Rudd Center In The News
Improving the nutrition of fast-food kids’ meals is important to public health. Childhood obesity rates have skyrocketed over the past four decades, with no improvement in recent years. In the U.S., 58 percent of children ages 6 to 8 and 41 percent of preschoolers are overweight or obese.
McDonald’s recently announced a major commitment to improve the nutrition quality of its kids’ meals. Globally, at least 50 percent of Happy Meal bundles, which include a main dish, side and drink, will meet nutrition limits on calories, saturated fat, added sugar and sodium set by McDonald’s. In the U.S., the restaurant will use strategies such as not listing cheeseburgers or chocolate milk on Happy Meal menus – but providing the items if customers ask – to meet this goal.
“Unfortunately, when we look at the marketing of foods that children and adolescents see on TV, overall, it is overwhelmingly for unhealthy foods,” said the study’s co-author, Frances Fleming Milici, who is a research associate at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. “About two-thirds of food ads promoted fast foods, other restaurant foods, breakfast cereals, candy and snack foods. Mostly foods that (we know from other research) are high in sugar, fat and sodium.”
One Green Planet
New U.S. research has found that parents can significantly improve the nutritional value of their child's pack lunch by swapping sugary fruit drinks for a healthy beverage. Carried out by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut and the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin, the new study looked at the pack lunches prepared by parents at 30 early care and education centers in Texas for 607 preschool-age children ages 3 to 5.
Parents who pack lunches for their young children can dramatically improve the nutrition quality of the meals by including a healthy beverage – either plain milk or 100 percent fruit juice, according to a new study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut and the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin.