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How To Raise Revenue And Cut Childhood Obesity In One Fell Swoop

Posted Dec 29 2012 9:16am

From Your Health Journal…..”The Washington Post is an excellent resource on all topics, but I love their health related stories. I encourage all of you to visit their site (link below) to read this full article being reviewed here today, as well as other great articles. Today’s article discusses an option of how to cut obesity by banning food ads. Advertisements can have that ‘glorifying’ effect on people, especially children – who see ads for products that may entice them to eat fatty or sugary processed foods. There are many groups who feel advertisements play a big role in contributing to the obesity epidemic. Basically, kids see an ad, go to the supermarket and want this product – maybe because the ad made the unhealthy food seem very appealing to eat, or simply because it comes with a prize. Now, on the other hand, there are some who feel all this in nonsense, as parents need to step up and show discipline – and use the word ‘no’ when a child asks for a food product that may not be healthy. Then, there is another group who say buy the products, but moderate how much they eat, so it is not on a regular basis. Which side do you take? Would love to know, so post away here. Please visit the Washington Post web site to view the full article.”

From the article…..

It should come as no surprise to anyone with a television that advertising for fast food joints and snack foods can be mighty persuasive. A new working paper by public health economists Michael Grossman, Roy Wada, and Erdal Tekin tries to quantify exactly how persuasive, and what this means for public health.

Previous studies have mainly focused on the persuasiveness of junk food advertising to children. Not too surprisingly, the previous literature found that kids were pretty impressionable. One study found that watching 100 ads for soft drinks over a three-year period was associated to a 9.4 percent increase in soda consumption. Another, coauthored by Grossman, found that banning fast food advertising would reduce childhood obesity by 10 percent.

The new paper reproduces Grossman’s earlier calculations and reaches very similar conclusions. What’s more, it finds that banning fast food ads reduces obesity when measured using percent body fat (PBF), which many experts consider a better metric to body-mass index (BMI), upon which Grossman’s earlier study relied. Using PBF, the effects of an advertising ban are even larger. A PBF-based calculation suggests that a ban would reduce the number of obese youths by 14 percent, while Grossman et al’s most recent BMI-based calculation found a reduction of only 6 percent.

To read the full article….. Click here

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