Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Ottawa children needed for focus groups on food marketing!

A few days ago I was contacted by Bernie Gauthier, the CEO of Delta Media (a PR firm that helped our office out in our early days). His firm has become involved in a study being conducted by associate professor of communications and culture Dr. Charlene Elliott, funded by the Canadian Institute of Health Research, and ethically cleared by the University of Calgary.

Currently Bernie's firm is trying to find enough children for Ottawan focus groups. While the study is indeed looking at both healthy weight and overweight children, it's the overweight children that are required for this round of focus groups. Boy focus groups will occur on May 27th and girls on May 28th. The cutoff for inclusion is a BMI of 25 (BMI cutoff values differ for children - to calculate your child's BMI click here). They're looking for 6 boys and girls for each grade from 1-6.

Having worked with Bernie in the past I can tell you that the groups will be professionally run and organized.

If your child fits their needs and you've got the time, please consider contacting Bernie's team (information below) - who knows, maybe the work from this project will be the last straw that causes the government to ban advertising foods to children.

Here's some information from the study's consent form:

What is the purose of this study?
The purpose of this study is to examine child and parental responses to child-oriented food/food packaging so that researchers, nutritionists and policy makers have a more complete understanding of the current food environment, and its influence on children’s food choices, habits and nutrition. Understanding the consumption habits of children is necessary in order to create effective strategies (and policy) for promoting wholesome food habits and combating childhood obesity.

What Will I Be Asked To Do?
We are looking for children in grades 1-6 to participate in a one-hour focus group session, which will explore how they feel about the supermarket foods specifically targeted at them. During the session, the children will be asked questions and participate in activities that will help us to understand the appeal of these foods and to understand the evaluation of nutrition/nutrition claims from their point of view. The sessions will be digitally recorded for transcription. They will take place after school hours, and there will be a comfortable space for you to wait as your child participates.

Parents will also be invited to participate in a one-hour follow-up telephone interview to discuss how they make food purchasing decisions for their child—and to discuss some of the challenges of doing so. Children will receive an honorarium of $25 for participating in the focus groups and parents will receive a further $25 for completing the interview.

What Type of Personal Information Will Be Collected?

The focus groups and interviews will be audio recorded and transcribed. No names will be used in the analysis of any of the reports. The identity of all participants will remain completely confidential.

Are there Risks or Benefits if I Participate?
There are no risks associated with participating, and both you, and your child’s anonymity is ensured in the reporting of results by use of participant number.

I'm Interested. What should I do?

Call or email Nyree St. Denis at Vision Research to find out more:

(613) 233-9191

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