Showing results for: Obesity/overweight
A systematic evidence review by researchers at the University of Cambridge’s Behaviour and Health Research Unit, investigates the influence of portion, package and tableware size on food consumption.
The share of the population that is overweight or obese is increasing, especially in the emerging economies of the developing world. This report explores policies to combat obesity. Specifically, it analyses the effects of relative price changes between different types of foods on consumer behaviour in high-income and emerging economies (Brazil, China, Republic of Korea and Mexico). The researchers look into the causes of increasing obesity and changes to the retail prices of foods and ask if healthy eating is becoming a luxury in emerging markets, as has been the trend in high-income countries.
This paper finds that consumption of high-fat yoghurt and cheese are linked to reduced risks of developing type 2 diabetes – reducing these risks by as much as a fifth. High meat consumption, on the other hand, is linked to a higher risk, regardless of the fat content of the meat. These results are in line with previous studies of eating habits that indicated a link between high consumption of dairy products and a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes.
This paper, entitled Dietary quality among men and women in 187 countries in 1990 and 2010: a systematic assessment argues that although worldwide, consumption of healthy foods such as fruit and vegetables has improved during the past two decades, it has been outpaced in most regions by the increased intake of unhealthy foods such as processed meat and sweetened drinks.
This new series of papers from the Lancet summarises the latest available knowledge on obesity and what can be done to address the problem. The series introduction describes how today’s food environments exploits people’s biological, psychological, social, and economic vulnerabilities, making it easier for them to eat unhealthy foods. This in turn reinforces preferences and demands for foods of poor nutritional quality, furthering the unhealthy food environments. The authors call for regulatory actions from governments and increased efforts from industry and civil society to break these vicious cycles.
Two new papers from researchers at the USDA Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging at Tufts University have analysed the portion sizes and nutritional contents (including calories, sodium, saturated fats and trans fats) of popular menu items served at three national fast-food chains between 1996 and 2013. The researchers found that average calories, sodium, and saturated fat stayed relatively constant, at high levels and the only decline seen was of trans fat of fries that took place between 2000-2009. The products analysed were: French fries, cheeseburgers, grilled chicken sandwich, and regular cola.
This study from Monash University looks at the effects of introducing a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages across different income groups, comparing impacts on consumption, bodyweight and tax burden. They compare between introducing a flat rate 20% valoric tax and a 20 c/L volumetric tax and find that for low-income households the volumetric tax leads both to greater per capita weight loss and lower tax burden.
The report investigates consumers’ meat eating patterns, the relationship with BMI, and their willingness to eat less meat or to eat meat that they may perceive to be ‘better’ in some way – eg. organic or free range.
The past 33 years have seen a great increase in obesity and overweight rates among adults but also, and especially, children. There has been a 28 % increase in the rate of obesity among adults but in children a startling 47% increase.
Understanding the influence of neighbourhood food environments in light of recent changes in society and rising levels of overweight and obesity has become very important.
This systematic review examines the most common persuasive techniques used to promote junk food to children on television. The study shows that the approaches most frequently used are: free toys, gifts, discounts and competitions, promotional characters and celebrities, and appeals to taste and fun to promote junk food to children. These persuasive techniques were found to be used more often when promoting unhealthy food. The study authors argue that a ban on junk food advertising to children under 16 would be an important measure to fight child obesity. NB: the study looks at which persuasive techniques were most commonly used – it doesn’t assess which are the most effective.