| Oct. 1st, 2014

Academics Link Outdoor Food Ads with Obesity

This article was originally published on Casual Munch, a sister publication of the Exception.

Researchers from UCLA are arguing for new regulations around food advertising.

That’s because they claim to have found a connection between outdoor food ads and obesity after examining low-income areas of Los Angeles and New Orleans.

“For instance, in a typical census tract with about 5,000 people, if 30 percent of the outdoor ads were devoted to food, we would expect to find an additional 100 to 150 people who are obese, compared with a census tract without any food ads,” the study’s author Dr. Lenard Lesser said.

Although the authors of the study, which was published in the peer-reviewed journal BMC Public Health, concede that outdoor ads don’t necessarily cause obesity, and that more studies are needed to confirm the connection, they are already suggesting new laws that will affect the food industry.

“Policy approaches may be important to reduce the amount of food advertising in urban areas,” the researchers wrote. “Innovative strategies, such as warning labels, counter-advertising, or a tax on obesogenic advertising should be tested as possible public health interventions for reducing the prevalence of obesity.”

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