About the authors Abstracts The rapid nutrition transition occurring in Latin America has resulted in a sharp increase of childhood overweight and obesity. This population has become a key target market for the ultra-processed foods and beverages industry, which is marketing products in an aggressive way. Evidence shows that Latin American countries have poor regulation of ultra-processed foods and beverages advertising, where the discourse of self-regulation still prevails over statutory regulations. The following commentary explores how advertising might play an important role in developing unhealthy dietary patterns and obesity in Latin American children, as well as the urgent need for government action and the involvement of civil society to tackle this public health issue. We provide many choices that fit with the balanced, active lifestyle.
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About the authors Abstracts The rapid nutrition transition occurring in Latin America has resulted in a sharp increase of childhood overweight and obesity. This population has become a key target market for the ultra-processed foods and beverages industry, which is marketing products in an aggressive way.
Evidence shows that Latin American countries have poor regulation of ultra-processed foods and beverages advertising, where the discourse of self-regulation still prevails over statutory regulations. The following commentary explores how advertising might play an important role in developing unhealthy dietary patterns and obesity in Latin American children, as well as the urgent need for government action and the involvement of civil society to tackle this public health issue. We provide many choices that fit with the balanced, active lifestyle.
It is up to them to choose and their parents to choose, and it is their responsibility to do so. Dairy Herald [updated Nov 5].
This might appear to be right, since they are the ones who buy food for their children and should have the authority to control their dietary habits. However, if this was entirely true, would food and beverage companies be spending so much money, time, and effort on advertising to children? Food marketing to children and youth: threat or opportunity?
There is growing evidence that television advertising influences the food preferences of children. These young consumers are making choices in the marketplace at younger ages either by influencing the food selections of parents and caregivers or by making purchasing decisions independent of parental guidance.
As part of the rapid nutrition transition occurring in Latin America, childhood obesity is rising at an alarming rate. This increase is intimately related to the accelerated globalization process occurring in highly urbanized areas, where a greater percentage of the population is now being exposed to the marketing of ultra-processed foods and beverages. Stunted child-overweight mother pairs: prevalence and association with economic development and urbanization.
Food Nutr Bull. Sponsorship of physical activity programs by the sweetened beverages industry: public health or public relations? Rev Saude Publica. This commentary explores how advertising might play an important role in developing unhealthy dietary patterns and obesity in Latin American children defined as those below the age of There is an urgent need for government action and the involvement of civil society in order to tackle this public health issue.
Nutrition transition in Latin America The nutrition transition in Latin America has been characterized by the increasing consumption of energy-dense foods and beverages rich in refined sugars, salt, and fat, but poor in other essential nutrients.
Caloric beverage consumption patterns in Mexican children. Nutr J. Increasing consumption of ultra-processed foods and likely impact on human health: evidence from Brazil. Public Health Nutr. Monteiro CA. The big issue is ultra-processing. In praise of the shared meal [editorial and commentary]. World Nutr. Salt reduction for preventing hypertension and cardiovascular disease: a population approach should include children.
An Pediatr Barc. In Latin America, dietary patterns have undergone profound changes in recent years. In Brazil, consumption of whole or minimally processed foods such as rice, beans, and eggs, has decreased between ten and 27 percent in 16 years.
Several national nutrition surveys conducted in the region show that childhood obesity is growing at a rapid pace. In Brazil, the proportion of overweight girls aged five to nine years old increased from 8. The rates went from Rio de Janeiro; [cited Mar 18]. Cuernavaca; [cited Oct 7]. Although there are several factors linked with dietary behaviors, including biological and genetic characteristics, as well as school and family environments, the marketing strategies used by the ultra-processed food and beverage industry is one of the main drivers that might explain these dietary changes.
A recent systematic review showed strong evidence that television advertising influences the food and beverage preferences of children aged two to 11 years old.
