New Article: Eyal & Te’eni-Harari, Advertising Food Products on Israeli Television

Eyal, Keren, and Tali Te’eni-Harari. “High on Attractiveness, Low on Nutrition: An Over-Time Comparison of Advertising Food Products on Israeli Television.” Health Communication (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10410236.2015.1026431

 

Abstract

This content analysis examines Israeli television food advertising. It compares 2008–2009 and 2012–2013, two periods immediately before and several years after regulatory, educational, and public-advocacy efforts have been advanced to raise awareness of and tackle the television–obesity link. Advertisements were drawn from a composite week sample aired on Israeli broadcast channels from 4:00 p.m. until midnight in each of the two periods. Nearly a quarter of ads were for food products, even after a significant drop over the years. The most common food categories included candies and sweetened drinks, whereas fruit and vegetables were among the least common products advertised. The most prevalent central message in food advertisements was that the product makes for an economically sensible purchase, with a much lower focus on the health qualities of the food products. Food advertisements were characterized by a very short duration and an increased reliance on emotional, rather than cognitive, appeal, especially in ads for low-nutrient foods. A significant increase was observed in 2012–2013 in the reliance on thin models in food advertisements, and these were most often associated with high levels of physical attractiveness, promoting the thin ideal. Findings are discussed in light of theory, previous research conducted worldwide, and audience effects. Implications are addressed for health and media industry regulation efforts.

 

 

 

New Article: Elran-Barak et al, Overweight and Obese Midlife Women in Israel

Elran-Barak, Roni, Tzvia Blumstein, Valentina Boyko, Dana Hadar, Adel Farhi, Liat Lerner-Geva, and Yael Benyamini. “Overweight and Obese Midlife Women in Israel: Cultural Differences in Perceived Weight Status.” International Journal of Public Health (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00038-015-0753-0

 

Abstract

 

Objectives

To examine cultural differences in Weight status misperception (WSMP) and identify associations between weight perception and weight control efforts among overweight/obese midlife women in Israel.

Methods

Data from the nationally representative Women’s-Health-in-Midlife-National-Study were used. Participants included overweight (25 ≤ BMI < 30) and obese (BMI ≥ 30) midlife women (45–64 years) from three cultural groups: Long-Term Jewish Residents (LTJR), Immigrants from the former USSR, and Arabs. Interviews included measures of BMI, weight perception, lifestyle, and socio-demographics.

Results

Most overweight/obese women (88 %) perceived their weight status correctly. No significant differences were found in overall WSMP rates across cultural groups. Overweight women of Arab origin were significantly more likely (p < 0.001) to perceive their weight as “about right” relative to LTJR and Immigrants. WSMP was associated with several unhealthy eating patterns [eating red meat (OR = 2.1, 95 % CI = 1.13–3.97), white bread (OR = 2.4, 95 % CI = 1.26–4.58)] and with more perceived barriers to exercising (OR = 1.8, 95 % CI = 1.00–3.42).

Conclusions

Health care providers are encouraged to pay attention to overweight/obese women who misperceive their weight status. These women are more likely to consume unhealthy foods and to be at higher risks of suffering from medical complications associated with obesity.

 

 

New Article: Moran et al, Socioeconomic and Spatial Dimensions of Adolescent Obesity

Moran, Mika, R. Goldblatt, P. Plaut, R. Endevelt, and O. Baron-Epel. “The Socioeconomic and Spatial Dimensions of Adolescent Overweight and Obesity: The Case of Arab and Jewish Towns in Israel.” Journal of Environment and Health Sciences (early view; online first).

