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Children and Obesity - US - September 2011

This report builds on the analysis presented in Mintel’s Children and Obesity—U.S., March 2009, as well as the August 2005 report of the same title.

For the purposes of this report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, overweight and obesity are both labels for ranges of weight that are greater than what is generally considered healthy for a given height. The terms also identify ranges of weight that have been shown to increase the likelihood of certain diseases and other health problems.

Determination of overweight/obesity is based on Body Mass Index (BMI) calculations from height and weight and does not directly measure body fat. However, it is generally considered a reasonable indicator of children’s body fat.

Because of children’s continuous growth, BMI for children is categorized by both age and gender, and is often referred to as BMI-for-age. The standard formula for calculating BMI is: weight (lb.)/ [height (in)]2 x 703. Results are then plotted and measured against a percentile chart:

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Table of contents

  1. Scope and Themes

    • What you need to know
      • Definition
        • Data sources
          • Consumer survey data
            • Advertising creative
              • Abbreviations and terms
                • Abbreviations
                  • Terms
                  • Executive Summary

                    • Insights and opportunities
                      • Childhood obesity statistics
                        • Why are kids obese?
                          • Most people blame people
                            • The impact of race/Hispanic origin
                              • Parents’ assessment of kids’ weight
                                • Innovations and innovators
                                  • Restaurants start to fall in line
                                    • New food and drink labeling expected to increase healthy food choices
                                      • MyPlate
                                        • Marketing strategies during an obesity epidemic
                                          • Children’s eating habits and limitations
                                            • Parents’ attitudes toward kids’ diets
                                              • Children’s exercise
                                                • Promoting health to kids
                                                  • Health strategies for kids
                                                    • Information sources for childhood obesity
                                                    • Insights and Opportunities

                                                      • Shift in criteria for foods advertised to kids may spell opportunity
                                                        • Prenatal anti-obesity
                                                          • More sleep, less weight?
                                                            • Foster homes as healthy environments
                                                              • Insurance companies get involved
                                                              • Inspire Insights

                                                                  • Trend: Life Coaching
                                                                  • Childhood Obesity Statistics

                                                                    • Key points
                                                                      • Rate of childhood obesity triples between 1980 and 2008
                                                                        • Figure 1: Let’s Move! ad, 2011
                                                                      • Obesity underreporting very likely
                                                                          • Figure 2: Parents’ assessment of children’s weight, by age of child, April–May 2011
                                                                          • Figure 3: Prevalence of obesity among children/teens aged 2-19, 1976-2008
                                                                          • Figure 4: Child population by age, 2006-16
                                                                        • The future for obese kids
                                                                          • Figure 5: Rate of adult obesity, by age, 2010
                                                                        • Why combating obesity matters
                                                                        • Why Are Kids Obese?

                                                                          • Key points
                                                                            • Too many calories and too little exercise
                                                                              • Poor food and beverage choices on school campuses
                                                                                • Figure 6: Availability of various foods on school campuses, October 2009-December 2010
                                                                              • Lack of adequate daily exercise and safe, appealing places to exercise
                                                                                • Increasing portion sizes
                                                                                  • Figure 7: Average per capita consumption in pounds and daily calorie consumption, 1970-2003
                                                                                • Limited access to healthy and affordable foods, and greater access to calorie-rich foods and sugary drinks
                                                                                  • Figure 8: Use of fast food restaurants and reasons for use, October 2009-December 2010
                                                                                  • Figure 9: McDonald’s Happy Meals ad, 2010
                                                                                • The influence of media
                                                                                  • Stagnant economy can translate to poorer dietary choices
                                                                                    • Most say people themselves responsible for obesity epidemic
                                                                                      • Figure 10: Responsibility for the obesity epidemic, April–May 2011
                                                                                      • Figure 11: Responsibility for the obesity epidemic, by presence of children in the household, April–May 2011
                                                                                    • Blacks and Hispanics are more prone to obesity than whites
                                                                                      • Figure 12: U.S. black child population, by age, 2006-16
                                                                                      • Figure 13: U.S. Hispanic child population, by age, 2006-16
                                                                                  • Innovations and Innovators—How the Food and Beverage Industry and the Government Are Helping

