Jennifer Pomeranz

Jennifer L. Pomeranz
Jennifer Pomeranz

Assistant Professor of Public Health Policy and Management

Professional overview

Professor Jennifer Pomeranz is a public health lawyer who researches policy and legal options to address the food environment, obesity, products that cause public harm, and social injustice that lead to health disparities.

Prior to joining the NYU faculty, Professor Pomeranz was an Assistant Professor at the School of Public Health at Temple University and in the Center for Obesity Research and Education at Temple. She was previously the Director of Legal Initiatives at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale University. She has also authored numerous peer-reviewed and law review journal articles and a book, Food Law for Public Health, published by Oxford University Press in 2016.

Professor Pomeranz leads the Public Health Policy Research Lab and regularly teaches Public Health Law and Food Policy for Public Health.

"Policy is so important because it is the most effective way to influence public health. I got into public health to change the world -- to improve health and address inequities.”

Education

BA, History, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI
JD, Juris Doctorate, Cornell Law School, Ithaca, NY
MPH, Harvard School of Public Health, Boston, MA

Areas of research and study

Diet-related disease
Products that cause harm
Public Health Law
Public Health Policy
Social injustices that create health disparities

Publications

Publications

Federal Paid Sick Leave Is Needed to Support Prevention and Public Health and Address Inequities

Opportunities to address the failure of online food retailers to ensure access to required food labelling information in the USA

Pomeranz, J. L., Cash, S. B., Springer, M., Del Giudice, I. M., & Mozaffarian, D. (n.d.).

Publication year

2022

Journal title

Public Health Nutrition

Volume

25

Issue

5

Page(s)

1375-1383
Abstract
Abstract
Objective: The rapid growth in web-based grocery food purchasing has outpaced federal regulatory attention to the online provision of nutrition and allergen information historically required on food product labels. We sought to characterise the extent and variability that online retailers disclose required and regulated information and identify the legal authorities for the federal government to require online food retailers to disclose such information. Design: We performed a limited scan of ten products across nine national online retailers and conducted legal research using LexisNexis to analyse federal regulatory agencies' authorities. Setting: USA. Participants: N/A. Results: The scan of products revealed that required information (Nutrition Facts Panels, ingredient lists, common food allergens and per cent juice for fruit drinks) was present, conspicuous and legible for an average of only 36·5 % of the products surveyed, ranging from 11·4 % for potential allergens to 54·2 % for ingredients lists. More commonly, voluntary nutrition-related claims were prominently and conspicuously displayed (63·5 % across retailers and products). Our legal examination found that the Food and Drug Administration, Federal Trade Commission and United States Department of Agriculture have existing regulatory authority over labelling, online sales and advertising, and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Programme retailers that can be utilised to address deficiencies in the provision of required information in the online food retail environment. Conclusions: Information regularly provided to consumers in conventional settings is not being uniformly provided online. Congress or the federal agencies can require online food retailers disclose required nutrition and allergen information to support health, nutrition, equity and informed consumer decision-making.

State Paid Sick Leave and Paid Sick-Leave Preemption Laws Across 50 U.S. States, 2009–2020

State Preemption of Consumer Merchandise and Beverage Containers: New Strategy to Preempt Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Policies?

Pomeranz, J. L., & Mozaffarian, D. (n.d.).

Publication year

2022

Journal title

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice

Volume

28

Issue

3

Page(s)

222-232
Abstract
Abstract
State legislators passed laws preempting, or prohibiting, local governments from regulating beverage containers. Although the primary purpose of these laws may be to ban local environmental regulations addressing single-use plastics, it is unknown the extent they also preempt public health policies aimed at reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption. In 2021, using LexisNexis, we assessed state legislation preempting local control over consumer merchandise and containers. We identified 8 laws (and 16 failed bills) with broad language preempting local regulation of the sale, use, or marketing of multiple container types, including beverage containers. Most legislative activity occurred during 2016-2021, with legislative intent to avoid a "patchwork" of local laws, avoid burdening retailers, and have a "refreshing drink." Local policy control was characterized as "personal choice." Broad preemption language may stifle local policy making aimed at reducing sugar-sweetened beverage consumption and preempt public health policies such as restricting portion size, in-store promotion and display, and labeling measures.

