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ICAT Playdate: Transdisciplinary Collaboration to Visually Map Policies to Restrict the Marketing of Unhealthy Food and Beverage Products to Children in the Americas Region to inform Global Public Health Policy

Ended Feb 8, 2019
1 credit

Spots remaining: 17

Full course description

The globalization of the food supply has fostered the widespread transnational marketing of highly processed food and beverage products to young people worldwide.

The pervasive marketing of unhealthy food and beverage products to children is associated with poor quality diet, overweight and obesity, and diet-related non-communicable diseases, including type 2 diabetes, heart diseases, and certain cancers.   In May 2010, 192 Member States of the World Health Organization endorsed the World Health Assembly Resolution WHA63.14 to restrict all forms of marketing of foods and non-alcoholic beverages to children (birth to 18 years).

The regulatory environment that surrounds the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverage products to children is both complex and dynamic. Consequently, the principal objective was to conduct a pilot study with a transdisciplinary research team to build a responsible policy index (RESPI) for food and beverage marketing to children to rate policies in selected countries in the Americas region and visualize results using an interactive web-based.

We conducted a scoping review   of scientific published evidence and gray literature for voluntary and mandatory policies related to food and beverage marketing to children in 13 countries from the Americas Region. We used a priori definitions from a World Health Organization policy framework and the Integrated Marketing Communication conceptual model to create a Responsible Policy Index (RESPI) for food and beverage marketing to children. The developed RESPI index rates policy quality based in two main components that influence children’s diet-related cognitive, behavioral and health outcomes: marketing techniques (i.e. media channels and marketing techniques) and policy characteristics (i.e. regulatory vs. self-regulatory). Policies can obtain up to 5 points from each component. A score of 10 indicates the highest quality and 0 the lowest quality. A transdisciplinary team (n=7) participated on the coding consensus and formative evaluation processes.

Regulatory policies to restrict unhealthy food and beverage marketing to children in the Americas Region are rising and address a wide variety of elements from the integrated marketing communication model. The combination of the assessed indicators from policies within the RESPI index can provide valuable metrics to enable national governments to benchmark and track progress toward the development, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of country progress to restrict marketing of unhealthy food and beverage products to children. Future testing is needed to determine the feasibility and adaptability of the tool for other countries and regions. The use of simple metrics  and interactive visualizations can help to Inform Global Public Health Policy. Working with a transdisciplinary team helps to integrate and extend beyond discipline, approaches and methods to build innovative approaches to inform research.

Speaker: Vivica Kraak and Sofi Patino