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. 2019 Mar 14;11(3):618.
doi: 10.3390/nu11030618.

How Much Can Product Reformulation Improve Diet Quality in Households With Children and Adolescents?

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Free PMC article

How Much Can Product Reformulation Improve Diet Quality in Households With Children and Adolescents?

Mary K Muth et al. Nutrients. .
Free PMC article

Abstract

Improvements in the healthfulness of packaged foods and beverages through reformulation could help reduce the prevalence of obesity among children and adolescents through improved diet quality. This study assessed changes in calories and four nutrients (saturated fat, total sugars, sodium, and dietary fiber) from 2012 through 2014 for packaged products frequently consumed by children and adolescents, simulated effects of potential improvements in 12 frequently consumed product categories based on actual purchasing patterns, and compared differences in prices of healthier versus less healthy products. Analysis of trends showed limited evidence that healthfulness of foods improved over the years examined. Simulation results showed minimal changes for calories and sodium, but daily intake of saturated fat could decrease by 4%, sugar consumption could decrease by 5%, and dietary fiber consumption could increase by 11% if products were reformulated to meet an existing healthfulness standard. Using a higher standard, caloric intake could decline by 4%, saturated fat by 6%, sugar by 9%, and sodium by 4%, and dietary fiber could increase by 14%. Healthier versions of most products ranged from an average of 3 to 12 cents more per serving, but not all healthier versions were more costly. Overall, reformulation is a potential avenue for improving diet quality in households with children and adolescents, but price could be a barrier to purchasing healthier products for some households.

Keywords: adolescents; children; diet quality; food reformulation; scanner data.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare no conflicts of interest. The funders had no role in the design of the study; in the collection, analysis, or interpretation of data; in the writing of the manuscript; or in the decision to publish the results.

Figures

Figure 1
Figure 1
Conceptual model of the effects of food reformulation on child and adolescent obesity.
Figure 2
Figure 2
(a) Comparison of average calories and nutrient levels in products in 2014 versus one-star products. 1 Average 2014 (baseline) value is less than the average one-star value. 2 Average 2014 (baseline) value is the same as the average one-star value. 3 Average one-star value is less than the average 2014 (baseline) value. (b) Comparison of average calories and nutrient levels in products in 2014 versus maximum-star products. 1 Average 2014 (baseline) value is less than the average maximum-star value. 2 Average 2014 (baseline) value is the same as the average maximum-star value. 3 Maximum-star value is zero.
Figure 2
Figure 2
(a) Comparison of average calories and nutrient levels in products in 2014 versus one-star products. 1 Average 2014 (baseline) value is less than the average one-star value. 2 Average 2014 (baseline) value is the same as the average one-star value. 3 Average one-star value is less than the average 2014 (baseline) value. (b) Comparison of average calories and nutrient levels in products in 2014 versus maximum-star products. 1 Average 2014 (baseline) value is less than the average maximum-star value. 2 Average 2014 (baseline) value is the same as the average maximum-star value. 3 Maximum-star value is zero.

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