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Food Addiction? Professor Mercer Gives Some Of The Answers
The concept of ‘food addiction’ has gained a lot of interest, not only by the media, but also within the scientific community.
EUFIC asked Professor Julian Mercer, of the Rowett Research Institute, University of Aberdeen in Scotland, if someone could be addicted to food. He is also a partner in the EU funded project NeuroFAST - that looks into the neurobiological and socio-psychological causes of overeating and substance use disorders.
The majority of US mums (71%) believe the foods they eat affect the quality of their lives.
By reading more labels, researching ingredients and actively engaging in conversations to inform purchasing decisions, mums are making informed decisions about food in order to help their families lead better lives.
Leading food ingredient company, Chr. Hansen’s Natural Colors Division, commissioned the “Thought for Food” survey to learn what US moms look for in food labels and gauge their perceptions of natural ingredients. While moms rely on personal insight gained from Google searches, news segments and social media discussions, most of their purchasing choices are made by reading food labels.
“One significant outcome from the survey found 83% of respondents wish there were more naturally derived food offerings from US food companies. This insight drives product development to help our customers meet consumer needs,” said Mary Bentley, senior vice president color sales and commercial development, Natural Colors Division, Chr. Hansen. “It’s also interesting to note 80% of mums are more likely to purchase a product if it contains naturally derived ingredients, which demonstrates strong purchase intent that will position those products as market leaders.”
“Findings also revealed US mums are very knowledgeable and active in the natural ingredient conversation,” said Bentley. “Our strategy to be Nature’s #1 drove the “Thought for Food” survey. We hope that by sharing our findings, it can serve as a benchmark for future studies as interest in natural ingredients continues to gain momentum as a leading consumer trend.”
In May 2014, a national online study was fielded to collect information on US mums’ food shopping behaviours and perceptions of synthetic and naturally derived colours in food. The study was conducted via a systematic random sample of 1,873 US moms using sample obtained from Qualtrics. Mums were screened to be 18 or older, to have at least one child under the age of 18 in their household and to be the primary grocery shopper or to equally share this responsibility with another individual in their household. An ending sample of 1,140 U.S. moms participated in this research.
Careless Eating Costs Lives Findings Show Immediate Action Needed As Obesity Bigger Than Thought
Nothing less than a cross-sector 5-10 year strategy is required to tackle the obesity crisis, according to a new report by 2020health.
Covering both education and regulation, ‘Careless eating costs lives’ grasps the extent of the obesity explosion and sets out the essential responses to halting progression and reversing the drastic effects of overweight on individual health, employment, social care and the wider economy.
Such is the scale and breadth of the problem, the report recommends that all new policies be reviewed and assessed against an ‘obesity test’, i.e. all government departments need to consider the impact of proposed policy on eating behaviour and public health to ensure it does not compound the obesity crisis.
A cross departmental permanent government task force should be established on obesity that not only acknowledges the scale of the problem, but also the long-term plan required to enable the nation to recover. Encompassing schools, employers, local authorities, government, manufacturers, retailers, restaurants and health professionals, actions in both the realms of education and regulation are set out to generate a holistic, informed and urgent response to the greatest threat to the nation’s health¹ and possibly economic security².
Julia Manning, Chief Executive of 2020health said: “Piecemeal solutions have been tried in the past and shown to be inadequate. According to the WHO we are the fat-man of Europe and this has severe consequences for us as a nation. Unless we have a cross-cutting strategy that everyone from the government down takes seriously, obesity will continue to rise and be devastating for both individuals and the nation.”
“Our research has shown that hand-in-hand with obesity is widespread confusion over what constitutes healthy eating and a rise in malnutrition. We have a culture of excess and but there is no single reason for our obesity problem, and its fallacious to suggest otherwise.”
“This report is not the final word; we need to undertake more research into the efficacy of taxes, the role of the employer, food production, the environment and individual circumstances in combating obesity.”
Recommendations from the report include: • Introduce tax incentives for larger businesses to make wellbeing provision (such as access to occupational health, nutritionist, gym facilities) available to smaller local businesses. • Introduce licensing for fast food outlets to control the location and numbers of outlets in a local community. • Recognising the positive response to the Responsibility Deal Government should require all companies to follow the excellent example of participants. The Responsibility Deal to turn into a legislative framework which is phased in over the next 5-10 years. • Practical cookery skills and clear food education to be a compulsory part of the school curriculum for pupils up to the end of key stage 3 (age 14). • Clear disclosure of calories per items on restaurant and cafe menus which adhere to a defined standard for font size, formatting, contrast and layout of menus. • The ban on advertising of unhealthy foods aimed at children should be extended to day-time TV, from 7am to 9pm. • A review needs to be undertaken of the economic and societal impacts of a hypothecated tax on a range of food and drink contents at levels which are deemed harmful to health. • Increase awareness, coordination and reach of the Government’s ‘Healthy Start’ Voucher scheme. Extend voucher scheme to incentivise those who become active partners in their health by quitting smoking, reducing weight, walking a set number of steps etc. • Establish a cross departmental permanent government task force on obesity. This supports similar recommendations made by other health organisations. • All new policies to be reviewed and assessed against an ‘obesity test’. • Improved screening and normalisation of discussion about diet and weight at medical appointments.