Among companies that pledged to reform their child-directed advertising practices to encourage healthier choices, 78 percent of ads for children on Spanish-language television and 69 percent of ads for children on English-language television were for unhealthy foods or drinks.
The study, “Food Marketing to Children on U.S. Spanish-Language Television,” is the first large-scale effort to analyze food and beverage advertising on Spanish-language children’s television. It was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Healthy Eating Research program.
“All children, and especially Latinos, are bombarded with television ads that sell junk food and sugary drinks,” said Dale Kunkel of the University of Arizona at Tucson and the lead author of the study. “These findings are particularly concerning given the high rates of obesity among Latino youths.”
Kunkel and his colleagues analyzed the ad content for 158 Spanish-language television shows for children and compared them with those found on 139 English-language programs. The ads analyzed for the study were collected between February and April 2009.
The majority of child-directed ads (84% on Spanish shows and 74% on English shows) promoted Whoa products, such as candy, sugary cereals, fries, and sodas, which fall into the poorest nutritional category as defined by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS). Whoa products are high in calories, fat, and/or added sugar. The DHHS recommends very limited consumption of such items.
Other key study findings:
- Fast-food commercials accounted for nearly half (46%) of all child-targeted food advertising on Spanish-language television.
- More than three-quarters (78%) of all Spanish-language food ads used popular cartoon characters to market Whoa products. The same was true for 49 percent of English-language ads.
- Ads for healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, were extremely rare, accounting for just 1 percent or fewer of all ads in either language.
“Our findings suggest that the food and beverage industry’s pledge to self-regulate is not effective, especially on Spanish-language television,” Kunkel said. “Most of the ads aimed at kids feature Whoa products, so clearly there’s a big gap between the industry’s definition of healthy and what nutrition experts say.”
Two new Spanish-language videos show healthier lifestyles, one promoting family activities, such as a father showing his daughter he can dance, and another showing a family having a healthy foods taste test.
The videos aim to challenge children to engage in healthier lifestyles.
Both videos were made possible by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and presented by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute of the National Institutes of Health.
The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the costs of proposed federal legislation over a 10-year timeframe.
That might not be long enough to account for total savings inherent in the proposed legislation.
If the CBO extends that window from 10 to 75 years, it could better account for all of the costs and savings attributable to various obesity-prevention efforts, according to a new report by the Campaign to End Obesity.
The report identifies billions of dollars in potential savings that are attributable to four specific obesity-prevention strategies that would prevent obesity and related chronic conditions in the long run, thus helping save money by reducing health care costs and increasing wages.
Check out the report’s key findings in this infographic:
Creating school food environments that support healthy eating among children is a recommended national strategy to prevent childhood obesity, and is shown to have positive effects on student behavior, development, and academic performance.
To help children learn life-long healthy eating habits, researchers developed the Healthy Eating Design Guidelines for School Architecture.
These guidelines provide practitioners in architecture and public health as well as school system administrators with a practical set of spatially organized and theory-based strategies for making school environments more conducive to learning about and practicing healthy eating behaviors.
Watch how the Buckingham Elementary School redesign project in Dillwyn, Va., used the tool to improve its ability to adopt a healthy nutrition curriculum and promote healthy eating.
At the school, every aspect of the architecture—the furniture, color pallet, and materials—was designed to promote healthy behaviors, such as:
Some of the design principles incorporated include:
- A food lab where kids can learn how to prepare healthy foods;
- A cafeteria which facilitates fresh food production;
- A school garden for kids to grow food for the school cafeteria and burn a few calories;
- A lower-stress environment to address light, noise levels, air quality and crowding; and
- Layouts that encourage more movement and the use of attractive water fountains.
This project is the first of its kind and represents a brand new way of thinking about childhood obesity prevention.
Kids get active in their communities to save the world from a sedentary-style villain in a neat new video from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Each scene in the video is designed to showcase kids getting physical activity and eating right.
For the video, CDC invited U.S. kids to audition for the video.
Some of the more than 7,000 audition videos were used to build the film. Special effects were added to turn the kids’ actions into superpowers.
Physical activity is increasingly recognized as a critical way to prevent obesity, chronic disease and other serious health issues.
But nationally, only 1 in 4 adults meet physical activity guidelines.
Even fewer youths do.
A local volunteer group is trying to change that in San Antonio, a Texas city whose residents, most of whom are Latino, don’t engage in enough physical activity.
