Parents eat up celebs' junk food spin

Jodi - posted on 02/14/2011 ( 21 moms have responded )

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A new study has found parents are more likely to buy junk food if it is endorsed by a celebrity.

The online study by the Cancer Council asked more than 1,500 parents which products they would buy.

They found less than half the parents read the nutrition information on the packaging.

Those who did not check the nutrition panel were more than twice as likely to choose an unhealthy option if it had the endorsement of well-known sporting personalities.

Jane Martin from the Obesity Policy Coalition says the study strengthens the case for a simpler food-labelling system to help parents make better choices.

The Cancer Council supports the introduction of traffic light labels to help parents make better food choices.

http://au.news.yahoo.com/a/-/latest/8836...

Traffic Light Labelling Gets the Green Light
Cancer Council NSW, in collaboration with other public health and consumer organisations, has conducted a survey of 790 consumers to determine the front-of-pack food labelling system that would be most appropriate for adoption into the Australian grocery market.

Front-of-pack food labelling is needed to support information provided in nutrition information panels on the back and sides of food packages, to assist consumers in making healthy food choices. Cancer Council NSW has undertaken this research because of our interest in promoting good nutrition in order to reduce cancer risk.

This study clearly indicates that Traffic Light labelling is the more effective front-of-pack food labelling system, as it allows Australian consumers to quickly and easily make healthier food choices when grocery shopping. On the basis of this consumer research, the Cancer Council NSW recommends this labelling system be introduced on all packaged food products in Australia.

http://www.cancercouncil.com.au/editoria...

Within that last link is a document proposing the new food labelling, it is worth a read.

So, given that more than HALF of all parents don't read food labels, do you think it should be legislated that packaging should be changed to make food labelling more prominent and simplistic so that parents can make better choices? Do you believe such a system would work, and would it REALLY overcome the issues of truth in marketing (such as celebrity endorsement, as suggested in the initial article)?

Other thoughts?

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Johnny - posted on 02/14/2011

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I'm not fully convinced that even the most simple food labeling will make that many change their ways. I think it will be good for a few that want to improve their eating habits but have challenges, either those too busy to spend enough time to study each food label in depth or those without the literacy skills to read those we have now. But I still think that there are a sad number of parents who think it's no big deal or its a "parenting decision" or who want to eat it themselves can't wait until the kids are asleep. Looking after one's health is seen by some as just another way for people to moralize to them, and since celebs are fun, they'd rather just ignore the peril and have a good time. Becoming a parent doesn't automatically create a responsible person.

LaCi - posted on 02/15/2011

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If they don't take the time to turn the box/bag and glance at the nutrition facts (which would take about as much time as glancing at a freakin color chart) then I doubt it would make a difference.



I want better labels, but not this sort of label. I want to know everything gross you're putting in that box/bag. Full disclosure. Not repetitive nutrition facts.

Barb - posted on 02/15/2011

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I am leery of this idea. It starts to make people lazy with their decision making skills. Instead of checking the nutrition label, they would come to trust the stoplight, a decision made for them that could be influenced eventually by profitable parties.

Food companies are multi-billion dollar corporations that could care less about the health of their customers. They only care about the health of their bank accounts. And they will lie, manipulate and do whatever it takes to sell product.

Take for example, high fructose corn syrup. A study came out saying how bad it was for you. So first they try to refute the study, but they couldn't, so then, they change the name from hfcs, to corn sugar, and put out this massive campaign. Now, on the front of everything is "does not contain high fructose corn syrup!!" happily advertised!! but if you read the ingredients list, there is "corn sugar" which is, by definition, high fructose corn syrup!

So that is what i see happening with this stoplight labeling. We become uneducated and lazy on what to look for in proper nutrition, we stop educating our children on what to look for to feed themselves and we just rely on others to tell us what to eat. and others tell us, oooh, corn sugar is just like cane sugar, your body can't tell the difference..

Amanda - posted on 02/15/2011

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Wouldnt it be easier to teach parents that if the food comes with a lable you shouldnt be buying it?? I understand that you sometimes need to buy processed food (im guilty of it) but when your shopping cart is 90% boxed, packaged food, no green light lable is going to help you make healthier choices!

