July 2020 Newsletter

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Recent Publications

Wellness School Assessment Tool Version 3.0: An Updated Quantitative Measure of Written School Wellness

Schools play an important role in promoting student wellness, and over the past 15 years, local district wellness policies have been required in all school districts participating in federal child nutrition programs. Originally, these wellness policies were required to include goals to promote student wellness, nutritional guidelines for all foods available on school grounds during the school day, a plan for measuring implementation, and the involvement of community members in developing the policy.
To help schools and districts measure their compliance with these requirements, the WellSAT was published in 2009. In 2010, however, the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act added new requirements for school wellness policies, which were put into effect in 2016. As a result, the WellSAT was adapted to meet needs in the field. This article describes how the measure was updated in 2018 to WellSAT 3.0 in response to the most recent changes in the federal law, research, and expert feedback.

Read the full article here

Rudd Center In The News

How to Instill a Healthy Attitude About Exercise in Your Kids
Featured: Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director

Citizen Petition Argues Toddler Milks Threaten Children's Health and Pose 'Economic Harm' to Families
Featured: Jennifer Harris, Senior Research Advisor, Marketing Initiatives

You Might Want to Think Twice About Drinking Kool-Aid. Here's Why
Featured: UConn Rudd Center

Kraft Heinz and Kellogg Temporarily Halt Some Child-Focused Ads During Pandemic
Featured: UConn Rudd Center

What's Simmering With Our Friends?

2019 Progress Report
Partnership for a Healthier America

This month, Partnership for a Healthier America released their 2019 progress report explaining a shift in their strategic plan to focus more closely on the food supply and food landscape. Over the years, and in 2019 in particular, PHA has amassed a great body of knowledge and data around who our food supply is failing and who is most disadvantaged as a byproduct of decades of systemic oppression. Equipped with these learnings, PHA has positioned themselves to confront the challenges that have seized the national spotlight in 2020.

Read the report here. 

COVID-19 Community Response: Emerging Themes Across Sentinel Communities
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The coronavirus pandemic has elevated and exacerbated deep-seated inequities in communities across the U.S. Through the Sentinel Communities project, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and RAND Corporation will follow the experiences of nine diverse communities to offer insights for navigating a more equitable pandemic recovery.
Learn about how these counties and cities have fared from the start of the pandemic through early June 2020. The next round of findings will be released in fall 2020. What factors have shaped the #COVID19 response in your community?

Read more about the project here

WIC and COVID Brief
Healthy Eating Research

During the coronavirus pandemic, unemployment has risen to levels greater than experienced during the Great Recession, and food insecurity has also increased, making WIC’s role more important than ever. A new issue brief from Healthy Eating Research discusses the WIC program’s key challenges, needs, and program adaptations resulting from COVID-19. It also identifies policy opportunities to strengthen WIC after COVID-19.

Read the brief here

Fresh From the Oven: FDA Citizen Petition

On July 28, leading nutrition experts, child health organizations, advocates, and researchers petitioned the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to establish regulations for labeling “toddler milks” (also known as “toddler formula” or “toddler drinks”). They recommended additional regulations to ensure that caregivers are not misled into purchasing nutritionally inferior and unnecessary products for their infants and toddlers. 

To learn more about toddler milks and the petition, read the most recent blog post from the State of Childhood Obesity blog, featuring Jennifer Harris, senior research advisor at the Rudd Center.

Coming Soon: El Susto

El Susto comes to Connecticut! An inspiring new documentary about the epic battle between public health activists and the powerful beverage industry in Mexico that led to the first national soda tax, El Susto will have its Connecticut premiere as part of the New Haven Docs Film Festival. 

Watch the trailer here.

The festival will take place online August 18-23, 2020.  For more information, go to http://www.nhdocs.com/ or www.elsustomovie.com.

News to Chew On

Rep. Marcia Fudge Introduces Bill to Provide Free School Meals to All Students During 2020-21 School Year

Washington Post
U.S. Dietary Guideline Recommendations Take Aim at Sugar for Children and Adults

Civil Eats
Should the Dietary Guidelines Help Fight Systemic Racism?
New York Times
Why Hunger Can Grow Even When Poverty Doesn't
‘It’s Insane’: Millions of Kids Could Lose Access to Free Meals if this Program Expires

Fighting Food Insecurity Amid COVID-19, Groups Advocate for 15% Food Stamp Boost

Black Urban Farmers in the U.S. Sow Seeds to End 'Food Apartheid'