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 “Health: Tackling the obesity epidemic”→
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.”
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.