February 2020 Newsletter

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Recent Publications

What Words Should We Use to Talk About Weight? A Systematic Review of Quantitative and Qualitative Studies Examining Preferences for Weight-Related Terminology

The words used to refer to people’s body weight can affect their self-perceptions, attitudes, and behaviors, which is why it is important to use terminology that reduces stigma and motivates positive health behaviors. But, the best ways to communicate about body weight and obesity are not clear, as different groups both utilize and prefer different terminology. In a new review of 33 studies examining preferences for weight-related terminology, Rudd Center Deputy Director, Rebecca Puhl, finds that across studies, neutral terminology such as “weight” or “unhealthy weight” is preferred, and words such as “obese” and “fat” are the least acceptable.

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US Toddler Milk Sales and Associations with Marketing Practices

According to nutrition experts, the next step for most children transitioning from breastmilk or infant formula is whole milk and water. According to formula manufacturers, it is toddler milk, a powdered, milk-based product containing added sweeteners and vegetable solids. Compared to plain whole milk, toddler milks have more sugar, more sodium, and less protein.

The World Health Organization has been critical of the marketing of toddler drinks, asking countries to limit direct marketing of breast milk substitutes — including toddler milks — directly to consumers. Despite these expert recommendations, findings from this study indicate formula companies quadrupled their advertising of toddler milk products over a ten-year period, contributing to a 2.6 times increase in the amount of toddler milk sold.

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Distressed or Not Distressed? A Mixed Methods Examination of Reactions to Weight Stigma and Implications for Emotional Wellbeing and Internalized Weight Bias

People react to, and are affected by, stigmatizing experiences in different ways. When it comes to weight in particular, societal stigma towards individuals with larger bodies can result in a variety of reactions and coping mechanisms. In the first study to employ a mixed method design to examine reactions to weight stigma, researchers found that participants who were still distressed from these encounters reported their higher body weight and related stigma as a prominent factor in their self-perception, resulting in more self-blame and poorer mental health. Those who were no longer distressed engaged in self-acceptance and prioritized health over appearance, resulting in lower internalization and positive health outcomes.

» read more

Rudd Center In The News

School Lunch Overhaul Led to Healthier Meals for U.S. Kids
Featured: Marlene Schwartz, Director

A Little Scoop: Unilever Will Stop Marketing to Kids in an Effort to Curb Childhood Obesity
Featured: Frances Fleming-Milici, Director of Marketing Initiatives

When it Comes to Milk You Should Go Full-Fat, Especially With Kids
Featured: Yoon Choi, Statistician

The Ominous Rise of Toddler Milk
Featured: Yoon Choi, Statistician

The Great Body-Acceptance Debate
Featured: Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director

Being Overweight Benefits Some Men in the Workplace, But Not Women
Featured: Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director

On the Menu: Food Bank Nutrition Guidelines

Today, leading health experts released a comprehensive set of evidence-based guidelines to help food banks and food pantries, collectively known as the charitable food system, improve the nutritional quality of the items they provide to individuals and families. The guidelines focus on increasing access to healthier food choices, including fruits and vegetables, whole grains, low-fat dairy products and lean proteins, with an easy-to-understand system that organizes and ranks products according to the amounts of saturated fat, sodium and added sugar they contain.

The full report, “Healthy Eating Research Nutrition Guidelines for the Charitable Food System,” and accompanying recommendations are being released today at the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference in Washington, DC. They can also be accessed here

What's Simmering With Our Friends?

Centering Community in Public Health Webinar Series
The Praxis Project

The Praxis Project has worked with community allies and partners to launch their Centering Community in Public Health Webinar Series. In their first webinar, they are introducing Praxis' Working Principles for Health Justice and Racial Equity as the guiding frame to center community interests in the design, promotion, and implementation of policies and initiatives that support justice and health equity for everyone. These principles hold health equity work accountable to a vision in which community organizers, affected communities, advocates and policymakers transform the systems that lead to inequity through community-centered initiatives. 

Register for the webinar here.

Every Little Bit Helps: Leveraging State Investment to Expand Head Start's Reach
Voices for Healthy Kids

A new policy brief, More Important than Ever: State Investments in Head Start and Early Head Start to Support At-Risk Children and Families, describes the innovative models and best practices 14 states are currently using to apply over $400 million each budget cycle to expand Head Start's impact in providing heath, nutrition, education, and family support services to at-risk children and their families. More Important Than Ever was created through a partnership between the National Head Start Association (NHSA) and Voices for Healthy Kids, an initiative of the American Heart Association with support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and it is based on information gathered directly from state government partners and state Head Start associations.
Read the key takeaways of More Important Than Ever in a new blog post, We Must Address the Surge in Adverse Childhood Experiences.

Healthy Partnerships: Obesity Care Week

Obesity Care Week is an annual public awareness effort supported by more than 50 countries worldwide and more than 55 healthcare-focused organizations. From advocating for fair treatment of obesity to ending weight bias, OCW aims to raise awareness, educate and advocate for a better world for people living with obesity.
The UConn Rudd Center is a proud Champion of Obesity Care Week. We recognize that obesity is a complex, chronic disease affecting more than 650 million people globally and believe that together, we can make this a better world for people living with obesity. You can learn more about Obesity Care Week and how you can get involved by signing up for OCW2020 Alerts at ObesityCareWeek.org/ocw-alerts.

News to Chew On

Food Navigator
Junk Food Advertising: WHO Calls for Legally Binding Treaty to End 'Predatory Commercial Practices'

The Guardian
How Ultra-Processed Food Took Over Your Shopping Basket
The Washington Post
Perspective: Food for Thought - and Health. The Right Diet for Patients Can Improve Outcomes and Reduce Costs
New York Daily News
One Rotten Attack on School Meals

The New York Times
Half of Us Face Obesity, Dire Projections Show

'They Literally Take Food Off Their Table'

The New York Times
Are Foods Labeled 'Low Sugar' Misleading Consumers?