The Impact of Toddler Milk Claims on Beliefs and Misperceptions: A Randomized Experiment with Parents of Young Children

Richter, A. P. C., Duffy, E. W., Smith Taillie, L., Harris, J. L., Pomeranz, J. L., & Hall, M. G. (n.d.).

Publication year

2022

Journal title

Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics

Volume

122

Issue

3

Page(s)

533-540.e3
Abstract
Abstract
Background: Toddler milk (ie, a nutrient-fortified milk-based drink marketed for children aged 12 to 36 months) has been marketed increasingly in the United States with structure/function claims on product packaging that are potentially misleading. Objective: This study examined how structure/function claims impact parents’ beliefs and perceptions about a toddler milk product. Design: This was a 3-arm between-subjects randomized experiment. Participants: A diverse sample of 2,190 US parents of children aged 1 to 5 years were chosen to take an online survey. Intervention: Participants were randomly assigned to view a toddler milk package with either an unrelated claim (“new and improved,” ie, control condition), a “brain development” claim (ie, “brain” claim), or an “immunity-related” claim (ie, “immunity” claim). Main outcome measures: Outcomes included perceptions, intentions, and beliefs about the toddler milk product. Statistical analyses performed: Linear regression for continuous outcomes and logistic regression for dichotomous outcomes. Results: Parents who were exposed to the “brain” claim or the “immunity” claim were more likely to incorrectly believe that the toddler milk was as healthy or healthier than cow's milk compared with those who saw the control claim (89% for brain claim, 87% for immunity claim, and 79% for control; P <.001 for both comparisons). Parents exposed to either the brain or immunity claim had higher intentions to give the toddler milk to their child, higher perceived product healthfulness, and stronger beliefs that pediatricians would recommend the product compared with parents exposed to the control (all, P <.001). Conclusions: These findings suggest that structure/function claims on toddler milk packaging may mislead parents and increase the appeal of toddler milk. Our findings support calls for public health policies to regulate marketing on toddler milk packaging.

United States: Protecting Commercial Speech under the First Amendment

Pomeranz, J. L. (n.d.).

Publication year

2022

Journal title

The Journal of law, medicine & ethics : a journal of the American Society of Law, Medicine & Ethics

Volume

50

Issue

2

Page(s)

265-275
Abstract
Abstract
The First Amendment to the US Constitution protects commercial speech from government interference. Commercial speech has been defined by the US Supreme Court as speech that proposes a commercial transaction, such as marketing and labeling. Companies that produce products associated with public health harms, such as alcohol, tobacco, and food, thus have a constitutional right to market these products to consumers. This article will examine the evolution of US law related to the protection of commercial speech, often at the expense of public health. It will then identify outstanding questions related to the commercial speech doctrine and the few remaining avenues available in the United States to regulate commercial speech including the use of government speech and addressing deceptive and misleading commercial speech.

Breastmilk or infant formula? Content analysis of infant feeding advice on breastmilk substitute manufacturer websites

Pomeranz, J. L., Chu, X., Groza, O., Cohodes, M., & Harris, J. L. (n.d.).

Publication year

2021

Journal title

Public Health Nutrition
Abstract
Abstract
Objective: To evaluate messages about infant feeding on breastmilk substitute (BMS) manufacturer websites directed at US caregivers and compare information and portrayals of breast-feeding/breastmilk with that of infant formula (IF) feeding. Design: We conducted a content analysis of US BMS companies' websites. A codebook was created through an iterative process to identify messages and images about breast-feeding/breastmilk and IF feeding, including benefits or issues associated with each, and direct-to-consumer marketing practices that could discourage breast-feeding. Setting: Data were collected in 2019-2020 and analysed in 2020-2021 for US websites of five IF manufacturers. Participants: The websites of Similac, Enfamil and Gerber, which collectively represent approximately 98 % of the US IF market, and two US organic brands, Earth's Best and Happy Baby. Results: Websites contained more messages about breast-feeding/breastmilk than IF but were significantly more likely to mention benefits to baby of IF (44 %) than breast-feeding/breastmilk (<26 %), including significantly more statements that IF provides brain, neural and gastrointestinal benefits; 40 % of breast-feeding/breastmilk content was dedicated to breast-feeding problems (e.g. sore nipples). Twice as many screenshots compared IF brands favourably to breastmilk than as superior to other brands. Certain companies displayed images indicating ease of IF feeding and difficulty of breast-feeding. Conclusions: Substantial messaging on BMS manufacturer websites encouraged IF feeding and discouraged breast-feeding. Health professionals should discourage their patients from visiting these websites and the US government should regulate misleading claims. Companies should refrain from providing breast-feeding advice and align their US marketing with the International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes.

