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December 6, 2013
Parents strongly disagree with allowing children under 13 to join Facebook, according to researchers at the Yale Rudd Center. Facebook’s current terms of service do not allow children under 13 to become members, but the social networking site is considering relaxing these rules.
Researchers surveyed a sample of parents about whether children under age 13 should have their own Facebook profiles and whether Facebook should allow advertisers to use Facebook profiles and other information to target marketing to children.
Over 73% of the parents surveyed do not agree that children under the age of 13 should have their own Facebook profiles. In addition, if children under 13 are permitted to use Facebook, more than two-thirds of the parents surveyed said it would not be okay for fast food, soft drink and other snack companies to market to children on Facebook or for any advertisers to use Facebook information to target children.
December 4, 2013
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.
December 3, 2013
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.
November 5, 2013
In 2012 the fast food industry spent $4.6 billion to advertise mostly unhealthy products, and children and teens remained key audiences for that advertising, according to a new report by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The report highlights a few positive developments, such as healthier sides and beverages in most restaurants’ kids’ meals, but also shows that restaurants still have a long way to go to promote only healthier fast-food options to kids.
“There were some improvements, but they have been small, and the pace too slow,” said Marlene Schwartz, Rudd Center director. “Without more significant changes, we are unlikely to see meaningful reductions in unhealthy fast food consumption by young people.”
The report, “Fast Food FACTS 2013,” is a follow-up to a report released in 2010. Using the same methods, researchers examined 18 of the top fast-food restaurants in the United States and documented changes in the nutritional quality of menu items along with changes in marketing to children and teens on TV, the Internet, social media, and mobile devices.
Detailed findings of the report will be presented Nov. 5 at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in Boston. The report was supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
November 5, 2013
Efforts to reduce consumption of saturated fat among women and young children receiving food assistance appear to be paying off, according to a study by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity.
Purchases of whole milk and cheese have decreased among families participating in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) after the program was revised in 2009 to offer foods that better reflect dietary recommendations for Americans. The study is published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.
The WIC program is designed to help meet the nutritional needs of pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and young children who are at nutritional risk. Prior to the WIC food package revisions, allowances of milk and cheese exceeded dietary recommendations for dairy consumption in very young children, and most milk consumed was whole milk. After the revisions, whole milk was authorized only to children under age 2, while women and older children received milk with no more than 2% milk fat. States could further restrict it to low-fat or skim milk. Cheese allowances were largely reduced too.
The Yale researchers examined milk and cheese purchases made at a New England supermarket chain by Connecticut households participating in WIC over a two-year period. Milk and cheese volume purchased by these households were compared before and after the WIC revisions.
The most significant change after the WIC revisions was replacement of whole milk with lower-fat varieties, resulting in a reduction in consumption of saturated fat from purchased milk. Prior to the revisions in Connecticut, whole milk accounted for, on average, 57% of total milk purchases and 56% of WIC milk purchases. Researchers found that this allocation changed significantly with the new WIC packages. The whole-milk share declined to 33% in total milk purchases, and 25% in WIC milk purchases. Purchases of WIC cheese using WIC benefits declined after the revisions by 77%.