About these ads

Health: Tackling the obesity epidemic

Good, but not so healthy.

Mix of policy options needed to discourage junk food consumption and encourage healthy lifestyles

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — With obesity rates still on the rise in North America, governments are under pressure to take stronger regulatory steps to curb rising health-care costs for maladies such as diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

A recently published series of papers from the University of Alberta examines some of the options available for policy makers seeking to promote healthier eating, including zoning restrictions on fast food restaurants, mandatory menu labels, higher taxes on junk food or even incentive-based approaches for pursuing a healthier lifestyle.

“Since eating and physical activity behavior are complex and influenced by many factors, a single policy measure on its own is not going to be the magic bullet,” said Nola Ries, of the university’s Faculty of Law’s Health Law and Science Policy Group. “Measures at multiple levels — directed at the food and beverage industry, at individuals, at those who educate and those who restrict — must work together to be effective.” Continue reading

About these ads

Health: Switch hands to break the junk food habit

Eating too many chips? Try switching hands to break the junk food habit.

Study analyzes why people eat even if they’re not hungry or the food doesn’t taste good

By Summit Voice

SUMMIT COUNTY — If you’re trying to cut back on junk food like potato chips, you could try a tactic as simple as switching hands.

Using the non-dominant hand seems to disrupt eating habits and cause people to pay attention to what they were eating, University of Southern California researchers found during a series of experiments in movie theaters.

“It’s not always feasible for dieters to avoid or alter the environments in which they typically overeat,” said Wendy Wood, a psychology and business professor at USC. “More feasible, perhaps, is for dieters to actively disrupt the established patterns of how they eat through simple techniques, such as switching the hand they use to eat.”

The study, appearing in the current issue of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin, has important implications for understanding overeating and the conditions that may cause people to eat even when they are not hungry or do not like the food. Continue reading

Health: Feds push to ban junk food ads aimed at kids

Will Froot Loops now come in plain brown box?

Set of voluntary nutrition and advertising guidelines up for public comment

By Bob Berwyn

SUMMIT COUNTY — As childhood obesity becomes an increasingly widespread problem, three federal agencies have teamed up with food manufacturers to develop a set of voluntary advertising and nutritional guidelines that would dramatically change the way snack foods are presented to children 17 or younger. Many of the products currently advertised to kids would not meet the new guidelines.

The guidelines would affect both television advertising as well the increasingly common ads on social media networks like Facebook and MySpace. Basically, the Obama administration, backed by Congress, wants food companies to cut back on aggressively advertising junk food to youngsters. At this point, the agencies have issued a draft proposal outlining several options and wants public feedback.

The upward spiral of obesity rates has slowed in the past few years, but still, nearly one in three American children are overweight, as defined by Center for Disease Control standards. According to the latest figures available (from 2007-2008), 10.4 of U.S. children aged 2 to 5 are obese, 19.6 percent of 6-11 year olds are obese and 18.1 percent of 12-19 year olds are obese. Continue reading

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 7,399 other followers