Effect of reducing ultraprocessed food consumption on obesity among US children and adolescents aged 7-18 years: Evidence from a simulation model

Livingston, A. S., Cudhea, F., Wang, L., Steele, E. M., Du, M., Wang, Y. C., Pomeranz, J., Mozaffarian, D., & Zhang, F. F. (n.d.).

Publication year

2021

Journal title

BMJ Nutrition, Prevention and Health

Volume

4

Issue

2

Page(s)

397-404
Abstract
Abstract
Background Children and adolescents in the USA consume large amounts of daily calories from ultraprocessed foods (UPFs). Recent evidence links UPF consumption to increased body fat in youth. We aimed to estimate the potential impact of reducing UPF consumption on childhood obesity rate in the USA. Methods We developed a microsimulation model to project the effect of reducing UPF consumption in children's diet on reducing the prevalence of overweight or obesity among US youth. The model incorporated nationally representative data on body mass index (BMI) percentile and dietary intake of 5804 children and adolescents aged 7-18 years from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey 2011-2016, and the effect of reducing UPF consumption on calorie intake from a recent randomised controlled trial. Uncertainties of model inputs were incorporated using probabilistic sensitivity analysis with 1000 simulations. Results Reducing UPFs in children's diet was estimated to result in a median of -2.09 kg/m 2 (95% uncertainty interval -3.21 to -0.80) reduction in BMI among children and adolescents aged 7-18 years. The median prevalence of overweight (BMI percentile ≥85th) and obesity (BMI percentile ≥95th percentile) was reduced from 37.0% (35.9%, 38.1%) to 20.9% (15.1%, 29.9%) and from 20.1% (19.2%, 21.0%) to 11.0% (7.86%, 15.8%), respectively. Larger BMI and weight reductions were seen among boys than girls, adolescents than children, non-Hispanic black and Hispanic youth than non-Hispanic white youth, and those with lower levels of parental education and family income. Conclusions Reducing UPF consumption in children's diet has the potential to substantially reduce childhood obesity rate among children and adolescents in the USA.

Firearm Extreme Risk Protection Order Laws and Preemption: New Developments and Outstanding Issues, 50 States, 2020

Pomeranz, J. L., & Ochoa, G. (n.d.).

Publication year

2021

Journal title

American journal of preventive medicine

Volume

61

Issue

3

Page(s)

455-460

Governmental actions to address COVID-19 misinformation

Pomeranz, J. L., & Schwid, A. R. (n.d.).

Publication year

2021

Journal title

Journal of Public Health Policy

Volume

42

Issue

2

Page(s)

201-210
Abstract
Abstract
Since COVID-19 emerged, a plethora of misinformation has undermined the public’s ability to identify reliable sources of accurate information. To identify the range of methods governments used to address COVID-19 misinformation, we conducted a content analysis of international media and evaluated government actions in light of international law, which protects freedom of expression and calls on governments to guarantee this fundamental right even during a pandemic or other emergency. We identified five categories of government activities: (1) disseminating and increasing access to accurate information; (2) restricting access to accurate information; (3) disseminating disinformation, false information, and misinformation; (4) addressing commercial fraud; and (5) criminalizing expression. The goal of addressing COVID-19 misinformation is best served by protecting expression, disseminating factual information, ensuring strong protections for whistleblowers, and supporting an independent media environment. Conversely, governments undermine public health when they create a state of uncertainty and violate human rights.

Identifying novel predictors of state legislative action to address obesity

Arons, A., Pomeranz, J., & Hamad, R. (n.d.).

