The study, published in BioMed Central Public Health, examined the nutritional value and marketing tactics of all child-oriented snacks in 55 stores immediately surrounding four public schools. Researchers identified 826 child-oriented snack foods, at least one in each of the 55 stores. They further analyzed 106 of the snacks.
The most common method of marketing to children was placing characters to promote snacks (92.5% of the products), including brand-specific characters, cartoon characters, and creatures/animals. Most character branding was prominently displayed on the front of products, and covered a quarter of the package’s surface.
“Promotional characters have been found to influence children’s food choices as they are more likely to choose a snack with a character on the packaging compared to one without a character,” the researchers said.
Most of the snacks (97.1%) were classified as “less-healthy.”
Researchers also found that the motivation to purchase snack foods in Guatemala may not be related to price, because: savory snack foods were more expensive than regular grocery items like bread; companies are still offering toys as giveaways in their product sales; and 20% of the snacks in the study didn’t have legally required nutritional labeling.
More restrictions on marketing less-healthy snacks is needed, the researchers concluded.
“Due to the effects on food preferences and overall nutritional quality, restricting the use of child-oriented licensed and brand-specific characters on the packaging of snack foods is needed to discourage consumption of less-healthy snacks,” according to the study.
Read the full study report here.
…research build a case for addressing Latino childhood obesity? (Pg 1)
…a Latina get more Latinos into national parks for culture, physical activity? (Pg 3)
…schools give kids healthier choices during and after class? (Pg 5)
Find out in the latest Salud America! E-newsletter.
Salud America! The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The program aims to unite and increase the number of Latino stakeholders engaged in community change and research on environmental and policy solutions to the epidemic. The network is directed by the Institute for Health Promotion Research at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio.
Don’t forget to share your “healthy change” stories with Salud America!, which can write up your story, possibly film it, and help you get a national audience for your work.
For more info, go here.
#FoodFri is a weekly tweetchat hosted by MomsRising on Twitter every Friday to provide a platform for our food policy partners and the larger food justice community to address food and beverages in schools, food marketing to children and other topics.
For instructions on how to join a #FoodFri tweetchat, go here.
For Salud America! research on sugary drinks and Latino kids, go here.
Sesame Street characters like Elmo and Rosita can now be used for free to market fresh produce in food stores by mid-2014 thanks to a new partnership aimed at encouraging children to eat more fruits and vegetables.
The two-year partnership—between the Sesame Workshop and the Produce Marketing Association (PMA) and the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) and First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative—allows PMA’s community of growers, suppliers and retailers to utilize the strength and influence of the Sesame Street brand without a licensing fee.
That means characters like Big Bird, Elmo, Rosita and Abby Cadabby can adorn produce sections and products to showcase fresh fruits and vegetables to kids.
“Just imagine what will happen when we take our kids to the grocery store, and they see Elmo and Rosita and the other Sesame Street Muppets they love up and down the produce aisle,” said First Lady Michelle Obama, according to a news release. “Imagine what it will be like to have our kids begging us to buy them fruits and vegetables instead of cookies, candy and chips.
The First Lady also called for stakeholders to leverage the power of marketing to promote healthy products to kids.
In her remarks, the First Lady referenced a recent study published in the Archives of Pediatrics and Adolescent Medicine conducted by researchers at Cornell University. Researchers gave kids a choice between eating an apple, a cookie, or both and the vast majority of the kids chose the cookies. But when the researchers put Elmo stickers on the apples and let the kids choose again, nearly double the number of kids went for the apple.
“It’s no secret that many parents have a hard time getting kids excited about eating their fruits and vegetables,” said PHA CEO Lawrence A. Soler. “Today’s commitment helps all of us promote increased fruit and vegetable consumption, and gives parents and families a powerful, positive tool to help get kids excited about eating healthier foods.”
A new documentary by Mexican-American filmmaker Bernardo Ruiz delves into the lives of six Latino students to uncover the challenges and successes Latinos face in graduating and taking steps to improve their communities, NBC Latino reports.
Ruiz’ two-part documentary, The Graduates, takes a detailed look at the lives of three Latino male and three female students from different regions of origin, geographic areas, and socio-economic status. It also showcases nonprofit agencies and role models who are committed to providing resources to and helping Latino youth.
The film also includes interviews with successful Latinos, such as actor Wilmer Valderrama and San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro, who reflect on their own experiences as students.
