Rudd Center In The News
A new study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut has found that most students adjust to drinking plain milk after flavored milk is removed from school lunch menus. Flavored milk served in the National School Lunch Program contains up to 10 grams of added sugar per serving, which is 40 percent of a child’s daily allowance of added sugar. Given the nation’s key public health target of limiting added sugars in children’s diets, flavored milk has come under scrutiny in the context of school nutrition. The study measured plain milk selection and consumption in the years after flavored milk was removed in two schools. During the first year without flavored milk, 51.5 percent of students selected plain milk. Two years later, 72 percent of students selected plain milk. Both years, student selection and consumption of plain milk dropped significantly on days when 100 percent fruit juice was also available.
Most elementary and middle school students attending the summer session at George Washington High School interviewed during a recent school lunch said they didn't care whether chocolate milk was offered or not. Sebastian Ong, 8, said chocolate milk is "yummy and delicious," and the absence of it at school would be "a bummer, but whatever." But banning chocolate milk might not be the best choice for every school, said Marlene Schwartz, director of the University of Connecticut Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. There are students who strongly prefer flavored milk and who might have nutritional deficiencies, Schwartz said. It might make more sense to offer chocolate milk to such children ensure they get the calcium, vitamin D and potassium they need, she said. "You kind of have to know your student body," Schwartz said. "Districts have to make an informed decision."
The New York Times
Lead author Mary S. Himmelstein, a postdoctoral fellow at the Rudd Center, stated that “our results suggest that we need to identify effective strategies for coping with weight stigma, and prioritize increasing racial and ethnic diversity in research on weight stigma. Failure to meaningfully examine racial identity means missing important and unique experiences which contribute to obesity-related health disparities.”
The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education
Television ads for primarily unhealthy foods and beverages represented more than 75 percent of food-related ads viewed last year by youth, despite a downward trend in food-related ads viewed by children and adolescents, according to a new report from the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. In 2016, fast food was the most advertised category to individuals in all age groups, representing 26 percent of food-related ads viewed by children (ages 2-11) and 31 percent by adolescents (ages 12-17). From 2015 to 2016, children were exposed to 19 percent more ads for carbonated beverages and 38 percent more ads for juice, fruit drinks, and sports drinks.
06/08/2017: Race and Gender Affect Response to Weight Stigma
A new study by researchers at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at UConn has found that although people of all races and genders are stigmatized for being overweight, there are differences in how particular groups – Asian, black, and Hispanic, and white men and women – respond to that stigma. The study is published today in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. “We found differences both by gender and race,” says Mary Himmelstein, a UConn Rudd Center postdoctoral fellow and the study’s lead author. “Women were more likely than men to blame themselves for being stigmatized, while black and Hispanic individuals were less likely to blame themselves for being stigmatized compared with white individuals.”