The massive television food advertisement in Latin America is exemplified in the study conducted in by the independent Mexican organization El Poder del Consumidor The Power of the Consumer. The average number of ads was This has an important impact, since The investment in interactive advertising has increased in the past years and it is projected to rise substantially in the future.
Montgomery KC, Chester J. Interactive food and beverage marketing: targeting adolescents in the digital age. J Adolesc Health. These strategies allow companies to create personalized marketing based on the sites that consumers visit and the products they buy online. People become active actors in advertising by engaging in advergames, sharing links through social networks, voting for a certain product online or through SMS, and even participating in the design of certain ads.
Interactive media has given companies the power of building long-term and emotional relationships between consumers and brands. Furthermore, this type of media transcends geographic boundaries, since web pages may be viewed in most countries irrespective of the place where they are created. Lobstein T. Research needs on food marketing to children: report of the StanMark project. Firstly, this population is especially vulnerable to food and beverage advertising because they do not have the neurological maturity to understand the marketing intentions behind the ads, and to make autonomous decisions regarding a healthy diet.
Prediction of individual brain maturity using fMRI. Lobstein T, Dibb S. Evidence of a possible link between obesogenic food advertising and child overweight.
Obes Rev. Several studies have found that abstract thinking, neurological maturity, and full capacity to make appropriate decisions are only accomplished after the age of Children have become an important target for the ultra-processed food and beverage companies that use aggressive advertising strategies to generate brand awareness, preference, and loyalty. Consequently, they end up being at greater risk of acquiring unhealthy dietary habits because of major exposure to advertising of foods with empty calories.
Sweden and Norway are examples of countries that protect this population, precisely because children are trusting and unable to understand the differences between television commercials and programming. The second reason is that dietary habits are built early in life and usually persist through adulthood; 9 9.
Ministry of Culture. Children and advertising: some perspectives on the relevant legal arguments. Stockholm: Stockholm Institute for Scandinavian Law; [cited mar 20]. In Brazil, one regulation issued by the National Health Surveillance Agency ANVISA , although still not enforced, requires health warnings in advertisements for foods with high amounts of sugar, saturated fat, trans fat and sodium, and for beverages with low nutritional value.
In Colombia, a law aimed at controlling obesity was approved in , stating that the Ministry of Health and Social Protection, and the National Institute for Food and Medicine Surveillance In Spanish: Instituto Nacional de Vigilancia de Medicamentos y Alimentos , INVIMA are required to create a specialized committee that must control food and beverage advertising in order to protect the health of consumers, mainly children and adolescents. Unfortunately, the self-regulatory discourse still prevails over statutory regulations in Latin America.
Surprisingly, the country with the highest prevalence of childhood obesity in the region only has a self-regulatory commitment on food and beverage advertising, and it is in itself ambiguous. Ley de 14 de octubre de Rev Consumidor [Internet]. Hawkes C, Harris JL. An analysis of the content of food industry pledges on marketing to children.
This is especially true for Latin America, where low civil society involvement and lack of government supervision are common.
Regardless of this, Norway and Sweden still issued laws that regulated advertisement directed at this population, out of common sense and respect for their vulnerability. Today, we have enough evidence on this matter and Latin America is still lacking effective efforts to tackle this problem through statutory regulations and active participation of civil society.
The bottom line is that decision-makers have two choices: they can either sit back and believe what the industry wants them to believe — that personal responsibility and choice are the only determinants of our eating behaviors — or they can face the evidence and understand that the food environment plays a greater role than we would like to admit, and take effective action to modify this obesogenic milieu.
Cardiovascular risk factors and excess adiposity among overweight children and adolescents: the Bogalusa Heart Study. J Pediatr. Facultad de Medicina. Hospital Universitario San Ignacio. Pontificia Universidad Javeriana.
Objetivo de la encuesta 1 2. Marco de la encuesta 4. Estimadores 6 Cuadro 1.
Instituto nacional de estadística y censos