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To evaluate the implementation of the Uruguayan healthy snacking initiative in primary and secondary schools in the capital, and to explore the factors underlying compliance from the perspective of school principals.
A mixed-method approach was used, which included semi-structured interviews with school principals and a survey of the foods and beverages sold and advertised in the schools.
Primary and secondary schools in Montevideo (the capital city of Uruguay).
The great majority of the schools did not comply with the initiative. Exhibition of non-recommended products was the main cause for non-compliance, followed by advertising of non-recommended products through promotional activities of food and beverage companies. Although school principals were aware of the healthy snack initiative and showed a positive attitude towards it, the majority lacked knowledge about its specific content. Factors underlying compliance with the healthy snacking initiative were related to its characteristics, characteristics of the schools, and external factors such as family habits and advertising.
Results showed that the rationale underlying the selling of products at schools favours the availability of ultra-processed products and constitutes the main barrier for the promotion of healthy dietary habits among children and adolescents. Strategies aimed at facilitating the identification of unhealthy foods and beverages and provision of incentives to canteen managers to modify their offer are recommended.
Nutritional warnings have recently been suggested as a simplified front-of-pack nutrition labelling scheme to facilitate citizens’ ability to identify unhealthful products and discourage their consumption. However, citizens’ perspective on this policy is still under-researched. The objective of the present work was to study how citizens perceive nutritional warnings and to evaluate public support of this policy, with the goal of deriving recommendations for the design of policy measures accompanying the introduction of nutritional warnings.
An online survey with 1416 Uruguayan citizens, aged 18–75 years, 61 % female, was conducted. Participants had to answer a series of questions (open-ended and multiple-choice) related to their perception of warnings as a front-of-package nutrition labelling scheme.
Participants showed a positive attitude towards nutritional warnings, which were regarded as easy to understand and to identify on food packages. The majority of respondents emphasized that they would take nutritional warnings into account when making their food choices, stating that they would allow them to make informed choices and, consequently, to increase the quality of their diet and their health status. Health motivation appeared as a crucial driver for taking nutritional warnings into consideration.
A high level of public support for nutritional warnings was observed. Responses can be used to derive a range of recommendations for a policy mix that should synergistically support the introduction of nutritional warnings and encourage citizens to take them into account when making their food purchases.
The current study aimed to assess Uruguayan consumers’ accounts of their own need to change their dietary patterns, their intended changes and the barriers related to doing so, and to compare the intentions and barriers with the recommendations of the national dietary guidelines.
An online survey with 2381 Uruguayan employed adults, aged between 18 and 65 years, 65 % females, was conducted. Participants had to answer two open-ended questions related to changes they could make in the foods they eat and/or the way in which they eat to improve the quality of their diet and the reasons why they had not implemented those changes yet. Content analysis using inductive coding by two researchers was used to analyse the responses.
Consumers mainly intended to change consumption of types of foods, particularly eating more fruits, vegetables and legumes and consuming less flour, but also intended to alter their eating patterns. Lack of time and the fact that healthy foods are perceived as being more expensive than unhealthy foods were major barriers to behaviour change. Some of the recommendations of the dietary guidelines, particularly those related to enjoying cooking and meals and engaging in it as a social activity, were not represented in consumer accounts.
Accompanying policies to the dietary guidelines need to underline the importance of changes in dietary patterns, including greater enjoyment and sharing food preparation and meals in the company with others, address misconceptions about flour, and provide concrete, consumer-derived recommendations on how to enact the guidelines.
Warnings are a new directive front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labelling scheme that highlights products with high content of key nutrients. The design of warnings influences their ability to catch consumers’ attention and to clearly communicate their intended meaning, which are key determinants of their effectiveness. The aim of the present work was to evaluate the influence of design features of warnings as a FOP nutrition labelling scheme on perceived healthfulness and attentional capture.
Five studies with a total of 496 people were carried out. In the first study, the association of colour and perceived healthfulness was evaluated in an online survey in which participants had to rate their perceived healthfulness of eight colours. In the second study, the influence of colour, shape and textual information on perceived healthfulness was evaluated using choice-conjoint analysis. The third study focused on implicit associations between two design features (shape and colour) on perceived healthfulness. The fourth and fifth studies used visual search to evaluate the influence of colour, size and position of the warnings on attentional capture.