Publication year

2021

Journal title

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice

Volume

27

Issue

1

Page(s)

E9-E18
Abstract
Abstract
Objective: There is wide variation in the number and types of obesity policies enacted across states, and prior studies suggest that partisan factors may not fully explain this variation. In this exploratory analysis, we examined the association of a broad array of state-level factors with the number and types of obesity policies across states. Design: We analyzed 32 predictor variables across 7 categories of state-level characteristics. We abstracted data from 1652 state obesity policies introduced during 2009-2014. We used multilevel regression models and principal component analysis to examine the association between state-level characteristics and policy outcomes. Main Outcome Measures: Our outcome measures included whether bills involved topics that were public health-oriented or business interest-oriented, whether bills were enacted into law, and the number of introduced bills and enacted laws per state. Results: Numerous state-level characteristics were associated with obesity-related bill introduction and law enactment, and different state characteristics were associated with public health-oriented versus business interest-oriented policies. For example, state-level demographics, economic factors, policy environment, public programs, and the prevalence of obesity's downstream consequences were associated with the number of public health laws whereas obesity prevalence and policy environment were associated with the number of business interest laws. Conclusions: Our results support the hypothesis that a variety of factors contribute to a complex state obesity policymaking environment, highlighting the need for future research to disentangle these key predictors.

Misperceptions about added sugar, non-nutritive sweeteners and juice in popular children's drinks: Experimental and cross-sectional study with U.S. parents of young children (1-5 years)

Harris, J. L., & Pomeranz, J. L. (n.d.).

Publication year

2021

Journal title

Pediatric Obesity

Volume

16

Issue

10
Abstract
Abstract
Background: Experts recommend against serving sugary drinks and non-nutritive sweeteners to young children, but misperceptions about drink ingredients may contribute to consumption. Objectives: Assess parents' ability to identify added sugar, non-nutritive sweeteners and juice in children's drinks. Methods: Researchers recruited U.S. parents of young children (1-5 years) through an online survey panel (N = 1603). In a randomized experiment, participants indicated whether eight popular children's drink products contained added sugar or non-nutritive sweeteners and percentage of juice after viewing (a) front-of-package alone or (b) front-of-package plus nutrition/ingredient information. Participants also viewed common statements of identity on children's drinks to identify product ingredients. Results: When viewing front-of-packages alone, most participants accurately identified products with (83%-90%) and without (51%-65%) added sugar. Showing nutrition/ingredient information increased accuracy. However, the majority could not identify drinks with non-nutritive sweeteners (53%-58%), and many incorrectly believed that unsweetened juices contained added sugar (38%-43%), sweetened flavoured waters had no added sugar (24%-25%), and 100% juice contained less than 100% juice (37%). Furthermore, the majority could not identify product ingredients from statement of identity terms. Conclusions: Misperceptions about product ingredients under current labelling practices indicate that updated regulations are necessary, including clear disclosures of sweetener and juice content on package fronts.

State Gun-Control, Gun-Rights, and Preemptive Firearm-Related Laws Across 50 US States for 2009–2018

State Preemption: An Emerging Threat to Local Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Taxation

Crosbie, E., Pomeranz, J. L., Wright, K. E., Hoeper, S., & Schmidt, L. (n.d.).

Publication year

2021

Journal title

American journal of public health

Volume

111

Issue

4

Page(s)

677-686
Abstract
Abstract
We sought to examine the strategies promoting and countering state preemption of local sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) taxes in the United States. Using Crosbie and Schmidt's tobacco preemption framework, we analyzed key tactics used by the SSB industry to achieve state preemption of local taxes identified in news sources, industry Web sites, government reports, and public documents.Starting in 2017, 4 states rejected and 4 passed laws preempting local SSB taxes. The beverage industry attempted to secure state preemption through front groups and trade associations, lobbying key policymakers, inserting preemptive language into other legislation, and issuing legal threats and challenges. The public health community's response is in the early stages of engaging in media advocacy, educating policymakers, mobilizing national collaboration, and expanding legal networks.State preemption of local SSB taxes is in the early stages but will likely scale up as local tax proposals increase. The public health community has a substantial role in proactively working to prevent preemption concurrent with health policy activity and using additional strategies successfully used in tobacco control to stop preemption diffusion.

