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 […]

South African beverage tax has reduced purchases of sugar-sweetened beverages

A new study shows that South Africa’s 2018 tax on sugary beverages led to a reduction in purchases of the beverages, which could mean purchasers are consuming less excess sugar and calories. Shu Wen Ng, PhD, Associate Professor and Distinguished Scholar in Public Health Nutrition at the UNC Gillings School of Global Public Health, is […]

Study shows Latino families more likely to have purchased toddler milk

Though multiple national health organizations recommend against giving toddler milk – a nutrient-fortified drink for children ages 12 months to 3 years that often contains added sugars – to young children, a new study suggests Latino families may be at particularly high risk for purchasing the product. The study from authors at UNC-Chapel Hill’s Gillings […]

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 […]

As neighboring countries see a shift in nutrition, Colombia’s food supply hasn’t changed

New research shows that sustained debate around improving nutrition isn’t enough to change a country’s food supply, nor are the nutrition policies of its peers. In a study of Colombia’s packaged foods and beverages, researchers in the Global Food Research Program at UNC-Chapel Hill found that, though the country is exploring similar food policies to […]

What’s in our food? A guide to introducing effective front-of-package nutrient labels

In collaboration with Vital Strategies, a leading global public health organization, the Global Food Research Program at UNC has published ‘What’s in Our Food? A guide to introducing effective front-of-package nutrient labels.’ The new guide assists countries in taking up this cost-effective, high impact strategy to combat obesity. On Sept. 17, Barry Popkin, PhD, participated […]

As Americans consume less sugar, consumption of sugar substitutes is on the rise

Though American households are purchasing fewer food and beverage products that are sweetened with sugar, they’re purchasing more products that include non-nutritive sweeteners (NNS) like aspartame, saccharin, rebaudioside A (reb-A) and sucralose. A new study from researchers at UNC-Chapel Hill published today (July 29, 2020) in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics […]

In response to nutrition warning labels, manufacturers reformulate unhealthy foods

Mandatory nutrition warning labels on packaged junk foods may lead manufactures to reformulate their products with less sodium and sugar, exposing consumers to fewer harmful nutrients in their diets. In new research published in PLOS Medicine, researchers from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Chile found there were important […]

In Chile, television ads for unhealthy foods has dropped dramatically since 2016 regulations

Chile’s 2016 Food Labeling and Advertising Law has led to a significant decrease in the amount of child-directed television advertisements for foods and beverages high in calories, saturated fats, sugars, or sodium on channels with the largest Chilean youth audiences, suggesting that children in Chile are now less exposed to unhealthy food advertising. These findings […]

Adults in Mexico are consuming fewer soft drinks three years into its sugary-beverage tax

Three years after Mexico implemented a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, the country’s adults are drinking fewer soft drinks, according to new findings from an international team of researchers. The team examined the self-reported soft-drink intake of participants in the three phases of Mexico’s Health Workers Cohort Study – a self-administered survey on health and lifestyle […]

UNC researchers project positive gains for children a year after Mexico’s sugary beverage tax

New research finds that Mexico’s 10-percent tax on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB), implemented in 2014, could result in meaningful weight control for the country’s children and adolescents, particularly in those who had been high consumers of the beverages before the tax. Barry Popkin, PhD, is a co-author on “Body weight impact of the sugar-sweetened beverages tax […]

The problem with COVID-related vitamin C claims

Can high doses of vitamin C treat or prevent COVID-19? It’s a question posed frequently on social media and in the news, especially as a new clinical trial is underway in Wuhan, China to investigate vitamin C infusion for the treatment of severe 2019-nCoV infected pneumonia. The Global Food Research Project’s Lindsey Smith Taillie, PhD, […]

Sugary Drink purchases plunge following Chile’s new Food Law

A study by our GFRP team & our Chilean collaborators, published 11 Feb 2020 in PLOS Medicine, finds that Chile’s Law of Food Labeling and Advertising, implemented in 2016, was followed by a significant 23.7% decline in purchases of sugary drinks. This research, following changes in purchases of over 2000 households in Chile, is the […]

The double burden of malnutrition in The Lancet

A new approach is needed to help low- and middle-income countries reduce obesity and undernutrition at the same time as the issues become increasingly connected, according to the first paper in a four-paper report published in The Lancet. “We are facing a new nutrition reality where major food system changes have led the poorest countries […]

Ng quoted in USA Today article on proposed sugary drink tax in CT

Shuwen Ng is quoted in a USA Today article about the proposed statewide sugary drink tax in Connecticut, and the article presents an infographic sourced from our maps of sugary drink taxes throughout the world. Connecticut may become the first state in the country to tax sugar-sweetened beverages if Gov. Ned Lamont has his way. […]

Studies showing how food companies work to affect government policies

Barry Popkin is quoted in a New York Times article discussing two recently published studies that show how multinational food companies can affect nutrition and health policies that come from various governments. China’s fitness-is-best message, as it happens, has largely been the handiwork of Coca-Cola and other Western food and beverage giants, according to a […]

Peru enacts Front of Package Warning labels for “junk” foods

The Peruvian government has issued a final Advertising Warnings Manual to require warning labels on packages of and adverts for foods that contain high levels of sugar, saturated fat, and sodium, as well as those containing trans-fat. A letter of congratulations to the Peruvian Government from various top scientists, researchers, and professionals in the areas […]

CPC Fellows Popkin, Ng and Taillie receive funding from Bloomberg Philanthropies to evaluate the implications of policies on food purchasing patterns, diets, and health

The GFRP team has been awarded funding to study food purchasing patterns, diets, and health and how government policies about these can impact human health. The funding is provided by Bloomberg Philanthropies. Work is underway in Mexico and Chile in evaluating major food and nutrition policies, and the team is working with a number of […]

Healthier WIC food package leads to change in food-buying habits

A new study, led by Shu Wen Ng, published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, found that changes in the food choices and nutritional content of WIC packages has produced improvements in overall food purchase habits among program participants. The USDA made changes to the WIC (Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children) […]