CHAPEL HILL, N.C.—A new database designed by researchers at the University of North Carolina will reveal what foods people are buying and eating to improve knowledge of national health trends, as reported by the Associated Press.
This “food map” can sort one product into its thousands of brands and variations, providing data on the exact ingredients and nutrients people consume. The database will also provide insight into how rapidly the market can change.
Until now, information on consumer purchases and how many calories people consume was only available through government data, which often lags behind with the rapidly changing food marketplace.
One product researchers investigated includes 2 % chocolate milk, which the government classifies as one food item. UNC researchers found thousands of 2% chocolate milk brands and averaged them out, revealing that chocolate milk has about 11 calories per cup more than the government thought.
Researchers are gathering massive amounts of nutritional information to create a better picture of what Americans are eating. Using this formula with various other items in the grocery store to uncover information that may help target better nutritional guidelines, push companies to cut down on certain ingredients and even help with disease research. Scientists are gathering caloric data for every packaged food on the shelves and comparing that to food sales in order to see how they work into Americans’ diets. Professor Meghan Slining says the research will show how quickly manufacturers change ingredients in each product and how that changes nutrition.
The project is part of first lady Michelle Obama’s campaign to reduce the obesity rate. Sixteen major food companies have pledged to reduce the number of calories they put on the market. Once consumers become more aware of the calories they’re consuming we’ll probably see a lot more food companies follow suit.
In another example of what passes for fair and balanced reporting, a recent wave of media bluster about vitamins being unnecessary came from a study published February 3 in the Archives of Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine.
The study found that nearly a third of U.S. children ages 2 to 17 take a multivitamin or other vitamin or mineral supplementâ€”but many of these kids may not require supplementation and those most in need are the least likely to take supplements, the researchers reported.
In response to the studyâ€”which triggered hundreds of media hitsâ€”the Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) issued a statement pointing out that the researchers failed to mention that other data from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, the survey used for the study, show that many U.S. children and adolescents fail to consume recommended amounts of vitamins E, C and A, as well as calcium and magnesium. â€œA daily multivitamin could affordably and safely help fill these nutrient gaps,â€ said Douglas MacKay, ND, vice president of scientific and regulatory affairs at CRN. Interestingly, only a handful of media outlets included comment from the association or other health experts defending the intake of multivitamins by children. Most articles and news stories simply reported the study findings without providing an alternate view.
Nutrition Business Journal has finished research for their inaugural Healthy Kids issue. They report that there are plenty of opportunities for innovators and entrepreneurs to enter and make a splash in the U.S. childrenâ€™s nutrition market. Maybe we’ll begin to pay as much attention to our childrens’ nutrition as we seem to do for our pets.
BOULDER, CO., (February 6, 2009) â€“Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) today announced the release of its 2009 Sports Nutrition & Weight Loss Report. The new 300-page research document provides a complete analysis of the $19.6-billion U.S. Sports Nutrition & Weight Loss Industry.
Weight Loss And Leptin Management
When the state of New York wanted to know if they were getting any bang out of the taxpayers bucks, they had Cornell University do a cost benefit study of the New York State Expanded Food and Nutrition Education Program (EFNEP).
The researchers collected data after a pre and post evaluation on 5,730 low income adults who had completed the program of six course sessions. The cost of the program was $892 per graduate.
The bottom line: after costs of the program and the costs of avoiding or delaying health care and the costs associated lost productivity, are measured against extended quality of life years (fewer health issues), the return for every dollar spent on nutritional education returned $9.58.
That’s what we’re talking about when we’re talking about playing the “Is It Healthy?” Game. 5,730 New Yorkers played for six sessions and mastered the behaviors that impacted their quality of life to the estimated tune of $49 million. That’s a dividend for all of us. I’ll take that return any day all day long. How about you?