A longitudinal study just released in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, concludes that consumption of key nutrients of concern (total sugars, added saturated fats, sodium, and calories) significantly declined in school environments after the restrictions were implemented.
In 2016 the Chilean government took action to redesign packaging, restrict marketing to children, and provide nutritional clarity with prominent front-of-package (FOP) labeling.
For the youngest food consumers that meant cartoon mascots disappearing from boxes, prohibiting television and website advertising targeting youth, and the removal of junk food from schools. Did the new laws create a healthier food environment or did they push junk food consumption into new areas of children’s lives?
The good news? A longitudinal study just released in the International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity, concludes that consumption of key nutrients of concern (total sugars, added saturated fats, sodium, and calories) significantly declined in school environments after the restrictions were implemented.
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“Children’s and adolescents’ percentage of calories consumed at school from total sugars, saturated fats, and sodium significantly declined after implementation of Chile’s Law of Food Labeling and Advertising.”
Gabriela Fretes, First author and Associate Research Fellow at IFPRI
The interesting news? Children and adolescents increased their intake of these same key nutrients of concern in out-of-school settings. Creating a long-term healthy food environment for Chilean youth requires more research to explore additional targeted policy changes.
“As children become more independent, they interact with different food environments, particularly restaurants and fast food outlets that usually offer foods that are high in calories, sodium, fats, and sugar.”
Norbert Wilson, Duke World Food Policy Center
(First author: IFPRI Associate Research Fellow and Friedman School Alumna Gabriela Fretes, Corresponding author: Associate Professor Sean Cash. Co-authors on the study: Camila Corvalán, Marcela Reyes, Lindsey Smith Taillie, New Balance Chair in Childhood Nutrition, Christina D. Economos, and Director of the Duke World Food Policy Center, Norbert L.W. Wilson)