Say you’re a parent of a young child and you’re picking out a beverage for your kid. You’re scanning the options and see this label – would it make you pick another drink?
What about this one?
A new study finds that for many parents of 6 to 11 year olds, these or other similar warning labels are enough to avoid buying that sugary beverage for their child. At least that’s what parents said in an online survey. The study was published yesterday in the journal Pediatrics. (It coincidentally was released the same day that a ruling to require warning labels on sugary beverages failed to go forward in California.)
Avoiding sugary beverages is one of AICR’s recommendations for cancer prevention as it can lead to weight gain, for kids and adults. And excess body fat is a cause of many common adult cancers, including colorectal and post-menopausal breast.
Taxes on sugary drinks and unhealthy food advertising to kids may save more than $30 in health care costs for every dollar spent to implement, suggests a new study published this month.
Childhood obesity rates are nudging upwards, which means more kids are at risk for obesity in adulthood. With this extra weight comes increased risk for cancer, heart disease, and diabetes, as well as the high costs of health care that come with these diseases.
The new study used previous research to analyze the cost effectiveness and impact on childhood obesity of 7 proposed interventions. Six of the interventions aimed to prevent weight gain in youth while one involved surgical treatment of obesity. With the help of policy makers and other experts, study authors estimated the the effect of each intervention among the US population over the 10 years spanning 2015 to 2025.
Overall, five strategies were found to decrease incidence of childhood obesity (see chart) with three saving more in healthcare costs than they cost to implement.
One strategy was a tax on sugary beverages. The proposed tax, translating to 12 cents for a can of soda, would prevent an estimated 576,000 children from being obese and save $30 for every dollar it cost to enact.
Another effective strategy was to create nutrition standards for school snacks, fundraisers and other foods sold outside of school meals. This would prevent an estimated 345,00 cases of childhood obesity, saving about $4.50 for every dollar it costs.
Nutrition standards for school meals was found to prevent the most cases of childhood obesity — approximately 1.8 million cases — yet this strategy cost about 60 cents more to implement than it would save in healthcare costs.
These results demonstrate the importance and feasibility of prevention measures to reduce childhood obesity, note the authors. The sugar sweetened beverage tax and taxing advertising would also provide revenue that would offset the costs of other prevention efforts, such as nutrition standards for school meals. Future studies are needed to assess the cumulative impact and costs of these interventions.
This study was funded by The JPB Foundation, The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the Donald and Sue Pritzker Nutrition and Fitness Initiative, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Shrink your plate, silverware, and portion size and there’s a good chance you’ll eat less, potentially a lot less, suggests a recent analysis of studies. The Cochrane review of the research is the most conclusive to date that adults eat more when offered more, whether that food comes in a package or a dish.
If US adults were to consistently move from the larger-sized portions, packages and plates to the smaller versions across the entire day, we could reduce average daily calories by 22 to 29 percent – up to 527 calories – the authors estimate. In the United Kingdom, where the authors are from, adults could reduce calories by 12 to 16 percent – equivalent of up to 279 calories per day.
The review offers one potential way for healthier eating and weight control. Being a healthy weight is one of the most important ways to reduce cancer risk, along with heart disease and other chronic conditions.
Review authors analyzed 69 studies they identified that all compared two groups of people, each presented with a different size of a portion, package, plate or utensil. The studies, which spanned from 1978 to 2013, had to meet a set criteria for study design, bias and other factors. All the studies were conducted in high-income countries, with most done here in the United States.
For both kids and adults, people exposed to larger-sized portions, packages, individual units or tableware consistently eat more compared to when they are given smaller versions. The older participants were, the more they ate when given larger sizes.About half of the studies manipulated portion size. Adults – but not children – ate more when served larger portions compared to smaller ones.Adults – but not children – ate more when presented with larger plates, bowls and other tableware compared to smaller ones.
Many of these studies lasted only a day and all were short term, which means further research is needed to see if the short-term changes seen would last. Researchers highlight a range of ways that manufacturers, governments and individuals could reduce the sizes, such as giving upper limits on serving sizes of fatty foods, desserts, and sugary drinks, or placing larger portion sizes further away from shoppers to make them less accessible.
And more research is needed to see if reducing portions in relatively small amounts can be as effective in reducing food consumption as reductions at the larger end of the range.
(The authors had also set out to analyze alcohol and tobacco but they only found three relevant tobacco studies and none for alcohol.)
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