A Health Promoting Environment; Accessibility and misdirection of “health” food improved in one fell removal

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The World Health Organization recommends individuals reduce their consumption of added or free sugars significantly, to less than 10% of total energy intake. Within the UK, 20% of adults are obese, which costs the health system £6.4 billion in 2015 (and up to £27 billion with indirect costs). Although the recommendations and burdens are clear, the solutions prove elusive to consumers as prevalence in obesity and weight gain continue to increase each year.

https://www.naturalbalancefoods.co.uk/discover-more/new-to-nakd-trek/

Natural Balance Foods (a British health bar company) educates consumers on recognizing wholefood and processed food based on their ingredients. 

Over time, healthy eating fads come in waves with constantly changing definitions and solutions. With the burgeoning demand for healthy food, masquerading products flood the market and dilute the efforts of the potentially misinformed consumer. However, as health food obtains a foot-hold in the food industry, supermarkets are exerting their power to promote access to healthier products; the supermarket Tesco will remove high sugar foods from checkouts throughout all convenience stores in the UK, matching a policy enacted in their larger stores in 1994 and the general recommendations made in the 2012 UK Responsibility Deal.

Tesco’s product relocation comes closer to drawing clear lines between healthy and unhealthy products, laying false claim to the nutritional label: check out products must meet a series of qualifications based on fruit, vegetable, sugar and calorie content. Thus, Tesco’s checkout space no longer shrouds wolves in un-substantiated nutritional clothing, but instead demands marketing and nutritional responsibility from products if they want the coveted and accessible shelf placement. Furthermore, healthy foods by will cross paths with a larger market, not merely those seeking previously niche items.

Only through promoting increased consumption of honestly healthy foods does the UK and other countries support the everyday choices upon which healthy and sustainable lifestyles are built.

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10 Responses to “A Health Promoting Environment; Accessibility and misdirection of “health” food improved in one fell removal”

  1. eugeniachock Says:

    It is reassuring to know that Tesco, a large business corporation bear social responsibility by taking a first step in promoting healthy eating. With that said, many factors contribute to the obesity epidemic especially in developed countries. It is challenging for certain population to eat healthily given their socioeconomic status, environment and various constraints. Fast foods are popular as it seems easier to get something quick, cheap, and tasty rather than waiting in line at the salad bar. I agree that food businesses should place serious consideration in the nutritional value of their products. Educating the public on healthy eating is also important and should start in schools, doctors’ office and even workplace! I used a work at a hospital where we observed groups of high schoolers frequenting our hospital cafeteria. It then came to light that the hospital cafeteria offered a wider variety of fast food options compared to the high school cafeteria next door. The promotion of healthy eating should not be limited to the doors of Tesco but also extend widely!

  2. kesper2 Says:

    This is a great topic and a very important discussion for the US and world to be having. Awareness is growing but most information out there is not yet actionable. Even as someone who is aware of the current food problem, I honestly don’t know what to eat and what not to eat. Sure, I know to avoid the obviously unhealthy fast foods, trans fats and high sugar foods but we all know that isn’t enough. When is organic food appropriate? What do all of the items on the food labels really need?

    I really appreciate the multiple angles you’re proposing addressing this problem from – education, training, industry/business changes, etc. There isn’t a single one solution for this problem. I’ve been really impressed with the quality of TedTalks on this topic. The one you posted is great for highlighting the education for cooking and knowing what is in your food. You may have seen the Ted Talk I posted on my diabetes blag regarding the importance of building self efficacy- http://www.ted.com/talks/thomas_goetz_it_s_time_to_redesign_medical_data#t-968444. It highlights how instilling fear isn’t enough to create the necessary behavioral change.

    Another Ted Talk from a Hopkins hospital doctor on the obesity epidemic is also very interesting. It talks about some cultural elements of obesity and challenges the cause/effect relationship of obesity. https://www.ted.com/talks/peter_attia_what_if_we_re_wrong_about_diabetes?language=en

  3. craigennes Says:

    One of the sad truths (being an infectious disease scientist) I have learned during my MPH is that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now the number one cause of death and disability in the world.1 Non-communicable diseases encompass cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic lung illnesses.1 What makes this a sad story is that these are completely preventable diseases that could be avoided by reducing the risk factors associated with them that include: misuse/overuse of tobacco and alcohol, physical inactivity and (in the case of this blog) unhealthy eating habits (diets).1

    Obesity has sky rocketed in the last 20 years.2 In particular, the US has more than 68% of adults and 32% of children who are obese.2 Several environmental challenges can be associated with the increase in obesity that include: (1) the fast food industry (2) the accessibility of cheap unhealthy foods, and (3) the poor labeling of nutritional facts in supermarkets.