Trends in Consumption of Ultraprocessed Foods among US Youths Aged 2-19 Years, 1999-2018

Wang, L., Martínez Steele, E., Du, M., Pomeranz, J. L., O’Connor, L. E., Herrick, K. A., Luo, H., Zhang, X., Mozaffarian, D., & Zhang, F. F. (n.d.).

Publication year

2021

Journal title

JAMA - Journal of the American Medical Association

Volume

326

Issue

6

Page(s)

519-530
Abstract
Abstract
Importance: The childhood obesity rate has been steadily rising among US youths during the past 2 decades. Increasing evidence links consumption of ultraprocessed foods to excessive calorie consumption and weight gain, but trends in the consumption of ultraprocessed foods among US youths have not been well characterized. Objective: To characterize trends in the consumption of ultraprocessed foods among US youths. Design, Setting, and Participants: Serial cross-sectional analysis using 24-hour dietary recall data from a nationally representative sample of US youths aged 2-19 years (n = 33795) from 10 cycles of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) from 1999-2000 to 2017-2018. Exposures: Secular time. Main Outcomes and Measures: Percentage of total energy consumed from ultraprocessed foods as defined by NOVA, an established food classification system that categorizes food according to the degree of food processing. Results: Dietary intake from youths were analyzed (weighted mean age, 10.7 years; 49.1% were girls). From 1999 to 2018, the estimated percentage of total energy from consumption of ultraprocessed foods increased from 61.4% to 67.0% (difference, 5.6% [95% CI, 3.5% to 7.7%]; P <.001 for trend), whereas the percentage of total energy from consumption of unprocessed or minimally processed foods decreased from 28.8% to 23.5% (difference, -5.3% [95% CI, -7.5% to -3.2%]; P <.001 for trend). Among the subgroups of ultraprocessed foods, the estimated percentage of energy from consumption of ready-to-heat and -eat mixed dishes increased from 2.2% to 11.2% (difference, 8.9% [95% CI, 7.7% to 10.2%]) and from consumption of sweet snacks and sweets increased from 10.7% to 12.9% (difference, 2.3% [95% CI, 1.0% to 3.6%]), but the estimated percentage of energy decreased for sugar-sweetened beverages from 10.8% to 5.3% (difference, -5.5% [95% CI, -6.5% to -4.5%]) and for processed fats and oils, condiments, and sauces from 7.1% to 4.0% (difference, -3.1% [95% CI, -3.7% to -2.6%]) (all P <.05 for trend). There was a significantly larger increase in the estimated percentage of energy from consumption of ultraprocessed foods among non-Hispanic Black youths (from 62.2% to 72.5%; difference, 10.3% [95% CI, 6.8% to 13.8%]) and Mexican American youths (from 55.8% to 63.5%; difference, 7.6% [95% CI, 4.4% to 10.9%]) than the increase among non-Hispanic White youths (from 63.4% to 68.6%; difference, 5.2% [95% CI, 2.1% to 8.3%]) (P =.04 for trends). Conclusions and Relevance: Based on the NHANES cycles from 1999 to 2018, the estimated proportion of energy intake from consumption of ultraprocessed foods has increased among youths in the US and has consistently comprised the majority of their total energy intake..

Anticipating and defeating preemption across public health

Pomeranz, J. L. (n.d.).

Publication year

2020

Journal title

American journal of public health

Volume

110

Issue

3

Page(s)

268-270

Child Social Media Influencers and Unhealthy Food Product Placement

Alruwaily, A., Mangold, C., Greene, T., Arshonsky, J., Cassidy, O., Pomeranz, J. L., & Bragg, M. (n.d.).

