss the current strategy backed by some advocacy groups: asking industry to market “healthier” foods to children. But as Susan Linn and I recently argued, any marketing to children is harmful, regardless of the product’s nutritional content.
Instead of begging corporations to tweak the grams of sugar, fat and salt that these highly processed junk foods contain, we should demand that industry stop exploiting children altogether. Some advocates argue this approach is too radical. But it’s actually far more practical and ultimately more effective because of certain key tactics that industry uses to target children. Continue reading
May 8, 2013,
Oxford University [blog]
By Ashley N. Gearhardt
Gooey chocolate and scoops of mouth-watering chocolate ice cream. Steaming hot golden French fries. Children see thousands of commercials each year designed to increase their desire for foods high in sugar, fat, and salt like those mentioned above. Yet, we know almost nothing about how this advertising onslaught might be affecting the brain.
A recent study in Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience conducted by researchers from the University of Michigan, Oregon Research Institute, and Yale University starts to uncover how the brain responds to food commercials in teens. Thirty adolescents visited a lab to watch a typical television show that included commercial breaks composed of frequently advertised food (e.g., McDonald’s, Wendy’s) and non-food commercials (e.g., AT&T, Ford). But unlike a typical TV viewing experience, these participants had their brain response measured in a functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) scanner. Continue reading
May 6, 2013,
By Jacquellena Carrero
Latinos have some of the highest rates of obesity in the nation, and the results of a new study show that advertisers may be contributing to the problem.
A new study out by the Journal of Health Communication is showing that the vast majority of food advertisements on Spanish language television shows are unhealthy. According to the study, more than 84 percent of all foods and beverages advertised are low-nutrient and high-calorie products. The study, which was called “Food Marketing to Children on US. Spanish-Language Television” is among the first that analyzes food and beverage advertising on Spanish-language children’s television. The study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Healthy Eating Research program. Continue reading
April 22, 2013,
By Brad Haynes
A consumer protection agency in Brazil has taken aim at the Happy Meal, fining McDonald’s Corp on April 22 for targeting children with its advertising and toys.
The Procon agency in the state of Sao Paulo fined the fast-food company 3.2 million reais ($1.6 million), adding fuel to a global debate about fast food and public health.
As with the case in Brazil, Latin America’s biggest economy, much of the debate centers on how McDonald’s and other fast-food companies market to children and other young consumers.
While the initial fine may have little impact on the world’s largest restaurant chain, the agency said additional citations for similar advertising could arise, more than doubling the cost to McDonald’s. Consumer agencies in other jurisdictions could also soon follow the precedent in Brazil’s most populous state. Continue reading