The documentary airs nationally on PBS on Oct. 28 and Nov. 4.
Watch clips from the film and an interview with the filmmaker here.
Breast cancer rates increased slightly for African American women, decreased for Latinas, and remained unchanged for white, Asian American, and American Indian/Alaska Native women from 2006-2010, the most recent five-year span of available data, according to a new report by the American Cancer Society (ACS).
Overall, breast cancer incidence rates are highest in white women, followed by African American women, while breast cancer death rates are highest for African American women, followed by white women, according to 2013-14 Breast Cancer Facts and Figures, which provides updated cancer research facts about breast cancer, including incidence, mortality, and survival trends for breast cancer, as well as information on early detection, treatment, and factors that influence risk and survival.
Latinas have among the lowest rates of breast cancer incidence and mortality.
However, the news is not all good.
Breast cancer remains the No. 1 cancer killer of Latinas.
Latinas also have lower rates of mammography screening—which can help catch breast cancer at earlier, more treatable stages—than all other racial/ethnic groups. Just 46% of Latinas report having a mammogram within the past year, compared to 52% of non-Hispanic Whites. ACS recommends annual mammograms starting at age 40.
To reduce your risk of breast cancer, ACS suggests:
- Achieve and maintain a healthy weight throughout life.
- Adopt a physically active lifestyle.
- Adopt a healthy diet featuring plenty of plant-based foods.
- If you drink alcohol, limit consumption.
Have questions about the Affordable Care Act?
These topics are just two of the upcoming Connect Education Workshops from CancerCare that bring together leading cancer experts to provide up-to-date information in one-hour educational cancer workshops.
Workshops are free. Participants can listen in live over the phone or online as a webcast.
Redes En Acción, the national Latino cancer research network led by the Institute for Health Promotion Research (IHPR) at The UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, partners with CancerCare to periodically offer free workshops on cancer issues that impact Hispanics.
You can also listen to past workshops, such as a Spanish-language workshop on Latinas and breast cancer.
Workshops also can be found on iTunes.
But there’s bad news, too.
There was an alarming 8% spike in sugary drink consumption among adolescents ages 12-17, and consumption also rose significantly among Latino and African American adolescents.
The study, Still Bubbling Over: California Adolescents Drinking More Soda and Other Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, provides a comprehensive look at youth (ages 2-17) consumption of sugary drinks, charting consumption patterns from 2005-2007 to 2011-2012. The study was produced collaboratively by the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research and the California Center for Public Health Advocacy (CCPHA).
Sugary drink consumption did decreased by 30% among kids ages 2-5 and 26% among kids ages 6-11 in California.
But among kids ages 12-17, 65% drink sugary beverages daily, an 8% climb since 2005-2007.
About 74% of African American and 73% of Latino adolescents drink at least one sugary drink each day, compared to 63% of Asians and 56% of whites.
Adolescents in all ethnic groups, except whites, consumed more sugary drinks in 2011-12 than in 2005-07.
The report ends with this recommendation: “With nearly 40 percent of California children overweight or obese, it is vital that parents, educators, health professionals, businesses and policymakers work together to identify and implement public policies and other programs and strategies to reduce sugary drink consumption and protect children, especially teens.”
Go here to read more.
The video explains that Mexican immigrants may improve their health as they move to the United States, but their children have worse health.
While U.S. obesity rates appear to have leveled off, Hispanics and Blacks have strikingly higher obesity rates than their White and Asian peers, Bloomberg reports.
The good news is that overall adult obesity is not rising.
About one-third of American adults (about 78 million people) are obese, about the same number as across the last decade, according to the National Center for Health Statistics, part of the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The report was led by researcher Dr. Cynthia L. Ogden.
But racial/ethnic disparities in obesity rates continue to be alarming.
About 43 percent of Hispanics and 48 percent of blacks are obese, compared with 33 percent of whites and 11 percent of Asians, Bloomberg reports.
Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director the Salud America! Latino childhood obesity research network at the Institute for Health Promotion Research at the UT Health Science Center at San Antonio, said more educational and research efforts are needed to reduce obesity among Latinos, especially because of high obesity rates among Latino kids.
“We need to work to make the healthy choice the easy choice, and generate a culture of health for Latinos and the nation,” Ramirez said. “We can’t let this be the first generation of children that might outlive their parents.”