More evidence that pandemic-era Healthy Helping program improved diet quality for North Carolinians with food insecurity

A new study published today in the November issue of Health Affairs underscores the positive impact of the Healthy Helping produce prescription program that provided North Carolinians facing food insecurity with $40 a month to spend on fruits and vegetables during the COVID-19 pandemic. Researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and […]

Popkin delivers keynote addresses to the German Obesity Society, NICHD Global Health Conference

On Thursday, Oct. 6, Barry Popkin, PhD, W. R. Kenan Jr. Distinguished Professor of nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, delivered a keynote address at the 38th Annual Meeting of the German Obesity Society. In his talk entitled Large-scale regulatory and fiscal policies for tackling obesity and creating healthier diets,he spoke […]

Popkin urges FDA to adopt front-of-package warning labels

On Thursday, Sept. 29, Dr. Barry Popkin testified at a special U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) public meeting in support of policies to improve the American diet and diet-related diseases. He joined six other consumer, research, government, and industry representatives who were invited to comment before an Independent Expert Panel as part of an […]

Nutrient warning labels work in South Africa: Results from a randomized controlled trial

A new study from South Africa comparing three different front-of-package (FOP) labeling schemes found that a nutrient warning label helped more participants correctly identify unhealthy products and more strongly reduced their intention to purchase those products, compared to a “multiple traffic light” label and a Guideline Daily Amounts label. These findings, published in Appetite, come […]

Healthy Helping program made fruits and vegetables affordable for North Carolinians during the COVID-19 pandemic 

Low-income North Carolinians who received a monthly fruit and vegetable benefit during the COVID-19 pandemic enjoyed the flexibility to choose more and a greater variety of nutritious foods during a time of profound food insecurity, according to a new study in the Journal of Hunger & Environmental Nutrition. Researchers from UNC-Chapel Hill interviewed participants in […]

GFRP submission to the 2022 WHO Consultation on policy guidelines to protect children from the harmful impact of food marketing

The Global Food Research Program recently contributed comments to the World Health Organization (WHO) draft guideline on policies to protect children from the harmful impact of food marketing. Children worldwide are exposed every day to food marketing where they live, learn, and play — on TV, in and around their schools, at sporting events, in […]

Increased WIC cash vouchers for fruits & vegetables have helped families eat healthier during COVID-19

Many U.S. families faced new or additional challenges to finding and paying for food during the COVID-19 pandemic. Among these are over 6 million women and young children who participate in the federal Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC), which provides nutrition education, supplemental foods, breastfeeding promotion and support, and referrals […]

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 […]

Policies to curb unhealthy beverages abound. How do policymakers choose?

Research has long shown that sugary beverages – sodas, juices, sports drinks, sweetened coffees and more – are closely associated with adverse health outcomes such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity, and their consumption and popularity increased dramatically during the last half of the 20th century. Multiple countries have enacted policies to help reduce the […]

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, […]

Unhealthy food advertising disproportionately targets children in Colombia

Children in Colombia are exposed to a disproportionate amount of television advertisements that market unhealthy foods and beverages, a practice which puts them at greater risk for obesity-related health issues as adults. Researchers affiliated with the Global Food Research Program at UNC-Chapel Hill published the results of their new study, “Extent and nutritional quality of […]