Headline News, Dollars & Pounds, Danger Zone, & Buzz Worthy

Headline News, Dollars & Pounds, Danger Zone, & Buzz Worthy

Headline News, Dollars & Pounds, Danger Zone, & Buzz Worthy 2560 1706 AEPC Health

Tony the Tiger: Obesity’s Silent Instigator?

Obesity has become a global issue, affecting over a billion children, adolescents, and adults. In the past 30 years, obesity rates in adults have more than doubled, while rates among children and teens aged 5-19 have more than quadrupled. While treatments like GLP-1 medications, bariatric surgery, and lifestyle changes are available, preventing obesity remains a pressing challenge.

Saying Goodbye to Beloved Mascots
In 2016, Chile decided to take a bold step to combat obesity. The country mandated that food and beverage products high in sugar, calories, salt, or saturated fat must display black stop-sign labels on the front of their packaging.

Chile’s regulations also put strict limits on marketing unhealthy foods to children. This included banning the use of cartoon characters on food packaging. As a result, beloved mascots like Tony the Tiger were removed from boxes of Sugar Frosted Flakes. In 2018, The New York Times even reported that Chile had “killed” Tony the Tiger and other similar mascots.

As a lifelong fan of Frosted Flakes and Tony the Tiger, I was saddened to think of the cereal box without him. However, it was comforting to know that his removal serves a greater purpose.

Losses & Gains
Researchers from the University of Texas at Austin studied the impact of Chile’s regulations on childhood overweight and obesity rates. They found that one year after the reforms, overweight and obesity rates fell by one to three percentage points among students in Pre-K, kindergarten, and first grade. Unfortunately, these rates rebounded to pre-reform levels the next year and remained unchanged in 2019.

The results for teenagers were more disappointing. Among ninth graders, overweight and obesity prevalence rose by over two percent in the three years following the reforms.

Searching for the Holy Grail
Chile’s regulations have served as a model for other countries, including Argentina, Israel, Mexico, Peru, and Uruguay. Future research will evaluate the effects of these laws on obesity rates in the targeted demographic groups.

Continued research into these and other obesity prevention strategies is essential, even with the success of GLP-1 drugs and other weight-loss treatments. When effective prevention strategies are identified, Tony the Tiger will undoubtedly proclaim, They’re Grrreat !

Happy reading,

Suzanne Daniels

  • Headline News: national healthcare spending increases, Gen X and cancer incidence and RSV approval expanded to ages 50-59.
  • Dollars & Pounds: GLP-1s may help obese patients qualify for bariatric surgery, more employers cover weight-loss drugs, MI Medicaid covers weight-loss meds.
  • Danger Zone: guns suicides, legalizing raw milk sales and young adults who started vaping as teens struggle to quit.
  • Buzz Worthy: including my personal favorite, MSU researchers discover honeybees can detect lung cancer!

Enjoy the weekend!

Suzanne Daniels, Ph.D.
AEPC President
P.O. Box 1416
Birmingham, MI 48012
Office: (248) 792-2187
Email: [email protected]

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