November 2019 Newsletter

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Season of Giving

Today, people around the world will come together to celebrate generosity and make an impact as part of Giving Tuesday. We know there are so many charities deserving of your support at this time of year, and as you consider your year-end giving, we hope you'll think of the Rudd Center. 

Why support the Rudd Center?

Contributions go towards new research publications, parent resources, educational videos, school wellness assessment tools, multimedia galleries to combat weight bias, and more.  
At the Rudd Center, we believe that every child - regardless of who they are, where they live, and what they look like - deserves the opportunity to eat healthfully. To help make this a reality, all donations are greatly appreciated. 

To contribute, click here. Thank you for your support!

Rudd Center Recent Publications

Weight Stigma Among Sexual Minority Adults: Findings from a Matched Sample of Adults Engaged in Weight Management 

Many Americans who experience excess weight may also be familiar with the experience of societal shame and stigma. These occurrences of weight stigma are just as common among sexual minority adults as they are among heterosexual adults, according to a new study by Rudd Center researchers.

The study focused on more than 18,000 US adults enrolled in the WW program (formerly Weight Watchers) who completed surveys about their experiences of weight stigma, health behaviors, and quality of life. In total, 658 participants who identified themselves as a sexual minority were compared to 658 participants who identified themselves as heterosexual, matched on characteristics of sex, race, body weight, age, and education. 

» read more

Adolescents’ Engagement with Unhealthy Food and Beverage Brands on Social Media 

In the latest food marketing research from the Rudd Center, 70% of teens surveyed report engaging with food and beverage brands on social media and 35% engaged with at least five brands. The study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, also found that 93% of the brands that teens reported engaging with on social media were fast food, unhealthy snack foods, candy, and sugary drinks, which are primarily the brands that target them with traditional forms of advertising.

Study authors say the findings reflect how food and beverage companies use social media to reach teens. Almost 40% of teens surveyed for the study reported being on other screens (non-TV) 4 or more hours each day, where social media dominates their time.

» read more

Rudd Center In The News

Social Media is Encouraging Unhealthy Food Choices
Featured: Frances Fleming Milici, Director of Marketing Initiatives

The Fear of Fat: Our Last Acceptable Bias
Featured: Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director

The Happy Meal, A Triumph of Marketing Blamed for Childhood Obesity, Turns 40
Featured: Jennifer Harris, Senior Research Advisor, Marketing Initiatives

These Popular Kids' Drinks May be Less Healthy Than You Think
Featured: Jennifer Harris, Senior Research Advisor, Marketing Initiatives

Team Transitions

This month the Rudd Center received a three-year grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to support our ongoing research on food and beverage marketing to children. Frances Fleming-Milici, PhD and Sally Mancini, MPH will lead the Center’s research, policy and advocacy efforts for this new grant. Jennifer Harris, PhD, MBA, the primary researcher on this project for over ten years who recently retired from UConn faculty, will remain an integral part of the Center’s food marketing research as Senior Research Advisor. 

Ridge Program Spotlight

The Tufts University/University of Connecticut Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics (RIDGE) Program is a USDA extramural grants program supporting research in economics aimed at understanding and enhancing the nation’s nutrition assistance programs. RIDGE will be releasing a series of briefs highlighting successful grantee work, the first focusing on new research by Michah W. Rothbart and Amy Ellen Schwartz of the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, exploring how Universal Free Meals (UFM) helps improve educational outcomes for middle school students in New York City.
Providing all students breakfast and lunch at no cost, or UFM, eliminates the financial barrier to student participation in the School Breakfast Program (SBP) and National School Lunch Program (NSLP). Increased school meal participation has the potential to benefit students through improved healthier food access and school districts through streamlined administration and increased revenue. Michah W. Rothbart, a 2017 grantee of the Tufts/UConn RIDGE Program, leverages city and state administrative data to uncover the impact of UFM on both students and districts in New York. Read the full RIDGE Program Spotlight here.

Join the Bunch: We're Hiring!

The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position whose research strengthens or complements our key research areas, including, but not limited to, public health nutrition, federal food programs, public policy, health equity, community-engaged research, food marketing/advertising, and communications. The interdisciplinary nature of the Rudd Center is supported by having core faculty members from different academic departments, and we invite candidates from a broad range of academic disciplines and research areas to apply. 

To read the full job description and steps to apply, click here

News To Chew On

Scientific American
The War on Childhood Obesity Needs a War on Blame

Washington Post
Obesity Declined Among Toddlers on Food Assistance After Obama-Era Reforms. But Now Enrollment is Falling
New York Times
Farm Country Feeds America, But Just Try Buying Groceries There
Nearly All Toddlers , and the Majority of Babies, Eat Too Much Sugar in the US, Study Says

CT Mirror
Chocolate Milk Back in New Haven Schools - For Now

New York Times
Sugary Drink Ban Tied to Health Improvement at Medical Center

The Conversation
Your Brain on Sugar: What the Science Actually Says