ChangeLab Solutions and the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity applaud today’s announcement of a settlement with a company marketing a sugary beverage to kids as a product that would enhance their health.
The settlement, which is between the New York State Attorney General’s Office and Abbott Laboratories, is in response to a complaint filed by health advocates about misleading ads for Pediasure SideKicks, a sweetened chocolate-, vanilla-, or strawberry-flavored shake-type beverage, and SideKicks Clear, a sweetened fruit-flavored drink that does not contain milk.
Examples of the marketing include the following:
- Advertising Pediasure SideKicks using television ads that showed an energetic kid on a soccer field contrasted with kids who were shown to have eaten junk food like French fries or doughnuts. The ads implied that SideKicks would enhance the child’s performance on the field, as well as her overall health.
- In addition, though SideKicks Clear contained no actual fruit, Abbott had ads appearing online that included pictures of fruit, which could easily mislead consumers to think fruit was an ingredient. Moreover, the product’s label did not include language, required by federal law, specifying that the beverage contains no fruit or fruit juice.
The settlement required Abbott to pull these ads from television and the Internet.
“We are thrilled that the ad is off the air,” said Marice Ashe, JD, JPH, CEO and founder of ChangeLab Solutions. “This is a perfect example of the kind of misleading marketing that directly and negatively affects the health of kids in all our communities.”
“This settlement represents a tremendous victory in our effort to shine the light on the misleading practices of beverage companies, and should serve as a warning to other companies engaged in similarly deceptive marketing practices,” said Marlene Schwartz, PhD, Rudd Center Director. Read more.
The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity will become part of the university’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), Yale’s premier center for the study and shaping of public policy and training of future policy leaders, it was announced. The Rudd Center is a distinguished program that researches and provides high-level guidance for obesity- and food-related policy.
Recently ranked as one of the most effective among all U.S. nonprofits working on nutrition policy, the Rudd Center joins ISPS as a specialized study center. Working with ISPS, it will continue its mission of improving the world’s diet, preventing obesity, and reducing weight stigma by establishing creative connections between biological and social science and public policy.
“We are delighted to join ISPS and the community of social science and policy researchers at Yale,” says Marlene Schwartz, Rudd Center director. “This move reflects the Rudd Center's commitment to increasing our longstanding collaboration with faculty and students from other departments and schools at Yale.”
“The Rudd Center has shown how high-quality research and creative thinking can be married to thoughtful commentary on public policy,” says Jacob Hacker, director of ISPS and professor of political science. “We expect to learn from them as much as they learn from us as we move forward together.” Read more.