Rudd Center In The News

03/26/2019: 10 everyday ways to foster a healthy body image in your child

“Try to avoid making any negative judgments and comments about your own body,” she said, offering “I’m so fat” or “I don’t have the ‘right’ body to wear X” as examples. “Think specifically about how we communicate with our children and in front of our children about our own weight or physical appearance,” said Rebecca Puhl, a professor in the department of human development and family sciences and the deputy director for the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut. “As parents, we need to communicate respect for people of diverse body sizes,” she continued. “This means working on our own body image and feeling comfortable with our own bodies as well and being mindful of how we express these feelings to our children.”

Huffington Post

03/18/2019: How Fast Food Advertisements Get Under Your Skin, Wether You Realize It Or Not

Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives at the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, and her team constantly publish papers on the correlation between fast food marketing and childhood obesity. Like Gearhardt, she thinks teenagers are especially vulnerable to junk food ads, more so than children 12 and under. “Teenagers don’t have well-developed cognitive control mechanisms,” Harris told HuffPost. “Their frontal cortex doesn’t develop until the early 20s, so they’re very impulsive.” Tack on peer pressure, that they’re hyper reward-oriented, that no protections exist for them and the fact they have access to money, teenagers are fast food companies’ ideal demographic. However, Rudd published a study in January 2019 on how fast food companies have increased their targeting to black and Hispanic communities, an already susceptible-to-obesity demographic. “From a public health perspective, they’re the last consumers you want to be pushing fast food, soda and candy to,” Harris said. 

Huffington Post

03/17/2019: Plus-size actresses finally assume leading roles

“I do think we are starting to see somewhat of a shift,” said Rebecca Puhl, a professor at the University of Connecticut where she is deputy director Rudd Center for Food Policy and ObesityAccording to Puhl, research conducted by her institution has found decades worth of evidence documenting weight stigma in the entertainment industry, where characters with a larger body size “are often ridiculed, depicted engaging in stereotypical behavior like eating or binge eating. “They’re also less likely to be shown having positive social interaction,” she adds. That bias is even more pronounced in children’s television, with large characters portrayed as “as being aggressive or antisocial or unfriendly.” The phenomenon both mirrors and reinforces real word discrimination, adds Puhl, with studies showing that stigmatising images in the media increase bias.

Daily Times

03/15/2019: How Big Tobacco Hooked Children on Sugary Drinks

Experts said tobacco executives had a keen appreciation for the importance of earning customer loyalty at an early age. Jennifer Harris, who studies corporate marketing at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, said introducing sweetened beverages to young children can have lifelong implications. “If a kid gets used to drinking Kool-Aid instead of water, they are always going to prefer a sugary beverage,” said Ms. Harris, who was not involved in the study. “And the advertising creates positive associations with these products in the minds of children.”

NY Times

03/13/2019: CT Food Pantries to Offer More Nutritional Items

A recent survey of a sample of food pantries conducted by the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity found that food quality was “mid-range, not as bad as we suspected, but there’s certainly room for improvement,” said Kristen Cooksey Stowers, a postdoctoral fellow at Rudd. Pantry directors in Bridgeport, Cheshire and Hartford said that space limitations and lack of refrigeration are barriers to change and expressed concern that if they only relied on fresh food, they wouldn’t have enough inventory, Stowers said. Food pantry clients, Stowers said, expressed interest in having more nutritious choices to improve their health.

Connecticut Post

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