                                                                                    • Restaurants join the cause
                                                                                      • Food and beverage industry revamps labeling to help inform consumers
                                                                                        • USDA unveils new dietary guidelines icon
                                                                                          • Some healthful food product health/weight-related claims increase
                                                                                            • Figure 14: Top 10 health/weight-related claims as percent of total food and nonalcoholic drink launches marketed for children aged 5-12, 2006-11*
                                                                                        • Marketing Strategies During an Obesity Epidemic

                                                                                          • Overview of the brand landscape
                                                                                            • Brand analysis: Chef Boyardee
                                                                                              • Figure 15: Brand analysis of Chef Boyardee, 2011
                                                                                            • Online initiatives
                                                                                              • TV presence
                                                                                                • Figure 16: Chef Boyardee Beefaroni, TV ad, 2010
                                                                                              • Brand analysis: Nutella
                                                                                                • Figure 17: Brand analysis of Nutella, 2011
                                                                                              • Online initiatives
                                                                                                • TV presence
                                                                                                  • Figure 18: Nutella TV ad, 2010
                                                                                                • Print and other
                                                                                                  • Brand analysis: Nintendo Wii
                                                                                                    • Figure 19: Brand analysis of Nintendo Wii, 2011
                                                                                                  • Online initiatives
                                                                                                    • TV presence
                                                                                                      • Figure 20: Nintendo Wii TV ad, 2011
                                                                                                    • Print and other
                                                                                                    • Children’s Eating Habits and Limitations

                                                                                                      • Key points
                                                                                                        • A quarter of child respondents use diet/lite products
                                                                                                          • Figure 21: Children’s dieting habits, by gender and age, October 2009–December 2010
                                                                                                        • Six in 10 kids say breakfast is the most important meal
                                                                                                            • Figure 22: Attitudes toward healthy and unhealthy eating, by gender and age, October 2009–December 2010
                                                                                                          • As kids age, parents less likely to control food types their kids eat
                                                                                                            • Figure 23: Limitations on children’s eating, by age of child, April–May 2011
                                                                                                        • Parents’ Attitudes toward Kids’ Diet

                                                                                                          • Key points
                                                                                                            • Parents weigh in on kids’ eating habits
                                                                                                                • Figure 24: Children’s eating habits, by age of child, April–May 2011
                                                                                                              • Majority of parents say controlling diet for kids aged 2-5 easier at home
                                                                                                                  • Figure 25: Eating habits of children aged 2-5, by gender of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                • As kids age, parents more likely to trust their nutritional choices
                                                                                                                  • Figure 26: Eating habits of children aged 6-9, by gender of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                • For kids aged 10-12, parents still feel controlling diet easiest at home
                                                                                                                  • Figure 27: Eating habits of children aged 10-12, by gender of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                • The role of household income among parents with kids aged 10-12
                                                                                                                  • Figure 28: Eating habits of children aged 10-12, by household income, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                • For kids aged 13-15, parents leaving more nutritional choices up to them
                                                                                                                  • Figure 29: Eating habits of children aged 13-15, by gender of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                • Most parents say nutrition up to kids by age 16-17
                                                                                                                  • Figure 30: Eating habits of children aged 16-17, by gender of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                • The role of household income among parents with kids aged 16-17
                                                                                                                  • Figure 31: Eating habits of children aged 16-17, by household income, April–May 2011
                                                                                                              • Children’s Exercise

                                                                                                                • Key points
                                                                                                                  • Adequate weekly physical activity fades as kids age
                                                                                                                      • Figure 32: Children’s exercise habits, by age of child, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                    • Time spent exercising increases for younger kids between 2009 and 2011
                                                                                                                      • Figure 33: Average amount of activity per week, by child/ren’s age, December 2008
                                                                                                                    • A vast majority of kids aged 6-11 play sports
                                                                                                                      • Figure 34: Top 20 sports children participated in the last 12 months, by gender and age, October 2009–December 2010
                                                                                                                  • Promoting Health to Kids

                                                                                                                    • Key points
                                                                                                                      • Promoting healthy eating for kids is the top priority
                                                                                                                          • Figure 35: Importance of promoting health for children, by gender of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                        • Younger respondents most likely to say nutrition/exercise are important
                                                                                                                          • Figure 36: Importance of promoting health for children, by age of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                        • All parents agree on promoting kids’ health
                                                                                                                          • Figure 37: Importance of promoting health for children, all parents vs. those with overweight children, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                      • Health Strategies for Kids

