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A US analysis has considered three policies recommended to reduce childhood obesity prevalence in the next twenty years. The microsimilation predicted that a sugar sweetened beverage excise tax would reduce obesity most among adolescents 13-18 years by 2.4 percentage points. The other two policies analysed were aimed at 6-12 year old children, afterschool physical activity programs and a ban on child-directed fast food TV advertising were found to reduce obesity by 1.8 and 0.9 percentage points respectively. Twenty six policies were considered to arrive at the final three.

All three policies could reduce obesity in the US. It should be noted that the simulation only considered a ban on fast food advertising on television to children under 12 years.

Kristensen AH, Flottemesch TJ, Maciosek MV, Jenson J, Barclay G, Ashe M, et al. Reducing childhood obesity through U.S. federal policy: a microsimulation analysis. American Journal of Preventive Medicine 2014 Nov;47(5):604-12

Busted

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Over ten years the Parents Jury Fame and Shame Awards have exposed sneaky marketing techniques to children. This year saw a new award, the Foul Play award for the hotly contested area of marketing through sponsorship of children’s sport. The winner was Coca Cola’s Powerade sports loyalty program which incentivises sport clubs to purchase unhealthy drinks to get a range of sports equipment. For a set of seven netball bibs valued at around $50, a club would be required to purchase $1,600 worth of drinks. This equates to the consumption of 442 bottles of Powerade, containing a whopping 15kg of sugar.

Commenting on the 10th year of the awards, Clare Hughes, Nutrition Program Manager at Cancer Council NSW said “We have seen food companies adapt and become even craftier in their pursuit to promote sugar-laden, high-sodium and fatty foods to children; using new channels such as sporting codes, social media channels and digital apps.”

In the Digital Ninja category, the Fanta Flavour Lab app and the McDonald’s Emlings app shared the prize, together covering marketing to children of all ages. The Fanta app uses engaging games to entice teens into playing branded games and sharing their achievements with their friends on FaceBook. The McDonald’s app is made for 4-8 year olds and features the Happy Meal box, promoting early engagement with the brand.

Nestlé Australia received the Pester Power Award for its Wonka Chocolate Golden Ticket promotion encouraging children to pester their parents to buy blocks of Wonka chocolate using the hook of finding an elusive golden ticket inside.

The Parents’ Choice Award for marketing that promotes healthy eating and physical activity to children in a fun and appealing way was awarded to Woolworths for the Jamie’s Garden Collectibles promotion because it taught children about eating fresh healthy food.

Read more at Fame and Shame Awards

Do you think these are worthy winners?