Publication year

2020

Journal title

Pediatrics

Volume

146

Issue

5
Abstract
Abstract
OBJECTIVES: We aimed to determine the frequency with which kid influencers promote branded and unbranded food and drinks during their YouTube videos and assess the nutritional quality of food and drinks shown. METHODS: Researchers used Socialbakers data to identify the 5 most-watched kid influencers (ages 3 to 14 years) on YouTube in 2019. We searched for 50 of their most-watched videos and 50 of their videos that featured food and/or drinks on the thumbnail image of the video. We coded whether kid influencers consumed or played with food or toys, quantified the number of minutes food and/or drinks appeared, and recorded names of branded food and/or drinks. We assessed the nutritional quality of foods using the Nutrient Profile Model and identified the number of drinks with added sugar. RESULTS: A sample of 418 YouTube videos met the search criteria, and 179 of those videos featured food and/or drinks. Food and/or drinks were featured in those videos 291 times. Kid influencers’ YouTube videos were collectively viewed .48 billion times, and videos featuring food and/or drinks were viewed 1 billion times. Most food and/or drinks were unhealthy branded items (n = 263; 90.34%; eg, McDonald’s), followed by unhealthy unbranded items (n = 12; 4.1%; eg, hot dogs), healthy unbranded items (n = 9; 3.1%; eg, fruit), and healthy branded items (n = 7; 2.4%; eg, Yoplait yogurt). CONCLUSIONS: Kid influencers generate millions of impressions for unhealthy food and drink brands through product placement. The Federal Trade Commission should strengthen regulations regarding product placement on YouTube videos featuring young children.

Children's Fruit "Juice" Drinks and FDA Regulations: Opportunities to Increase Transparency and Support Public Health

Pomeranz, J. L., & Harris, J. L. (n.d.).

Publication year

2020

Journal title

American journal of public health

Volume

110

Issue

6

Page(s)

871-880
Abstract
Abstract
Objectives. To compare children's drink products that contain or purport to contain juice and evaluate labels in light of US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) regulations.Methods. In 2019, we analyzed federal law for drinks that contain or purport to contain juice by using LexisNexis and FDA's Web site, identified top-selling children's "juice" drinks in fruit punch flavors, gathered labels in store and online, and extracted data from the principal display and information panels.Results. FDA regulations permit a wide range of names, claims, and fruit vignettes on drinks that contain or purport to contain juice, reflecting the product's flavor and not necessarily its ingredients. We identified 39 brands of children's drinks, including 100% juice (n = 7), diluted juices (n = 11), juice drinks (n = 8), fruit-flavored drinks (n = 8), and flavored waters (n = 5), with nonuniform statements of identity; vitamin C and low-sugar claims; and fruit vignettes representing 19 fruits. Many products contained added sugar and nonnutritive sweeteners but little to no juice.Conclusions. Principal display panels rendered it difficult to differentiate among product types, identify those with added sweeteners, and distinguish healthier products. Revised labeling regulations are warranted to support public health.

Consumer confusion about wholegrain content and healthfulness in product labels: A discrete choice experiment and comprehension assessment

Wilde, P., Pomeranz, J. L., Lizewski, L. J., & Zhang, F. F. (n.d.).

Publication year

2020

Journal title

Public Health Nutrition

Volume

23

Issue

18

Page(s)

3324-3331
Abstract
Abstract
Objective: Using a legal standard for scrutinising the regulation of food label claims, this study assessed whether consumers are misled about wholegrain (WG) content and product healthfulness based on common product labels. Design: First, a discrete choice experiment used pairs of hypothetical products with different amounts of WG, sugar and salt to measure effects on assessment of healthfulness; and second, a WG content comprehension assessment used actual product labels to assess respondent understanding. Setting: Online national panel survey. Participants: For a representative sample of US adults (n 1030), survey responses were collected in 2018 and analysed in 2019. Results: First, 29-47 % of respondents incorrectly identified the healthier product from paired options, and respondents who self-identified as having difficulty in understanding labels were more likely to err. Second, for actual products composed primarily of refined grains, 43-51 % of respondents overstated the WG content, whereas for one product composed primarily of WG, 17 % of respondents understated the WG content. Conclusions: The frequency of consumer misunderstanding of grain product labels was high in both study components. Potential policies to address consumer confusion include requiring disclosure of WG content as a percentage of total grain content or requiring disclosure of the grams of WG v. refined grains per serving.

Consumer confusion about wholegrain content and healthfulness in product labels: Reply

Wilde, P., Pomeranz, J. L., Lizewski, L. J., & Zhang, F. F. (n.d.). In Public Health Nutrition.

Publication year

2020

Volume

23

Issue

18

Page(s)

3334-3335

Geographic and Longitudinal Trends in Media Framing of Obesity in the United States

Chiang, J., Arons, A., Pomeranz, J. L., Siddiqi, A., & Hamad, R. (n.d.).

