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Toddler milk (i.e. a nutrient-fortified milk-based drink marketed for children 12–36 months old) is increasingly being marketed in the USA despite not being recommended for young children. There is evidence of targeted toddler milk marketing to Latinos in the USA. This study aimed to explore toddler milk perceptions and behaviours among Latino and non-Latino parents.
An online survey assessed toddler milk perceptions, behaviours and interpretations of nutrition-related claims. Multivariable logistic and linear regression explored socio-demographic correlates of parent reported past purchases and perceived healthfulness.
National convenience sample of 1078 US parents of children aged 2–12 years (48 % Latino).
About half of parents (51 %) had previously purchased toddler milk and few (11 %) perceived toddler milk as unhealthy. Latino parents were more likely to have purchased toddler milk than non-Latino parents (P < 0·001), but there were no differences in perceived product healthfulness (P = 0·47). Compared to parents born in the USA, parents living in the USA 10 years or less were more likely to have purchased toddler milk (P < 0·001) and perceive toddler milk as healthier (P = 0·002). Open-ended interpretations of claims were primarily positive, suggesting ‘health halo’ effects.
Common misperceptions about toddler milk healthfulness suggest stronger labelling regulations are needed. Greater reported purchases by Latino parents and recent immigrants warrant further investigation.
Sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption in early childhood is a public health concern. Adequate hydration in early childhood is also important. We developed a national research agenda to improve beverage consumption patterns among 0–5-year-olds. This article focuses on the process used to develop this research agenda.
A mixed methods, multi-step process was used to develop the research agenda, including: (i) a scientific advisory committee; (ii) systematic reviews on strategies to reduce SSB consumption and increase water access and consumption; (iii) two stakeholder surveys to first identify and then rank strategies to reduce SSB consumption and increase water access and consumption; (iv) key informant interviews to better understand determinants of beverage consumption and strategies to improve beverage consumption patterns among high-risk groups; (v) an in-person convening with experts; and (vi) developing the final research agenda.
This process included research and stakeholders from across the United States.
A total of 276 participants completed survey 1 and 182 participants completed survey 2. Key informant interviews were conducted with 12 stakeholders. Thirty experts attended the convening, representing academia, government, and non-profit sectors.
Thirteen key issue areas and 59 research questions were developed. Priority topics were beverage consumption recommendations, fruit-flavoured drink consumption, interventions tailored to high-risk groups, and family engagement in childcare.
This research agenda lays the groundwork for research efforts to improve beverage patterns of young children. The methods used can be a template to develop research agendas for other public health issues.
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