The Active Living Council of San Antonio, a community coalition formed in 2009 by local health officials using federal grant funds, has created the Active Living Plan for a Healthier San Antonio to identify and implement effective strategies to help people partake in “active living.”
San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and his Mayor’s Fitness Council have endorsed the plan, which also has broad support from several community groups.
“We hope local leaders use the plan to build a culture of ‘active living,’ a way of life that integrates physical activity into San Antonio residents’ daily routines, such as walking to the grocery store, biking to work, or exercising,” said Laura Esparza, a member of the council and a researcher at the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The council spent 18 months collaborating with community, governmental and industry members to create the plan.
The plan shares the vision of the U.S. National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP): “One day, all Americans will be physically active and they will live, work, and play in environments that facilitate regular physical activity.”
NPAP encourages use of evidence-based strategies to promote active living through policy, environmental and systems changes.
The council is currently reaching out to educate decision-makers, community leaders, and residents about local challenges to active living and how implementing the plan can help increase physical activity.
“We feel like this can help make San Antonio a much healthier place, and contribute to reducing obesity rates,” Esparza said.
Latinos have among the highest rates of obesity in the United States.
A new web forum series, “Why Obesity Is Important to the Latino Community,” is launching at 12:30 p.m. CST Tuesday, April 16, 2013, focusing on the Latino community and obesity and overweight prevention.
The series, organized by the Public Health Institute (PHI) of California, will air on PHI’s Dialogue4Health web platform in both English and Spanish.
- Outline the epidemiology of obesity in accessible terms, and the underlying factors contributing to the obesity epidemic;
- Elaborate upon the link between obesity prevention and other social issues;
- Discuss the role of community empowerment through leadership and capacity building for policy advocacy and systems change; and
- Provide examples of how Latino communities are coming together to create healthier built, food, beverage, social and community environments.
“This forum, which is by and for Latinos, aims to encourage communities to mobilize in ways that resonate with their culture, values and the environments they live in that influence the availability of healthy food and physical activity,” said Dr. Carmen R. Nevarez, PHI vice president for external relations, as well as a grantee of Salud America!, a Latino childhood obesity research network led by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
The first forum will be moderated by Dr. George Flores of The California Endowment.
Speakers include Michael Rodriguez, MD, MPH, a professor and vice chair for research in the Department of Family Medicine at UCLA’s David Geffen School of Medicine; Rosa Soto, regional director, California Center for Public Health Advocacy; and Genoveva Islas-Hooker, MPH, regional program director, CCROPP Program.
In the movie The Killing Strain, Juan “Rick” Carrillo plays a soldier who escapes a helicopter crash to lead a small group of flu-epidemic survivors to safety.
On screen, he was a tough, nothing-can-stop-him hero.
Off screen, though, Carrillo struggled fighting the elements—mountain cedar had him blowing his nose, taking antihistamines and using his inhaler between takes.
“I wasn’t feeling 100%, but the scenes captured during filming were very effective in telling the story of this gutsy soldier,” Carrillo said. “This always reminds me the great power a camera has on creating a world for audiences to absorb and be part of.”
Today, Carrillo is putting his acting and film-making experience to work as a TV producer/director for the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Carrillo has always loved movies and enjoyed acting (his mom used to say, though, he was better at acting up than acting).
After high school, he tried majoring in theatre.
But he ended up getting a more practical degree instead. Nuclear medicine seems like a 360-degree shift from acting, but having a steady hospital job as a technologist and interventional radiology operations manager allowed him participate in bilingual TV commercials, public service announcements, voiceovers, print ads, etc.
Carrillo eventually ingrained himself in the San Antonio film community and became fascinated with the production process of movie-making.
He started developing narrative films promoting health and wellness as a contractor for the video department at the UT Health Science Center. His videos focused on diabetes education, geriatric fall prevention, sex education and more.
One video used a continuous-shot format to follow a nursing student through a simulation lab. He scripted all the action choreography.
“I was able to incorporate unique learning objectives through different mediums and concepts for different video productions,” Carrillo said.
At the IHPR, he currently produces on-camera and animated videos—scripting, concept design, production and more—for Salud America! (LINK = www.salud-america.org, a national network dedicated to reducing and preventing Latino childhood obesity.
Carrillo said he likes knowing that the materials he helps create can help teach children and families to live healthier.
“I enjoy the opportunity to contribute to a genuine and purposeful cause that impacts so many human beings via a creative environment that allows me to try new methods of media production to disseminate information,” he said.