According to two UNCFRP team studies published today (September 17, 2014) in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, the sixteen food and beverage companies making up the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation sold 6.4 trillion fewer calories in the United States in 2012 than they did in 2007.
The companies participating in the pledge sold 60.4 trillion calories in 2007, the baseline year. In 2012, they sold 54 trillion calories. This 6.4 trillion calorie decline translates into a reduction of 78 calories per person in the United States per day. The first paper shows that the largest calorie cuts came from sweets and snacks; cereals, granolas and other grain products; fats, oils and dressings; and carbonated soft drinks.
The second paper evaluated the impact of HWCF’s pledge to sell fewer calories on the number of calories purchased by families with children (ages 2-18). Consistent with the first study, there was a significant per capita decline in CPG caloric purchases between 2000 and 2012 among households with children from all brand categories (HWCF, non-HWCF, and private label). After adjusting for sociodemographic and economic factors, calories purchased from HWCF products had the steepest decline in both the pre- and post-pledge periods, but the post-pledge declines from HWCF products were less than what would have been expected given the pre-pledge trends.
A critical test of any industry-wide changes is ultimately the effect on the dietary intake of U.S. children. Our UNCFRP team is currently linking the CPG foods and beverages available from 2007 with the U.S. Department of Agriculture data used in NHANES from 2007–2008 through 2011–2012. Among other important research questions, this will allow us to assess the associations between the HWCF efforts and measured changes in U.S. diets, particularly those of children in lower income and racial/ethnic populations at greatest risk for childhood obesity.
Read the studies (all by authors Shu Wen Ng, PhD, Meghan M. Slining, PhD, Barry M. Popkin, PhD) here:
- The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation pledge: calories sold from U.S. consumer packaged goods, 2007–2012. (Am J Prev Med 2014;47(4):508–19.)
- The Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation pledge: calories purchased by U.S. households with children, 2000–2012. (Am J Prev Med 2014;47(4):520–30.)