    In relation to poor labeling of nutritional facts–although poor labeling of nutritional facts contribute to this problem it is ultimately the consumers behavior that will determine the health outcome. An interesting study done by Neuhouser et al. found that when people are aware of the diet-disease relationships they are more likely to use food labels as a tool for better diet choices.3 However, many people will still choose the unhealthy version because of cost. So how do you make things less costly but more healthy for the consumer?

    This is a difficult topic because it needs to address so many different areas from lowering costs to changing labeling to behavioral change in the community and understanding what foods are “healthy” and which aren’t. I agree and support the information in this blog in that the supermarket is a good place to start. I commend Tesco for removing high sugar foods from checkouts throughout all of their convenience stores. However, I believe that all of these factors need to be taken into consideration in order to curb this epidemic or our future generation will be severely impacted.

    Resources that are helpful:

    1. http://www.globalhealth.gov/global-health-topics/non-communicable-diseases/
    2. http://www.choicesmagazine.org/magazine/article.php?article=140
    3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9917731

  4. craigennes Says:

    One of the sad truths (being an infectious disease scientist) I have learned during my MPH is that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now the number one cause of death and disability in the world.1 Non-communicable diseases encompass cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic lung illnesses.1 What makes this a sad story is that these are completely preventable diseases that could be avoided by reducing the risk factors associated with them that include: misuse/overuse of tobacco and alcohol, physical inactivity and (in the case of this blog) unhealthy eating habits (diets).1

    Obesity has sky rocketed in the last 20 years.2 In particular, the US has more than 68% of adults and 32% of children who are obese.2 Several environmental challenges can be associated with the increase in obesity that include: (1) the fast food industry (2) the accessibility of cheap unhealthy foods, and (3) the poor labeling of nutritional facts in supermarkets.

    In relation to poor labeling of nutritional facts–although poor labeling of nutritional facts contribute to this problem it is ultimately the consumers behavior that will determine the health outcome. An interesting study done by Neuhouser et al. found that when people are aware of the diet-disease relationships they are more likely to use food labels as a tool for better diet choices.3 However, many people will still choose the unhealthy version because of cost. So how do you make things less costly but more healthy for the consumer?

    This is a difficult topic because it needs to address so many different areas from lowering costs to changing labeling to behavioral change in the community and understanding what foods are “healthy” and which aren’t. I agree and support the information in this blog in that the supermarket is a good place to start. I commend Tesco for removing high sugar foods from checkouts throughout all of their convenience stores. However, I believe that all of these factors need to be taken into consideration in order to curb this epidemic or our future generation will be severely impacted.

    Resources that are helpful:

    1.http://www.globalhealth.gov/global-health-topics/non-communicable-diseases/
    2.http://www.choicesmagazine.org/magazine/article.php?article=140
    3.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9917731

  5. craigennes Says:

    One of the sad truths (being an infectious disease scientist) I have learned during my MPH is that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now the number one cause of death and disability in the world.1 Non-communicable diseases encompass cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic lung illnesses.1 What makes this a sad story is that these are completely preventable diseases that could be avoided by reducing the risk factors associated with them that include: misuse/overuse of tobacco and alcohol, physical inactivity and (in the case of this blog) unhealthy eating habits (diets).1

    Obesity has sky rocketed in the last 20 years.2 In particular, the US has more than 68% of adults and 32% of children who are obese.2 Several environmental challenges can be associated with the increase in obesity that include: (1) the fast food industry (2) the accessibility of cheap unhealthy foods, and (3) the poor labeling of nutritional facts in supermarkets.

    In relation to poor labeling of nutritional facts–although poor labeling of nutritional facts contribute to this problem it is ultimately the consumers behavior that will determine the health outcome. An interesting study done by Neuhouser et al. found that when people are aware of the diet-disease relationships they are more likely to use food labels as a tool for better diet choices.3 However, many people will still choose the unhealthy version because of cost. So how do you make things less costly but more healthy for the consumer?

    This is a difficult topic because it needs to address so many different areas from lowering costs to changing labeling to behavioral change in the community and understanding what foods are “healthy” and which aren’t. I agree and support the information in this blog in that the supermarket is a good place to start. I commend Tesco for removing high sugar foods from checkouts throughout all of their convenience stores. However, I believe that all of these factors need to be taken into consideration in order to curb this epidemic or our future generation will be severely impacted.

    Resources that are helpful:

    1.http://www.globalhealth.gov/global-health-topics/non-communicable-diseases/
    2.http://www.choicesmagazine.org/magazine/article.php?article=140
    3.http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9917731

  6. craigennes Says:

    One of the sad truths (being an infectious disease scientist) I have learned during my MPH is that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now the number one cause of death and disability in the world.1 Non-communicable diseases encompass cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic lung illnesses.1 What makes this a sad story is that these are completely preventable diseases that could be avoided by reducing the risk factors associated with them that include: misuse/overuse of tobacco and alcohol, physical inactivity and (in the case of this blog) unhealthy eating habits (diets).1

    Obesity has sky rocketed in the last 20 years.2 In particular, the US has more than 68% of adults and 32% of children who are obese.2 Several environmental challenges can be associated with the increase in obesity that include: (1) the fast food industry (2) the accessibility of cheap unhealthy foods, and (3) the poor labeling of nutritional facts in supermarkets.

