New food marketing regulations in Chile have reduced the use of child-targeted packaging on unhealthy food products, suggests a new study co-led by a University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill researcher.
As part of a comprehensive effort to reduce obesity, Chile now restricts child-directed marketing for products that exceed certain thresholds for added values of sugars, saturated fats, sodium and/or calories. Child-targeted strategies are still allowed for products that do not exceed these thresholds.
In a study published recently in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, Dr. Lindsey Smith Taillie — assistant professor of nutrition at the University of North Carolina Gillings School of Global Public Health — and collaborators from UNC’s Hussman School of Journalism and Media used pictures of cereal packages taken from top supermarket chains in Santiago and examined the differences in packaging before and after Chile implemented stringent food marketing regulations in 2016.
Working with Dr. Francesca R. Dillman Carpentier, W. Horace Carter Distinguished Professor of journalism and media, and Ms. Fernanda Mediano Stoltze, a doctoral student of journalism and media and a research assistant with the Gillings School’s Global Food Research Program, Dr. Taillie found that before Chile implemented the Chilean Food Advertising and Labeling Law in 2016, 43 percent of cereals that exceeded nutrition thresholds used child-directed strategies on their packaging. After the food regulations took hold, that percentage fell to 15 percent.
Additionally, the researchers found that 30 percent of the cereals that did not exceed nutrition thresholds used child-directed strategies after the food regulations were implemented, compared to 8 percent beforehand.Friday Letter Submission, Publish on December 20