February 2019 Newsletter

Rudd Center Recent Publications

Weight-Based Victimization Among Sexual and Gender Minority Adolescents: Findings from a Diverse National Sample

Adolescent obesity rates currently reach 20% in the United States, and weight-based victimization has become a widespread form of mistreatment experienced by youth. This victimization has harmful health consequences, including increased risk for depression, low self-esteem, and suicidal ideation. Although there is mounting evidence of weight-based victimization in youth, there has been little attention to this issue in LGBTQ adolescents, despite their high prevalence of overweight and obesity and increased risk for victimization. 

This study, published in Pediatric Obesity, found that across sexual identities, 44-70% of LGBTQ teens reported weight-based teasing from family members, 41-57% reported weight-based teasing from peers, and as many as 44% reported weight-based teasing from both family members and peers. Another key finding was that regardless of the source, sexual and gender minority adolescents face these experiences across diverse body weight categories. 

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Food Insecurity and Obesity Incidence Across Connecticut

Studies of low-income populations in the U.S. find that food insecurity is associated with poorer diet quality, which has implications for health. At the same time, rates of obesity and diet-related chronic diseases have steadily risen in Connecticut since the late 1990s. This report aimed to determine the prevalence of food insecurity and obesity across Connecticut, and found that 12.4% of Connecticut households report having insufficient funds to purchase food in the last 12 months, and rates of food insecurity are highest in urban centers and in some rural areas. The study also found that 61.6% of Connecticut residents surveyed reported being overweight or obese, with obesity incidence being substantially lower for higher-income respondents. 

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The Unrealized Health-Promoting Potential of a National Network of Food Pantries

The rising prevalence of obesity and diet-related illnesses has become a national health crisis, and to address this crisis changes in food availability in every setting and at every level of the food system are needed. Over the past 15 years, researchers, policymakers, government regulatory agencies, health professionals, advocates, and educators have been engaged in ongoing efforts to promote better nutrition, but food pantries and the broader charitable feeding system have been overlooked. As a result, researchers have turned to this topic to examine the unanswered questions regarding how clients experience food pantries and the potential for community resources to have a measurable impact on the health of the individuals served. 

In this introduction to a series of seven papers, the role of food pantries and food banks across the United States is explained, highlighting the importance of including the charitable food system in national efforts to improve nutrition and prevent diet-related chronic diseases.

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Rudd Center In The News

Dr. Rebecca Puhl was quoted in a variety of outlets regarding her recent study examining weight-based bullying in LGBTQ youth. This included coverage in the New Haven Register, Connecticut Post, UConn Today, Health News Digest, and LGBTQ Nation. Dr. Puhl was also interviewed about the study on WNPR's Where We Live and WSHU, Connecticut Public Radio.

In addition, Dr. Puhl provided commentary for an article in JAMA titled, "Addressing Medicine's Bias Against Patients Who are Overweight."

The Associated Press covered a written testimony submitted by Sally Mancini, Director of Advocacy Resources at the Rudd Center, regarding the proposed energy drink ban for kids in Connecticut.

The Rudd Center's Sugary Drink Tax Revenue Calculator was utilized in a recent article by the Hartford Business Journal commenting on Gov. Ned Lamont's tax proposals, which include a levy on sugary drinks.

Rudd Center Director, Dr. Marlene Schwartz, discussed the effectiveness of "food environment nudges" to promote greener choices in a February 18th Food Tank article. 

Dr. Jennifer Harris's recent report, "Increasing Disparities in Unhealthy Food Advertising Targeted to Black and Hispanic Youth," was featured in a February 19th Washington Post article and was also featured in an article by MediaPost. 

What's Simmering With Our Friends?

National School Breakfast Week
March 4-8, 2019

Hosted by the School Nutrition Association, National School Breakfast Week (NSBW) is an annual national campaign designed to raise awareness of the National School Breakfast Program in school communities across the country. The 2019 campaign will run from March 4-8th with the theme "Start Your Engines," designed to remind the entire school community that school breakfast provides a healthy and energizing start to the day for students.

National School Breakfast Week was launched in 1989 to raise awareness of the availability of the School Breakfast Program, and according to a 2015 survey of School Nutrition Association members, 96% said that their student participation in the School Breakfast Program increases during NSBW. 

For more information and to download the 2019 NSBW Toolkit, click here

National CACFP Week
March 17-23, 2019

National CACFP Week is an education and information campaign sponsored annually the third week of March by the National CACFP Sponsors Association to raise awareness of the USDA's Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP). The primary goal of this program is to bring healthy foods to tables across the country for children in child care centers, homes, and after school programs as well as for adults in day care. 

Children that are cared for by providers participating in CACFP benefit by being fed nutritious USDA regulated meals that ensure proper development, and they gain from early nutrition education that helps them establish positive eating habits that will enrich the quality of their diet throughout their life. 

Still Cooking: Projects in Progress

Studying the Community Eligibility Provision's Broad Impact On Child Nutrition, Health, Academics, School Attendance, and Family Food Security

In 2010, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act (HHFKA) initiated a number of major changes in child nutrition programs, including the establishment of the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP) for the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. Implemented nationwide in 2014-2015 with the intention to increase school meal participation and improve food security among at-risk children, the CEP allowed high poverty schools to provide universal free meals. It is yet unknown whether the CEP implementation has translated into measurable nutrition gains and how these gains are distributed. The primary objective of this study is to estimate the impact of the CEP on dietary quality, body weight, food insecurity, and academic achievement among school-age children. 

Fiscal and Pricing Policies on Foods and Non-Alcoholic Beverages

This project is a systematic review of the literature regarding fiscal and pricing policies on foods and non-alcoholic beverages. The review will answer the question: What is the effect of implementing a fiscal and/or pricing policy on foods and non-alcoholic beverages as they relate to consumption, diet, prices, and body weight of adults and children?

Improving Nutrition and Physical Activity Standards in Connecticut Early Child Care and Education (ECE) Settings

The Rudd Center will assist Connecticut's Department of Public Health in implementing statewide efforts to improve physical activity and nutrition standards in early child care and education settings. Towards that end, the Rudd Center will provide outreach, support, and technical assistance for the Child and Adult Care Food Program to licensed child care centers and family day care homes. 

The Rudd Center will also target outreach to licensed child care centers and family day care homes in high priority areas to increase provider awareness and understanding of the CACFP nutrition and physical activity standards for young children in child care settings.

For any questions regarding these projects, please contact Tatiana Andreyeva, Director of Economic Initiatives at the Rudd Center. 

News To Chew On

New York Times
We Need Better Answers on Nutrition

Daily Mail
Exposed: Restaurant Tricks That are Putting Your Child's Health at Risk by Exposing Them to 'Jaw-dropping' Levels of Salt, Fat, and Sugar

ABC News
'Soda Tax' Associated with 50 Percent Drop in Sugary Drink Consumption in Berkeley, California

Eater London
Mayor of London Introduces 'Junk Food' Advertising Ban Across Travel Networks

Medical Xpress
Pregnant Women Facing Weight Stigma See Decreased Physical and Mental Heath, Study Finds

Food Navigator
Chile's Food Regulations are Changing the Country's Eating Habits