Publication year

2020

Journal title

Obesity

Volume

28

Issue

7

Page(s)

1351-1357
Abstract
Abstract
Objective: The media’s framing of public health issues is closely linked to public opinion on these issues and support for interventions to address them. This study characterized geographic and temporal variation in the US media’s framing of obesity across states from 2006 to 2015. Methods: Newspaper articles that mentioned the term obesity were drawn from Access World News (NewsBank, Inc., Naples, Florida), a comprehensive online database (N = 364,288). This study employed automated content analysis, a machine learning technique, to categorize articles as (1) attributing obesity to individual-level causes (e.g., lifestyle behaviors), (2) attributing obesity to environmental/systemic causes (e.g., neighborhood walkability), (3) attributing obesity to both individual-level causes and environmental/systemic causes, or (4) articles without any such attribution framework. Results: Nationwide across all years, a higher proportion of articles focused on individual-level attribution of obesity than environmental-level attribution or both. Missouri and Idaho had the highest proportions of articles with an individual framework, and Nevada, Arkansas, and Wisconsin had the highest proportions of articles with an environmental framework. Conclusions: This analysis demonstrates that US media sources heavily focus on an individual framing of obesity, which may be informing public perceptions of obesity. By highlighting differences in obesity media portrayal, this study could inform research to understand why particular states represent outliers and how this may affect obesity policy making.

Infant formula and toddler milk marketing and caregiver's provision to young children

Romo-Palafox, M. J., Pomeranz, J. L., & Harris, J. L. (n.d.).

Publication year

2020

Journal title

Maternal and Child Nutrition

Volume

16

Issue

3
Abstract
Abstract
The World Health Organization International Code of Marketing of Breast-milk Substitutes prohibits claims and other marketing that may confuse caregivers about benefits of formula and other milk-based drinks for infants and toddlers, but such marketing is common in the United States. This study assessed caregivers' provision of milk-based products to their infants and toddlers and potential confusion about product benefits and appropriate use. Online survey of 1,645 U.S. caregivers of infants (6–11 months) and toddlers (12–36 months). Respondents identified infant formula and toddler milk products they served their child (ren) and provided relative agreement with common marketing claims. Logistic regression assessed relationships between agreement and serving these products, controlling for individual characteristics. Over one-half of caregivers of infants (52%) agreed that infant formula can be better for babies' digestion and brain development than breastmilk, and 62% agreed it can provide nutrition not present in breastmilk. Most caregivers of toddlers (60%) agreed that toddler milks provide nutrition toddlers do not get from other foods. Some caregivers of infants (11%) reported serving toddler milk to their child most often. Agreement with marketing claims increased the odds of serving infant formula and/or toddler milks. For caregivers of toddlers, odds were higher for college-educated and lower for non-Hispanic White caregivers. Common marketing messages promoting infant formula and toddler milks may mislead caregivers about benefits and appropriateness of serving to young children. These findings support calls for public health policies and increased regulation of infant formula and toddler milks.

Infant formula and toddler milk marketing: Opportunities to address harmful practices and improve young children's diets

Harris, J. L., & Pomeranz, J. L. (n.d.).

Publication year

2020

Journal title

Nutrition Reviews

Volume

78

Issue

10

Page(s)

866-883
Abstract
Abstract
Children's diets in their first 1000 days influence dietary preferences, eating habits, and long-term health. Yet the diets of most infants and toddlers in the United States do not conform to recommendations for optimal child nutrition. This narrative review examines whether marketing for infant formula and other commercial baby/toddler foods plays a role. The World Health Organization's International Code of Marketing Breast-milk Substitutes strongly encourages countries and manufacturers to prohibit marketing practices that discourage initiation of, and continued, breastfeeding. However, in the United States, widespread infant formula marketing negatively impacts breastfeeding. Research has also identified questionable marketing of toddler milks (formula/milk-based drinks for children aged 12-36mo). The United States has relied exclusively on industry self-regulation, but US federal agencies and state and local governments could regulate problematic marketing of infant formula and toddler milks. Health providers and public health organizations should also provide guidance. However, further research is needed to better understand how marketing influences what and how caregivers feed their young children and inform potential interventions and regulatory solutions.

