Changes to nutrition assistance programs during COVID-19: Impacts and implications for future policy

A new health policy brief from Health Affairs, titled “COVID-19 Pandemic-Era Nutrition Assistance: Impact And Sustainability,” joins Health Affairs’ ongoing series of policy briefs on the social determinants of health. Its authors, including Global Food Research Program faculty Shu Wen Ng write that COVID-19 became “a stress test” for the ability of the United States to feed those in […]

Nutrition claims on sugary fruit drinks can lead to less healthy choices for children, new study finds

Parents are more likely to choose a fruit drink with added sugar for their young child when the drink’s packaging includes nutrition-related claims, researchers with the Global Food Research Program found in a study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition. This study is among the first to look at how claims influence parents’ […]

Nutrient warnings outperform other labels among Colombian adults: Results from a randomized controlled trial

A study published today in PLOS ONE found that for Colombian adults, nutrient warning labels work better than two other common front-of-package (FOP) label types for discouraging consumption of ultra-processed foods. The experiment Researchers at Universidad Nacional de Colombia, Pontificia Universidad Javeriana, and UNC-Chapel Hill conducted a study involving over 8,000 Colombian adults. In this experiment, each participant […]

Picture this: Pictorial health warnings discourage parents from buying sugary drinks for kids

A study published this week in PLOS Medicine is the first to examine in a realistic store setting whether pictorial health warnings on sugary drinks have an impact on which beverages parents choose to buy for their children. For this randomized trial, parents of children ages 2–12 years were given a shopping task in the UNC Mini Mart — a […]

Using Chile’s warning label criteria to tax foods and drinks: Potential effects on prices, purchases, and revenues

In a new study published in PLOS ONE, Drs. Arantxa Colchero, Guillermo Paraje, and Barry Popkin explore the possible impacts of a Chilean tax levied on products that currently carry warning labels and other regulation under the Law of Food Labeling and Advertising. The country has had a sugary drink tax in place since 2014, […]

Lessons learned from evaluations of sweetened beverage tax policies

To date, over 50 countries and smaller jurisdictions around the world have enacted taxes on sugary drinks to improve population health. These taxes aim to reduce consumers’ sugary drink intake and encourage companies to offer healthier product options. They can also raise revenue to support other health promotion efforts. This policy approach has gained much momentum over […]

Ultra-processed diets and epidemics of obesity and noncommunicable diseases are still avoidable for some countries: Policy options for a different Nutrition Transition

Dr. Barry Popkin and Dr. Shu Wen Ng believe that, with the right policy actions, many low- and middle-income countries can still avoid reaching the high levels of ultra-processed food intake and nutrition-related diseases currently faced by many countries around the world. In a recent article in Obesity Reviews, Popkin and Ng outline why countries should commit now to policies that can […]

Study shows Chilean policy package led to declines in purchased calories, sugar, fat, and sodium

The latest evaluation of Chile’s Law of Food Labeling and Advertising finds that under Phase 1 of the law’s implementation, Chileans purchased significantly fewer calories, sugar, saturated fat, and sodium than would have been expected had the law and its regulations not gone into effect. The study, published in the August issue of The Lancet Planetary Health, combined data on household food shopping […]

Sugary drink taxes based on volume vs. sugar density: Simulations comparing tax designs in Mexico find advantages to both

New research from GFRP graduate Juan Carlos Salgado Hernández, PhD and professor Shu Wen Ng, PhD, examines how different sugary drink tax designs compare to Mexico’s tax in terms of how effectively they might reduce the amount of sugar Mexicans buy from beverages and the volume of sugary drinks they buy at the store, as well as how much tax […]

For a healthier world, target ultra-processed foods

Researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill’s Global Food Research Program (GFRP) have spent years evaluating the role that food plays in health, obesity and disease, as well as the public health policies that can moderate the negative impacts of unhealthy food and beverages on quality of life around the world. In a new paper, published April 15, […]