FOOD FOR KIDS: Are we making progress on childhood obesity?

By Elaine Watson

- Last updated on GMT

Picture: Gettyimages-monkeybusinessimages
Picture: Gettyimages-monkeybusinessimages

Related tags Food for kids Obesity

Childhood obesity in the US affects almost one-in-five children aged 2-19yrs. Rates vary by age, but are highest among Hispanic and African Americans, and continue to rise. So what can we do about it, and are existing strategies failing children?

Dr William Dietz​ - ​who led the division of nutrition, physical activity, and obesity at the CDC for 15 years - is currently the director of the Sumner M. Redstone Global Center for Prevention and Wellness at George Washington University, and the director of the STOP Obesity Alliance, which brings industry and policy makers together to combat obesity.

He will take the stage on day two of FoodNavigator-USA’s FOOD FOR KIDS summit​ in Chicago Nov 18-20 to ask:

  • Is a small decline in obesity among 2 to 5-year olds attributable to the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC)?
  • Why are community-based nutritional and exercise programs limited to upper income white populations?
  • How can we make healthy unprocessed foods as available, inexpensive, and desirable as sugary drinks and pizza?
  • Why are the Trump administration’s proposed changes to the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) likely to increase food insecurity and obesity?
  • Might concerns about climate change incentivize millennials to tackle obesity?

According to the US government's Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),​ for children and adolescents aged 2-19 years:

  • The prevalence of obesity is 18.5% and affects about 13.7m children and adolescents.
  • Obesity prevalence is 13.9% among 2- to 5-year-olds, 18.4% among 6- to 11-year-olds, and 20.6% among 12- to 19-year-olds. 
  • Hispanics (25.8%) and non-Hispanic blacks (22%) have higher obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic whites (14.1%). Non-Hispanic Asians (11%) have lower obesity prevalence than non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics.
  • Obesity prevalence is 18.9% among children and adolescents aged 2-19 years in the lowest income group and 19.9% among those in the middle income group. It is far lower (10.9%) among those in the highest income group.

FOOD FOR KIDS: What are you feeding yours?​​

We’ve got an amazing lineup of speakers​​​​ at this year’s FoodNavigator-USA FOOD FOR KIDS summit​​​​​, from new brands such as Freeli Foods, Brainiac Kids, Raised Real and Serenity Kids; to established players, from Chobani and Kraft Heinz to Ocean Spray and Mondelēz.

Building on feedback from last year's event, we've also included sessions on kids' palates, the science of epigenetics, and the challenges of product testing with kids.

Held at Chicago’s W Hotel November 18-20, FOOD FOR KIDS 2019​​​​​​ will include:​​

  • KIDS AND THE PLANT-​​​​BASED TREND:​​​​ How are parents incorporating plant-based alternatives into their children’s diets? And what are the nutritional implications? With Michele DeKinder-Smith at Linkage Research.
  • CONSUMER PANEL:​​​​​ We will open with a panel of local parents, who delegates can quiz about everything from pester power to beverage choices for kids, favorite retailers and restaurants to what they look for on food labels.
  • TRAILBLAZERS:​​​​​ Three emerging brands that have developed innovative new products or business models in the kids’ food space will present their innovations live on stage in front of our expert panel featuring Lauren Jupiter at Accelfoods, Matthew Sade at Freeli Foods, and Barb Stuckey from Mattson.
  • YOU ARE WHAT YOUR MOTHER ATE:​​​​​ Explore the science of epigenetics with Dr Robert Murray from Ohio State University.
  • ARE WE MAKING PROGRESS ON CHILDHOOD OBESITY? ​​​​​The latest stats and insights from the CDC.
  • YUCK OR YUM:​​​​​ Product testing with kids with Keren Novack from Curion Insights and Emily Kimmins from Kraft Heinz.
  • CAN YOU TRAIN YOUR KIDS TO LOVE BROCCOLI?​​​​​ How are kids' flavor preferences developed? With Dr Catherine Forestell from William & Mary.
  • CASE STUDIES:​​​​​ From Gimmies (Chobani) to Freeli Foods, Mondelez SnackFutures, and Brainiac Kids, learn from companies building dedicated kids' food brands.
  • THE SIZE OF THE PRIZE​​​​​ Hear from SPINS and Euromonitor about the market opportunity for kids' foods and beverages.
  • FORMULATING FOR KIDS: ​​​​​From sweetness to texture to flavor, what do kids like? With Yummy Spoonfuls, Peekaboo Ice Cream and KidFresh.
  • KIDS BEVERAGES IN FOCUS: ​​​​​What are kids drinking? With Ocean Spray, Rethink Brands Euromonitor, and more.
  • THE FUTURE OF BABY FOOD:​​​​​ Is the future fresh? And should babies eat more meat? With Serenity Kids, Fresh Bellies, Lil Gourmets, and Raised Real.
  • CLEAN LABEL IN FOCUS: ​​​​​Beyond the ingredients list with the Clean Label Project.
  • FAST CASUAL FOR KIDS: ​​​​​Can fast-casual for kids be healthy and fun? Learn how Bean Sprouts Café found the sweet spot.

Find out more and register HERE.​​​​​

Check out the latest speakers HERE​.​​​​​

Find out more HERE​​​​​​ ​​​​​​about the event, which is sponsored by DSM​​​​​​, Beneo​​​​​​​, ​​​​Cargill​​​​​​, ​​​​​​Curion​​​​​​, the American Egg Board​​​​​, IFF Health (Frutarom​​​),​​​ Lil'Gourmets​​​​​, Sweegen​​​​ and Farbest Brands.​​

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