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Jodi - posted on 02/15/2011

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I heard they did - they did in Australia :) Along with the gangrene, gum disease, cancer and stroke.

Barb - posted on 02/15/2011

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I think in Canada, didn't they also put pictures of diseased lungs and hearts on the cigarette packaging?

Jodi - posted on 02/15/2011

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Barb, in Australia, they do put these signs on the packs, and we have all sorts of packaging regulations, and yes, some people still do smoke, but smoking has certainly reduced by a LOT in recent years.

Barb - posted on 02/15/2011

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And is it going to work? 400,000 people, in the U.S. alone die from cigarette smoke. They could put a label on the front in big red letters. "THIS WILL KILL YOU" and people would still buy smokes.

Stifler's - posted on 02/14/2011

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Ahahaha I hate it. coco pops have fiber... rightio love they also have cocoa and sugar and your kids are eating that for breakfast?!

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Yeah, I was talking with a mom friend about how my daughter eats so many animal crackers in our church nursery, and I was a little bothered by it. The response..."Animal crackers aren't junk food." Really?

Johnny - posted on 02/14/2011

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Oh I hear you! If I hear another mom talking about how Fruit Loops are great because they are made with whole grains I'm going to lose it! Not to mention the "health benefits" of goldfish cookies....

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I get aggravated when high sugar kid foods are labeled as, "Made with Real Fruit" or "Now With Fiber." I know people that justify buying these products because of these labels. All it takes is turning the box around to see that these products ALSO include massive amounts of added sugar and artificial ingredients. I strongly feel that the claims on the front of packages, while not necessarily false, are very misleading. Maybe if the front of the package said, "Made with Real Fruit and 28 g high fructose corn syrup" someone might think twice about it. It's a step in the right direction, but not an ultimate solution. We need more education about nutrition in this society.

Nikki - posted on 02/14/2011

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I find it strange that parents don't read the nutritional profiles. They are most likely the same parents that whinge about their child's hyperactive behaviour! Ummm can you say added sugar!

Jodi - posted on 02/14/2011

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Katherine, we have nutrition labels too. The point of this discussion is that more than HALF of all parents DO NOT READ THEM. They are on the side or back of the product, and the suggestion is to change to a traffic light system that will be displayed prominently on the FRONT of the packaging.

Katherine - posted on 02/14/2011

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We do have labels here. Nutritional labels, it says what is in and how much of everything.
Now what it doesn't say is that high fructose corn syrup is really bad for you, or that over 500mg of sodium is crappy for your system.
Things like that would be helpful.

Stifler's - posted on 02/14/2011

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Of course, if they see a thin celebrity eating shit food it has less calories than any other shit food!! Regardless of the label..



I agree with the light system and warnings about "MORE THAN ONE SERVING OF THIS FOOD IS EXCEEDING YOUR RDI OF SODIUM FOR THE DAY" and stuff like that. Or PLEASE EAT RESPONSIBLY.

Nikki - posted on 02/14/2011

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I love the traffic light idea, I think it would work to educate the public. Whether or not they choose to use that information is another thing.

It frustrates me that famous sports people promote foods which contain large amounts of sugars and fats, it kind of feels like a cop out. At the end of the day some of them will do anything for money, regardless of the negative image they are sending. These people are supposed to be role models, but I suppose most people can be bought for the right price.

I always check food labels, I don't buy anything that I haven't checked. I have a strict check list of nutritional requirements for anything my daughter eats. She has a few food intolerances so it's important I am aware of what the nutritional information means.

Tara - posted on 02/14/2011

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I think we have proven time and again in DM that common sense is not that common and because of that fact I think simplified labeling is a great idea. Making it using a pictogram symbol or stop light system etc. is even better, this ensures that people who do not yet read and write English will also be able to choose healthy options, that are often far different from what they would find in their own country.

This study shows that while parents are ultimately the one purchasing the food, it is the children who will suffer from their poor choices and it is the children who will benefit if t is easier for parents to choose one healthy product over another not so healthy option, even if their parents are too stupid or too lazy to read and understand nutritional labels as they are now.

;)

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