June 2020 Newsletter

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Recent Publications

Sugary Drink Advertising to Youth: Continued Barrier to Public Health Progress

Sugary Drink FACTS 2020, the third in a series of reports evaluating sugary drink advertising, found that total sugary drink and energy drink advertising spending reached $1.04 billion in 2018, a 26% increase compared to 2013. The report also documents continued targeted advertising of sugary drinks by beverage companies directed to Black and Hispanic youth, the same communities that have been disproportionately impacted by COVID-19. 

Companies spent $84 million to advertise regular soda, sports drinks, and energy drinks on Spanish-language TV, an increase of 8% versus 2013 and 80% versus 2010. Compared to White children and teens, Black children saw 2.1 times as many sugary drink ads and Black teens saw 2.3 times as many. 

Access report materials here

Gay-Straight Alliances: A Mechanism of Health Risk Reduction Among Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Questioning Adolescents

By the time they reach middle school, sexual and gender minority adolescents are at heightened risk of suicide, depression, sleep troubles, and eating disorders. These health consequences often stem from the distress of being stigmatized for their sexual and gender identities, but according to new Rudd research, mistreatment for other reasons (such as weight, race/ethnicity, religion, and disability) may also be contributing to these outcomes.
73% of LGBTQ adolescents surveyed reported experiences of bias-based bullying for reasons beyond their sexual or gender identities, such as their weight, race, and religion, and each type of bullying was positively related to health risk. The presence of a Gay-Straight Alliance at school, however, was associated with less bullying of students for their weight, gender, religion, disability, and sexuality.

Read the full study here. 

Rudd Center In The News

Billions Spend on Ads Encouraging Minority Youth to Drink Sugar-Laden Beverages Despite Health Consequences
Featured: Jennifer Harris, Senior Research Advisor, Marketing Initiatives

Want to Tackle LGBTQ Bullying at Your Middle or High School? Start a Gay-Straight Alliance, Study Says
Featured: Leah Lessard, Postdoctoral Fellow

What if Doctors Stopped Prescribing Weight Loss?
Featured: Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director

Calorie Labeling - Once Fiercely Opposed by Restaurants - Could Save Thousands of Lives and Billions in Health Expenses
Featured: Marlene Schwartz, Director

Gay-Straight Alliances at School Cut Bullying for LGBTQ Youth
Featured: Leah Lessard, Postdoctoral Fellow

Beverage Companies Spent $1B Advertising to Youth in 2018, UConn Study Says
Featured: Jennifer Harris, Senior Research Advisor, Marketing Initiatives

What's Simmering With Our Friends?

Health Impact and Cost-Effectiveness of Volume, Tiered, and Absolute Sugar Content Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Tax Policies in the United States: A Microsimulation Study
American Heart Association

Sugar-sweetened beverage taxes are a rapidly growing policy tool and can be based on volume, sugar content, or absolute sugar content. According to a new simulation model from researchers at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University, all three types of taxes on sodas and other sugar-sweetened drinks could help prevent heart attacks, strokes, and diabetes while also lowering health care costs.
The research, published in Circulation, used data from three federal health surveys of adults ages 35 to 80 and calculated costs and health care savings from fewer medical screenings, treatments, medications and surgeries, and supplies. Compared to the status quo, the simulation found that over a lifetime, volume-based taxes could prevent 850,000 cardiovascular events and save $53.2 billion net health care costs.

Read the full study here. 

Engaging a Whole School Approach in Reopening Schools
UConn Collaboratory on School and Child Health

Planning for re-opening schools has further highlighted the importance of a comprehensive approach to student success and overall well-being. A whole school approach acknowledges the relationship between learning and health; non-health factors, such as education, play an important role in influencing health outcomes, and education outcomes are influenced by health factors, such as low physical activity and trauma stress reactions. 
A new brief developed by the UConn Collaboratory on School and Child Health explains the Whole School, Whole Community, Whole Child model and how schools can utilize this model to develop reopening strategies in the midst of COVID-19.

Read the full brief here

New Recipe: Obesity Communications

On September 16, 2019, the Roundtable on Obesity Solutions of the Health and Medicine Division of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine held a public workshop, Advancing Effective Obesity Communications, in Washington DC. The workshop, which included a talk by Rudd Center Deputy Director, Rebecca Puhl, explored effective communication of obesity-related issues by providing an overview of the current communications environment and addressing the complexity of developing messages for key audiences. Dr. Puhl’s presentation covered the importance of reducing weight stigma in obesity-related communication, with attention to the language and the images that are used.

The presentations and discussions that occurred at the workshop are now available through an online publication, which can be accessed here.

News to Chew On

Scientific American
The Racist Roots of Fighting Obesity

Food Inequality Crisis Deepens in U.S. Under Pandemic's Pressure

Why the Pandemic May Exacerbate the Epidemic
New York Times
Has Pandemic Snacking Lured Us Back to Big Food and Big Habits?
Physician Group Calls for Legislation to Regulate Digital Advertising and its Effect on Kids

Food Navigator
Children Under 2 Years Should Avoid All Added Sugars, Says Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee

Civil Eats
As School Meal Programs Go Broke, A Renewed Call for Universal School Lunch