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Pediatr Obes. 2013 Aug;8(4):325-37. doi: 10.1111/j.2047-6310.2013.00167.x. Epub 2013 Apr 15.

Comparison of nutrient profiling schemes for restricting the marketing of food and drink to children.

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International Association for the Study of Obesity, London, UK.



The food and beverage industry have made voluntary pledges to reduce children's exposure to the marketing of energy-dense foods and beverages, and in 2012 announced the replacement of company-specific nutrient profiling schemes with uniform sets of criteria from 2013 (in the USA) and 2014 (in the European Union [EU]).


To compare the proposed USA and EU nutrient profiling schemes and three government-led schemes, paying particular attention to the differences in sugar criteria.


Food and beverage products permitted to be advertised in the USA under pre-2013 criteria were examined using five nutrient profiling schemes: the forthcoming USA and EU schemes and three government-approved schemes: the US Interagency Working Group (IWG) proposals, the United Kingdom Office of Communications (OfCom) regulations and the Danish Forum co-regulatory Code.


Under the new USA and EU nutrient profiling schemes, 88 (49%) and 73 (41%) of a total of 178 products would be permitted to be advertised, respectively. The US IWG permitted 25 (14%) products; the Ofcom regulations permitted 65 (37%) and the Danish Code permitted 13 (7%).


Government-led schemes are significantly more restrictive than industry-led schemes, primarily due to their tougher sugar criteria. The Danish Forum (93%) and USA IWG scheme (86%) are the most restrictive of the five examined. Further harmonization of nutrient profiling schemes is needed to reduce children's exposure to the promotion of energy-dense foods.


Marketing; nutrient profiling; obesity; sugar

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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