                                                                                                                        • Key points
                                                                                                                          • Interest in health/weight strategies could be higher
                                                                                                                              • Figure 38: Interest in health-promoting strategies, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                            • Women more likely to be interested in recipe/meal plans and informational programs
                                                                                                                              • Figure 39: Interest in health-promoting strategies, by gender of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                            • Younger parents more invested in health strategies
                                                                                                                              • Figure 40: Interest in health-promoting strategies, by age of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                            • All parents more interested in strategies than parents of overweight kids
                                                                                                                              • Figure 41: Interest in health-promoting strategies, all parents vs. those with overweight children, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                          • Information Sources for Childhood Obesity

                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                              • Most rely on doctor/nurse practitioner for kids’ health information
                                                                                                                                • Figure 42: Children’s health Information source rating, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                              • Younger parents most likely rate all information sources favorably
                                                                                                                                • Figure 43: Children’s health Information source “very good” rating, by age of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                              • Older parents more likely to call information sources “OK”
                                                                                                                                • Figure 44: Children’s health Information source “OK” rating, by age of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                            • Cluster Analysis

                                                                                                                                • Health-Driven Parents
                                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                        • Health-Disinterested Parents
                                                                                                                                          • Demographics
                                                                                                                                            • Characteristic
                                                                                                                                              • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                • Self-Sufficient Parents
                                                                                                                                                  • Demographics
                                                                                                                                                    • Characteristics
                                                                                                                                                      • Opportunity
                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster characteristic tables
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 45: Children obesity clusters, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 46: Importance of promoting health for children, by clusters, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 47: Interest in health-promoting strategies, by clusters, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 48: Children’s health Information source rating, by clusters, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster demographic tables
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 49: Children obesity clusters, by parents’ gender, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 50: Children obesity clusters, by parents’ age, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                          • Figure 51: Children obesity clusters by household income, April-May 2011
                                                                                                                                                        • Cluster methodology
                                                                                                                                                        • Custom Consumer Groups—Parent’s BMI

                                                                                                                                                            • Key points
                                                                                                                                                              • Obese/extremely obese more likely to say their kids 6-17 are overweight
                                                                                                                                                                  • Figure 52: Weight rating of children, by age, by BMI of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Overweight and obese/extremely obese most likely to endorse diet/meal plans for kids
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 53: Interest in health-promoting strategies, by BMI of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix—Other Useful Consumer Tables

                                                                                                                                                                  • Parents’ attitudes toward kids’ diet
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 54: Eating habits of children under age 2, by household income, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 55: Eating habits of children aged 2-5, by age of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 56: Eating habits of children aged 2-5, by household income, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 57: Eating habits of children aged 6-9, by household income, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 58: Eating habits of children aged 10-12, by age of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 59: Eating habits of children aged 13-15, by household income, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Promoting health to kids
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 60: Importance of promoting health for children, by household income, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 61: Importance of promoting health for children, by marital status of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                  • Health strategies for kids
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 62: Interest in health-promoting strategies, by household income, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                    • Figure 63: Interest in health-promoting strategies, by marital status of parent, April–May 2011
                                                                                                                                                                • Appendix—Trade Associations

                                                                                                                                                                  Companies Covered

                                                                                                                                                                  • American Beverage Association, The
                                                                                                                                                                  • American Dietetic Association (ADA)
                                                                                                                                                                  • American Heart Association, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                  • American Medical Association (AMA)
                                                                                                                                                                  • Burger King Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                  • El Pollo Loco Holdings, Inc.
                                                                                                                                                                  • Grocery Manufacturers Association (GMA)
                                                                                                                                                                  • Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation
                                                                                                                                                                  • Institute of Medicine
                                                                                                                                                                  • McDonald's Corporation
                                                                                                                                                                  • National Restaurant Association (NRA)
                                                                                                                                                                  • Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
                                                                                                                                                                  • School Nutrition Association
                                                                                                                                                                  • U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics
                                                                                                                                                                  • U.S. Department of Agriculture

                                                                                                                                                                  Children and Obesity - US - September 2011

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