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1.  Promotion of Healthy Eating Through Public Policy 
Background
To induce consumers to purchase healthier foods and beverages, some policymakers have suggested special taxes or labels on unhealthy products. The potential of such policies is unknown.
Purpose
In a controlled field experiment, researchers tested whether consumers were more likely to purchase healthy products under such policies.
Methods
From October to December 2011, researchers opened a store at a large hospital that sold a variety of healthier and less-healthy foods and beverages. Purchases (N=3680) were analyzed under five conditions: a baseline with no special labeling or taxation, a 30% tax, highlighting the phrase “less healthy” on the price tag, and combinations of taxation and labeling. Purchases were analyzed in January–July 2012, at the single-item and transaction levels.
Results
There was no significant difference between the various taxation conditions. Consumers were 11 percentage points more likely to purchase a healthier item under a 30% tax (95% CI=7%, 16%, <0.001) and 6 percentage points more likely under labeling (95% CI=0%, 12%, p=0.04). By product type, consumers switched away from the purchase of less-healthy food under taxation (9 percentage points decrease, p<0.001) and into healthier beverages (6 percentage point increase, p=0.001); there were no effects for labeling. Conditions were associated with the purchase of 11–14 fewer calories (9%–11% in relative terms) and 2 fewer grams of sugar. Results remained significant controlling for all items purchased in a single transaction.
Conclusions
Taxation may induce consumers to purchase healthier foods and beverages. However, it is unclear whether the 15%–20% tax rates proposed in public policy discussions would be more effective than labeling products as less healthy.
doi:10.1016/j.amepre.2013.02.023
PMCID: PMC3696184  PMID: 23790988
2.  Consumer purchasing patterns in response to calorie labeling legislation in New York City 
Background
Obesity is a major public health threat and policies aimed at curbing this epidemic are emerging. National calorie labeling legislation is forthcoming and requires rigorous evaluation to examine its impact on consumers. The purpose of this study was to examine whether point-of-purchase calorie labels in New York City (NYC) chain restaurants affected food purchasing patterns in a sample of lower income adults in NYC and Newark, NJ.
Methods
This study utilized a difference-in-difference design to survey 1,170 adult patrons of four popular chain restaurants in NYC and Newark, NJ (which did not introduce labeling) before and after calorie labeling was implemented in NYC. Receipt data were collected and analyzed to examine food and beverage purchases and frequency of fast food consumption. Descriptive statistics were generated, and linear and logistic regression, difference-in-difference analysis, and predicted probabilities were used to analyze the data.
Results
A difference-in-difference analysis revealed no significant favorable differences and some unfavorable differences in food purchasing patterns and frequency of fast food consumption between adult patrons of fast food restaurants in NYC and Newark, NJ. Adults in NYC who reported noticing and using the calorie labels consumed fast food less frequently compared to adults who did not notice the labels (4.9 vs. 6.6 meals per week, p <0.05).
Conclusion
While no favorable differences in purchasing as a result of labeling were noted, self-reported use of calorie labels was associated with some favorable behavioral patterns in a subset of adults in NYC. However, overall impact of the legislation may be limited. More research is needed to understand the most effective way to deliver calorie information to consumers.
doi:10.1186/1479-5868-8-51
PMCID: PMC3123618  PMID: 21619632
3.  Vitamin E intake and Risk of Esophageal and Gastric Cancers in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study 
We investigated the association of dietary α-tocopherol, γ-tocopherol, and supplemental vitamin E intake with the risk of esophageal squamous cell carcinoma (ESCC; n = 158), esophageal adenocarcinoma (EAC; n = 382), gastric cardia adenocarcinoma (GCA; n = 320), and gastric noncardia adenocarcinoma (GNCA; n = 327) in the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, a cohort of approximately 500,000 people. Data on dietary and supplemental vitamin E intake were collected using a validated questionnaire at baseline and were analyzed using Cox regression models. Intakes were analyzed as continuous variables and as quartiles.
For dietary α-tocopherol, we found some evidence of association with decreased ESCC and increased EAC risk in the continuous analyses, with adjusted hazard ratios (HR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI) of 0.90 (0.81 – 0.99) and 1.05 (1.00 – 1.11), respectively, per 1.17 mg (half the interquartile range) increased intake. However, in quartile analyses, the p-value for trend was non-significant for both of these cancers. There was no association between dietary α-tocopherol and GCA or GNCA. We observed no statistically significant associations with γ-tocopherol. For supplemental vitamin E, the results were mainly null, except for a significantly lower risk of GNCA with higher doses of supplemental vitamin E. An increase of 71 mg/day (half the interquartile range) in supplemental vitamin E had an HR (95% CI) of 0.92 (0.85–1.00) and the p-value for trend in the quartile analyses was 0.015.
doi:10.1002/ijc.24342
PMCID: PMC2686122  PMID: 19326432

Results 1-3 (3)