Legal Feasibility and Implementation of Federal Strategies for a National Retail-Based Fruit and Vegetable Subsidy Program in the United States

Pomeranz, J. L., Huang, Y., Mozaffarian, D., & Micha, R. (n.d.).

Publication year

2020

Journal title

Milbank Quarterly

Volume

98

Issue

3

Page(s)

775-801
Abstract
Abstract
Policy Points Suboptimal intake of fruit and vegetables is associated with increased risk of diet-related diseases. A national retail-based fruit and vegetable subsidy program could broadly benefit the health of the entire population. Existing fruit and vegetable subsidy programs can inform potential implementation mechanisms; Congress's powers to tax, spend, and regulate interstate commerce can be leveraged to create a federal program. Legal and administrative feasibility considerations support a conditional funding program or a federal-state cooperative program combining regulation, licensing, and state or local options for flexible implementation strategies. Strategies to engage key stakeholders would enable the program to utilize lessons learned from existing programs. Context: Suboptimal intake of fruit and vegetables (F&Vs) is associated with increased risk of diet-related diseases. Yet, there are no US government programs to support increased F&V consumption nationally for the whole population, most of whom purchase food at retail establishments. To inform policy discussion and implementation, we identified mechanisms to effectuate a national retail-based F&V subsidy program. Methods: We conducted legal and policy research using LexisNexis, the UConn Rudd Center Legislation Database, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Chronic Disease State Policy Tracking System, the US Department of Agriculture's website, Congress.gov, gray literature, and government reports. First, we identified existing federal, state, local, and nongovernmental organization (NGO) policies and programs that subsidize F&Vs. Second, we evaluated Congress's power to implement a national retail-based F&V subsidy program. Findings: We found five federal programs, three federal bills, four state laws, and 17 state (including the District of Columbia [DC]) bills to appropriate money to supplement federal food assistance programs with F&Vs; 74 programs (six multistate, 22 state [including DC], and 46 local) administered by state and local governments and NGOs that incentivize the purchase of F&Vs for various subpopulations; and two state laws and 11 state bills to provide tax exemptions for F&Vs. To create a national F&V subsidy program, Congress could use its Commerce Clause powers or its powers to tax or spend, through direct regulation, licensing, taxation, tax incentives, and conditional funding. Legal and administrative feasibility considerations support a voluntary conditional funding program or, as a second option, a mandatory federal-state cooperative program combining regulation and licensing. Conclusions: Multiple existing programs provide an important foundation to inform potential implementation mechanisms for a national F&V subsidy program. Results also highlight the value of state and local participation to leverage existing networks and stakeholder knowledge.

Marketing to children in supermarkets: An opportunity for public policy to improve children’s diets

Harris, J. L., Webb, V., Sacco, S. J., & Pomeranz, J. L. (n.d.).

Publication year

2020

Journal title

International journal of environmental research and public health

Volume

17

Issue

4
Abstract
Abstract
Public health experts worldwide are calling for a reduction of the marketing of nutrient-poor food and beverages to children. However, industry self-regulation and most government policies do not address in-store marketing, including shelf placement and retail promotions. This paper reports two U.S.-based studies examining the prevalence and potential impact of in-store marketing for nutrient-poor child-targeted products. Study 1 compares the in-store marketing of children’s breakfast cereals with the marketing of other (family/adult) cereals, including shelf space allocation and placement, special displays and promotions, using a national audit of U.S. supermarkets. Child-targeted cereals received more shelf space, middle-and lower-shelf placements, special displays, and promotions compared with other cereals. Study 2 compares the proportion of product sales associated with in-store displays and promotions for child-targeted versus other fruit drinks/juices, using syndicated sales data. A higher proportion of child-targeted drink sales were associated with displays and promotions than sales of other drinks. In both categories, the results were due primarily to major company products. Although in-store marketing of child-targeted products likely appeals to both children and parents, these practices encourage children’s consumption of nutrient-poor food and drinks. If companies will not voluntarily address in-store marketing to children, government policy options are available to limit the marketing of unhealthy foods in the supermarket.

Contact

jlp284@nyu.edu 708 Broadway 7FL New York, NY, 10003