HWCF Evaluation Highlighted in News Reports of 6.4 Trillion Calorie Reduction

A Robert Wood Johnson Foundation press release highlighting UNCFRP research to evaluate the HWCF pledge to cut calories from the food supply was featured in stories from the New York Times, Los Angeles Times, Associated Press, Reuters, and several other news outlets.

Sixteen of the nation’s leading food and beverage companies sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in the United States in 2012 than they did in 2007, according to the findings of an independent evaluation funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and announced today. The companies, acting together as part of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), pledged to remove 1 trillion calories from the marketplace by 2012, and 1.5 trillion by 2015. The evaluation found that, thus far, the companies have exceeded their 2015 pledge by more than 400 percent.

Read more here: Major Food, Beverage Companies Remove 6.4 Trillion Calories from U.S. Marketplace

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Daily Tar Heel reports on UNC Food Research Program

The student newspaper for the University of North Carolina reported on the our UNC Food Research Program’s effort to find out what America is eating.

Six years ago, 16 food manufacturers pledged to cut one trillion calories from the marketplace by 2012, and a total of 1.5 trillion calories by 2015 — and UNC researchers were enlisted to ensure that they met their goal.

Now, three years into the study, the UNC research team is slated to release the results of its evaluation this fall.

Read more of the story: UNC research tracks shifts in food industry


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UNCFRP featured in AP’s “What do we eat? New food map will tell us”

Associated Press reporter Mary Clare Jalonick outlines our Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation Evaluation in an article titled “What do we eat? New food map will tell us” published May 20, 2013.

Popkin and his researchers are hoping their project will only be the beginning of a map that consumers, companies, researchers and even the government can use, breaking the data down to find out who is eating what and where they shop. Is there a racial divide in the brand of potato chips purchased, for example, and what could that mean for health? Does diet depend on where you buy your food — the grocery store or the convenience store? How has the recession affected dietary intake?

Read more here: http://bigstory.ap.org/article/what-do-we-eat-new-food-map-will-tell-us

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Barry Popkin featured in University Gazette (UNC)

Barry Popkin, PhD is featured in UNC’s most recent University Gazette; in an article titled Unlikely path led economist to a life of global public health, written by Courtney Mitchell.

The first time Barry Popkin visited Chapel Hill, he was an economist and political activist passing through town in the late 1960s, working on desegregation and social change. He didn’t know that within a decade he would be back to stay, building a career as an expert on nutrition trends around the world. 

Read more here



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Upcoming HWCF Evaluation highlighted in Wall Street Journal

In the March 30, 2013 edition of the Wall Street Journal, this article featured a preview of our UNCFRP team’s upcoming “report card” on the HWCF Evaluation.

In 2010, 16 food and drink makers made the joint pledge to shave one trillion calories from the products they sell in U.S. stores and vending machines by 2012, and 1.5 trillion calories by 2015, both compared with 2007 levels. The firms were all members of a newly formed group called the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation—the culmination of several years of talks with each other and with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on how the industry could help shrink American waistlines.

Later this year, two reports are expected to shed light on how the food makers have done at meeting the 2012 goal. The firms’ foundation commissioned Georgetown Economic Services, a part of the Kelley Drye law firm, to evaluate its members’ progress. And the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, a Princeton, N.J.-based body focusing on health issues, has tapped researchers at the University of North Carolina Food Research Program to independently monitor the bottom-line goal and to dive deeper into the data—seeing whether, for instance, the food makers should get credit for a cut in Americans’ consumption, or whether Americans were making healthier eating choices across the board, not just in their purchases from firms involved in the pledge.

Our team is excited about our new framework and system for measuring food and beverage sales and purchases along with consumption, and look forward to impartially evaluating the HWCF pledge.

Read more here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424127887324685104578388773889122996.html

Related blog post: Numbers Guy – WSJ  http://blogs.wsj.com/numbersguy/calorie-cutters-1227/

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Barry Popkin quoted by USA Today in “Critics attack Coke’s anti-obesity ad”

Nanci Hellmich writes, in a USA Today article titled Critics attack Coke’s anti-obesity ad:

A new Coca-Cola ad, which encourages people to come together to fight obesity, is drawing fire from consumer advocates and obesity experts. The two-minute video, appearing Monday night on several national cable networks, talks about the company’s range of beverages and how the industry voluntarily changed its offerings in schools to primarily waters, juices, and low- and no-calorie options…

Critics say the company is doing damage control to combat the widespread belief that sugary beverages contribute to obesity. Currently about two-thirds of adults and a third of children in this country are overweight or obese. A diet high in added sugars is linked to many poor health conditions, including obesity, high blood pressure and other risk factors for heart disease and stroke…

“The Coca-Cola Company still remains one of the major causes of obesity in the USA and globally,” says Barry Popkin, a nutrition professor at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill and one of the nation’s top experts on beverage consumption. “Yes, other foods matter, but the biggest single source contributor to child and adult obesity in the USA is sugar-sweetened beverages.”

Read more here: http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2013/01/14/coca-cola-obesity/1832555/

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Barry Popkin quoted by The Economist in “Food companies: Food for thought”

The Economist’s Special Report: Obesity, discusses the part played by food companies and industry in the fight against flab – highlighting various approaches to creating and marketing “healthier” products, and the challenges from the public and shareholders in doing so. The upcoming HWCF Evaluation baseline report is mentioned, headlining Dr. Barry Popkin, who “will judge which products have been made healthier, by how much, and whether consumers have simply switched from the more nutritious products to less healthy ones”.


Read more here: http://www.economist.com/news/special-report/21568064-food-companies-play-ambivalent-part-fight-against-flab-food-thought

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Upcoming HWCF Progress Report Mentioned by The Economist in “The World is Fat”

In The Economist’s The World in 2013 print edition, health-care correspondent Charlotte Howard discusses the threat obesity poses to both health systems and economies worldwide. She proposes “The Economist Diet” with specific policy advice and touches on the struggle between government intervention and marketplace pledges to decrease calories. Our team’s HWCF evaluation baseline report, due out in early 2013 will provide the framework for evaluating this specific 1.5 trillion calorie reduction pledge.


Read more here: http://www.economist.com/news/21566294-obesity-spreads-developing-world-charlotte-howard-suggests-ways-fight-flab-world

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Popkin in HBO’s “The Weight of the Nation” Documentary Series

Released in HBO Documentary Films and the Institute of Medicine in association with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente present “The Weight of the Nation”.  The centerpiece of THE WEIGHT OF THE NATION campaign is the four-part documentary series, each featuring case studies, interviews with our nation’s leading experts, and individuals and their families struggling with obesity. Dr. Popkin is featured in several parts (Children in Crisis and Challenges) as a leading expert.

Watch the full four-part series online HERE.

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