Perceived healthfulness was significantly influenced by shape, colour and textual information. Colour was the variable with the largest contribution to perceived healthfulness. Colour, size and position of the warnings on the labels affected attentional capture.
Results from the experiments provide recommendations for the design of warnings to identify products with unfavourable nutrient profile.
The aim of the present work was to evaluate the influence of two front-of-pack nutrition information schemes (traffic-light system and Chilean warning system) on consumer purchase of ultra-processed foods in a simulated online grocery store.
Following a between-subjects design, participants completed a simulated weekly food purchase in an online grocery store under one of three experimental conditions: (i) a control condition with no nutrition information, (ii) a traffic-light system and (iii) the Chilean warning system. Information about energy (calories), sugar, saturated fats and salt content was included in the nutrition information schemes.
Participants were recruited from a consumer database and a Facebook advertisement.
People from Montevideo (Uruguay), aged 18–77 years (n 437; 75 % female), participated in the study. All participants were in charge of food purchase in the household, at least occasionally.
No significant differences between experimental conditions were found in the mean share of ultra-processed foods purchased by participants, both in terms of number of products and expenditure, or in the mean energy, sugar, saturated fat and salt content of the purchased items. However, the Chilean warning system decreased intended purchase of sweets and desserts.
Results from this online simulation provided little evidence to suggest that the traffic-light system or the Chilean warning system in isolation could be effective in reducing purchase of ultra-processed foods or improving the nutritional composition of the purchased products.
Warnings have recently been proposed as a new type of directive front-of-pack (FOP) nutrition labelling scheme to flag products with high content of key nutrients. In the present work, this system was compared with the two most common FOP nutrition labelling schemes (Guideline Daily Amounts (GDA) and traffic-light system) in terms of goal-directed attention, influence on perceived healthfulness and ability to differentiate between products.
Goal-directed attention to FOP labels was evaluated using a visual search task in which participants were presented with labels on a computer screen and were asked to indicate whether labels with high sodium content were present or absent. A survey with 387 participants was also carried out, in which the influence of FOP labels on perceived healthfulness and ability to identify the healthful alternative were evaluated.
Warnings improved consumers’ ability to correctly identify a product with high content of a key nutrient within a set of labels compared with GDA and received the highest goal-directed attention. In addition, products with high energy, saturated fat, sugar and/or sodium content that featured warnings on the label were perceived as less healthful than those featuring the GDA or traffic-light system. Warnings and the traffic-light system performed equally well in the identification of the most healthful product.
Results from the present work suggest that warnings have potential as directive FOP nutrition labels to improve consumer ability to identify unhealthful products and highlight advantages compared with the traffic-light system.
To determine the factor structure of the Latin American & Caribbean Household Food Security Scale (ELCSA) and to study the influence of sociodemographic characteristics on each of the identified dimensions in Montevideo, Uruguay.
Cross-sectional survey with a representative sample of urban households. Household food insecurity was measured using the ELCSA. The percentage of respondents who gave affirmative responses for each of the items of the ELCSA was determined. Exploratory factor analysis was carried out to determine the ELCSA’s factor structure. A probit model was used to determine the impact of some individual and household sociodemographic characteristics on the identified dimensions of food insecurity.
Metropolitan area centred on Montevideo, the capital city of Uruguay, April–September 2014.
Adults aged between 18 and 93 years (n 742).
The percentage of affirmative responses to the items of the ELCSA ranged from 4·4 to 31·7 %. Two factors were identified in the exploratory factor analysis performed on data from households without children under 18 years old, whereas three factors were identified for households with children. The identified factors were associated with different severity levels of food insecurity. Likelihood of experiencing different levels of food insecurity was affected by individual characteristics of the respondent as well as characteristics of the household.
The influence of sociodemographic variables varied among the ELCSA dimensions. Household income had the largest influence on all dimensions, which indicates a strong relationship between income and food insecurity.
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