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.15436/2378-6841.15.012

 

Abstract

Childhood and adolescent overweight/obesity is a major burden on public health worldwide. A growing body of empirical evidence highlights the impact of community characteristics of childhood obesity. This study explored socioeconomic and spatial variations of adolescent overweight/obesity in Israel by using an ecological approach. Towns’ socioeconomic and spatial characteristics were found associated with adolescent overweight/obesity in opposite directions in Jewish and Arab towns. Adolescent overweight/obesity was found to be more prevalent in Jewish towns characterized by lower socioeconomic rank (SER) and higher peripherality levels and in Arab towns characterized by higher SER and lower peripheraliy levels. Additionally, inequalities were found to be positively related to adolescent overweight/obesity in Jewish towns. After adjusting for SER, the associations between peripherality and adolescent overweight/obesity were attuned in Jewish towns, but not in Arab towns. These findings correspond with the literature, as the results obtained for the Jewish and Arab towns are consistent with studies conducted in developed and in developing countries, respectively. Therefore, the findings highlight the importance of macro level factors enhancing obesity, and suggest that national policy may benefit from town-level interventions addressing adolescent overweight/ obesity. Several explanations to the study’s findings are discussed, involving social, environmental and individual factors.

New Book: Raviv, Falafel Nation

Raviv, Yael. Falafel Nation. Cuisine and the Making of National Identity in Israel, Studies of Jews in Society. Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2015.

falafel-nation

 

When people discuss food in Israel, their debates ask politically charged questions: Who has the right to falafel? Whose hummus is better? But Yael Raviv’s Falafel Nation moves beyond the simply territorial to divulge the role food plays in the Jewish nation. She ponders the power struggles, moral dilemmas, and religious and ideological affiliations of the different ethnic groups that make up the “Jewish State” and how they relate to the gastronomy of the region. How do we interpret the recent upsurge in the Israeli culinary scene—the transition from ideological asceticism to the current deluge of fine restaurants, gourmet stores, and related publications and media?

Focusing on the period between the 1905 immigration wave and the Six-Day War in 1967, Raviv explores foodways from the field, factory, market, and kitchen to the table. She incorporates the role of women, ethnic groups, and different generations into the story of Zionism and offers new assertions from a secular-foodie perspective on the relationship between Jewish religion and Jewish nationalism. A study of the changes in food practices and in attitudes toward food and cooking, Falafel Nation explains how the change in the relationship between Israelis and their food mirrors the search for a definition of modern Jewish nationalism.

Yael Raviv is the director of the Umami food and art festival in New York City. She has a PhD in performance studies from New York University and is an adjunct professor in the Department of Nutrition, Food Studies, and Public Health at NYU. Her work has appeared in Women and Performance, Gastronomica, and elsewhere.

New Article: Lerner-Geva et al, Improving the Lifestyle Habits of Kindergarten Children in Israel

Lerner-Geva, Liat, Elinor Bar-Zvi, Gila Levitan, Valentina Boyko, Brian Reichman, and Orit Pinhas-Hamiel. “An Intervention for Improving the Lifestyle Habits of Kindergarten Children in Israel: A Cluster-Randomised Controlled Trial Investigation.” Public Health Nutrition 18.9 (2015): 1537-44.

 

URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S136898001400024X

 

Abstract

Objective To assess the effectiveness of an intervention programme to improve kindergarten children’s eating and leisure habits in Israel.

Design A cluster-randomised controlled trial.

Setting Six full-day kindergartens in Israel were randomly divided into three groups. Group A received the full intervention programme, which included lessons on good eating habits and daily physical exercise. Group B received a partial intervention of lessons only. Group C, the reference group, did not receive any intervention.

Subjects Children aged 4–6 years (n 204) were recruited for the study.

Methods Objective data for weight and height were collected to calculate BMI Z-scores. Activity, sedentary time, sleeping hours and daily energy intake were assessed via a parental questionnaire. Nutritional knowledge was assessed by a single dietitian using a questionnaire addressed to the children. Assessments were done at baseline and at the end of the intervention.

Results After adjustment for baseline levels we observed a significant reduction in daily energy intake for the full intervention group A (P = 0·03). A positive intervention effect was demonstrated on nutritional knowledge in the partial intervention group B (P = 0·03), although no significant change was demonstrated for BMI Z-score.

Conclusions The study supports the incorporation of education on healthy lifestyle habits and physical activity into the curricula of kindergartens.