The Use of Brand Mascots and Media Characters: Opportunities for Responsible Food Marketing to Children

This issue brief examines the evidence on how food, beverage, restaurant, and entertainment companies have used brand mascots and cartoon media characters to influence children’s diet and health. Brand mascots and media characters represent a broad range of human or fictional kid-friendly animals or animated objects used by companies to market their products. Many of More

Evaluating Healthy Fast-Food Kids’ Meal Defaults

This project will determine whether restaurants have implemented healthier kids’ meal default policies and whether healthy defaults successfully reduce calories and improve the overall nutritional quality of fast-food meals consumed by children. The team will conduct two studies to update research conducted in 2010 and 2013 and measure change over time. In the first study, More

Association Between Student Purchases of Beverages During the School Commute and In-School Consumption of Sugar-Sweetened Beverages, San Francisco Bay Area, 2013

The objective of this study was to describe where students from lower-income, ethnically diverse communities obtain the sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) they drink during school lunchtime and to examine whether students who purchase beverages while traveling to and from school are more likely to drink SSBs during lunchtime. This cross-sectional study used survey data from 597 More

Unsavory Choices: The High Sodium Density of U.S. Chain Restaurant Foods

Drawing from a larger study on restaurant nutrition, this cross-sectional study reports on the sodium density of 30,073 menu items from 237 unique U.S. chain restaurant brands in 2010. Sodium density, defined as mg sodium per 1000 kcal, was evaluated with descriptive statistics and stratified by restaurant characteristics (service model and cuisine), menu type (regular More

Children’s Recall of Fast Food Television Advertising—Testing the Adequacy of Food Marketing Regulation

There is increasing concern that food advertising shapes the way children eat and contributes to childhood obesity. The fast food companies McDonald’s and Burger King participate in industry self-regulation, pledging to not engage in deceptive marketing and to market foods and beverages that meet certain nutritional criteria in children’s advertising. This study gauged the net More

Influence of Food Companies’ Brand Mascots and Entertainment Companies’ Cartoon Media Characters on Children’s Diet and Health: A Systematic Review and Research Needs

This paper examines the influence of cartoon brand mascots and media characters on diet-related cognitive, behavioral, and health outcomes for children ages 2 to 11 through a review of 11 experimental studies published between 2004 and 2014. Researchers categorized results into outcomes such as character or brand recognition, taste or snack preference, food choice, and More

Fast-Food Fights: News Coverage of Local Efforts to Improve Food Environments Through Land-Use Regulations, 2000-2013

Over the past decade, communities have turned to zoning and land-use policies to restrict fast-food restaurants, and have done so for different reasons and with varied success. Investigators analyzed news coverage, legislative histories, and demographic data to understand what types of policies have been proposed, which communities have proposed them, and why. They identified 77 More

Changes in Awareness and Use of Calorie Information After Mandatory Menu Labeling in Restaurants in King County, Washington

In 2009, King County, Wash., implemented a menu-labeling regulation that requires chain restaurants to provide calorie, saturated fat, carbohydrate, and sodium information. This study examines population-level changes in menu-labeling awareness (i.e., seeing calorie information) and use (i.e., using calorie information) before and after policy implementation in King County. Researchers analyzed 2008 through 2010 Behavioral Risk More

Infographic: Responsible Food Marketing to Children

The marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to children and youth contributes to poor diet quality, high calorie intake, and excess weight gain. This infographic portrays the reach and impact of marketing unhealthy foods and beverages to children and the need for more responsible food marketing to children. Comprehensive guidelines for responsible food marketing to More