Modeled dietary impact of pizza reformulations in US children and adolescents

Gabriel Masset*, Kevin C. Mathias, Antonis Vlassopoulos, Famke Molenberg, Undine Lehmann, Mike Gibney, Adam Drewnowski

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


Background and Objective Approximately 20% of US children and adolescents consume pizza on any given day; and pizza intake is associated with higher intakes of energy, sodium, and saturated fat. The reformulation of pizza products has yet to be evaluated as a viable option to improve diets of the US youth. This study modeled the effect on nutrient intakes of two potential pizza reformulation strategies based on the standards established by the Nestlé Nutritional Profiling System (NNPS). Methods Dietary intakes were retrieved from the first 24hr-recall of the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) 2011-12, for 2655 participants aged 4-19 years. The composition of pizzas in the NHANES food database (n = 69) were compared against the NNPS standards for energy, total fat, saturated fat, sodium, added sugars, and protein. In a reformulation scenario, the nutrient content of pizzas was adjusted to the NNPS standards if these were not met. In a substitution scenario, pizzas that did not meet the standards were replaced by the closest pizza, based on nutrient content, that met all of the NNPS standards. Results Pizzas consistent with all the NNPS standards (29% of all pizzas) were significantly lower in energy, saturated fat and sodium than pizzas that were not. Among pizza consumers, modeled intakes in the reformulation and substitution scenarios were lower in energy (-14 and -45kcal, respectively), saturated fat (-1.2 and -2.7g), and sodium (-143 and -153mg) compared to baseline. Conclusions Potential industry wide reformulation of a single food category or intra-category food substitutions may positively impact dietary intakes of US children and adolescents. Further promotion and support of these complimentary strategies may facilitate the adoption and implementation of reformulation standards.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0164197
Number of pages13
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016


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