    In relation to poor labeling of nutritional facts–although poor labeling of nutritional facts contribute to this problem it is ultimately the consumers behavior that will determine the health outcome. An interesting study done by Neuhouser et al. found that when people are aware of the diet-disease relationships they are more likely to use food labels as a tool for better diet choices.3 However, many people will still choose the unhealthy version because of cost. So how do you make things less costly but more healthy for the consumer?

    This is a difficult topic because it needs to address so many different areas from lowering costs to changing labeling to behavioral change in the community and understanding what foods are “healthy” and which aren’t. I agree and support the information in this blog in that the supermarket is a good place to start. I commend Tesco for removing high sugar foods from checkouts throughout all of their convenience stores. However, I believe that all of these factors need to be taken into consideration in order to curb this epidemic or our future generation will be severely impacted.

    Resources that are helpful:

    1. http://www.globalhealth.gov/global-health-topics/non-communicable-diseases/
    2. http://www.choicesmagazine.org/magazine/article.php?article=140
    3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9917731

  7. craigennes Says:

    One of the sad truths (being an infectious disease scientist) I have learned during my MPH is that non-communicable diseases (NCDs) are now the number one cause of death and disability in the world.1 Non-communicable diseases encompass cancers, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and chronic lung illnesses.1 What makes this a sad story is that these are completely preventable diseases that could be avoided by reducing the risk factors associated with them that include: misuse/overuse of tobacco and alcohol, physical inactivity and (in the case of this blog) unhealthy eating habits (diets).1

    Obesity has sky rocketed in the last 20 years.2 In particular, the US has more than 68% of adults and 32% of children who are obese.2 Several environmental challenges can be associated with the increase in obesity that include: (1) the fast food industry (2) the accessibility of cheap unhealthy foods, and (3) the poor labeling of nutritional facts in supermarkets.

    In relation to poor labeling of nutritional facts–although poor labeling of nutritional facts contribute to this problem it is ultimately the consumers behavior that will determine the health outcome. An interesting study done by Neuhouser et al. found that when people are aware of the diet-disease relationships they are more likely to use food labels as a tool for better diet choices.3 However, many people will still choose the unhealthy version because of cost. So how do you make things less costly but more healthy for the consumer?

    This is a difficult topic because it needs to address so many different areas from lowering costs to changing labeling to behavioral change in the community and understanding what foods are “healthy” and which aren’t. I agree and support the information in this blog in that the supermarket is a good place to start. I commend Tesco for removing high sugar foods from checkouts throughout all of their convenience stores. However, I believe that all of these factors need to be taken into consideration in order to curb this epidemic or our future generation will be severely impacted.

  8. craigennes Says:

    Resources that are helpful for the above post:

    1. http://www.globalhealth.gov/global-health-topics/non-communicable-diseases/
    2. http://www.choicesmagazine.org/magazine/article.php?article=140
    3. http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9917731

  9. magbailon Says:

    To add to all said, in hundreds of neighborhoods, particularly in low income and rural areas, nutritious, affordable, and high quality foods are out of reach. Many of these communities lack adequate access to healthy foods, the evidence suggests that the lack of access negatively impacts the health of residents and neighborhoods. Government agencies at the local, state, and federal level should prioritize the issue of inequitable food access in low-income, undeserved areas. Existent programs and policies should be expanded and new programs should be developed to bring more grocery stores and other fresh food retail outlets to “food desert” neighborhoods. A Community with greater access to supermarkets or greater abundance of healthy foods in neighborhood food stores, consumes more fresh produce and other healthful items.

  10. manishs1 Says:

    Thanks for posting this information. I was not aware of Tesco’s stand on sugary foods and I am impressed by their bold move. I would like to see Walmart follow Tesco’s lead. This is a great example of a large corporation making an organizational change to help improve public health. It reminded me of CVS discontinuing the sale of cigarettes in its stores. Too often change is enacted at a corporation to improve profits at the expense of the consumer’s health.

    As the largest grocer in England, Tesco has a lot of power and responsibility because product placement in their stores in the UK can have a direct effect on the overall health of the entire country. I have not been to a Tesco since the changes were made and I wonder exactly what has replaced the sugary foods. In the video I saw trail mix and fruit and these seem like reasonable alternatives, but it was reported that in some stores, chocolate was replaced with potato chips (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/foodanddrink/11765353/Tesco-to-ban-childrens-sugary-drinks-from-its-stores.html). Nevertheless, Tesco has made a very positive change and more supermarkets should follow their lead.

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