Sunday, November 7, 2010

US Gov't Revising Nutritional Guidelines

Tennessee has 3rd-highest obesity rate in US
Food Industry Marketing a Factor in Rising Childhood Obesity
According to a 2007-2008 National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, approximately 17% of American children and adolescents between the ages of two and nineteen years old are clinically obese. Between the ages of two and five, obesity is prevalent in 19.6%. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that obesity in children and adolescents makes them prone to other health problems. Obese children are more at risk for cardiovascular disease, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and Type 2 diabetes. A new CDC study released last week finds that incidence of Type 2 diabetes could grow from 1 in 10 people today to an astounding 1 in 3 by 2050. Obesity has also been linked to asthma, sleep apnea, and liver problems.

How much does food industry marketing contribute to this problem? Research indicates that it can play a significant role. In a study conducted by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University in October 2009, researchers found that cereal was the packaged food most frequently marketed to children – and the cereals directed at children were "junkier" than those sold to adults.

According to the study, compared to the types of cereal advertised to adults, those marketed to children had 85% more sugar, 65% less fiber, and 60% more sodium. Some examples included cereals produced by Kellogg Company and General Mills, Inc. such as Reese’s Puffs, Corn Pops, Lucky Charms, and Golden Grahams, all of which received poor nutritional scores.

Another study published in the Archives of Pediatrics & Adolescent Medicine in July 2010 concluded that children and teens see substantially more advertising for fast food than adults do. This exposure builds brand loyalty to unhealthy foods at an early age.

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