October 2019 Newsletter

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Recent Publications

Children's Drink FACTS 2019: Sales, Nutrition, and Marketing of Children's Drinks

Sugary drinks contribute almost one-half of added sugars consumed by children, and fruit drinks (fruit-flavored drinks with added sugars) are the most common type of sugary drink for young children. Health and nutrition experts recommend that children should not consume any drinks with added sugars or low-calorie sweeteners, and that caregivers limit children’s consumption of 100% juice.
 
Rudd Center researchers assessed the sales, nutrition, and marketing of children’s drinks, defined as drinks that companies market as intended for children to consume (in marketing to parents and/or directly to children), and found that 65% of sweetened fruit drinks and flavored waters contained added sugars and 74% contained low-calorie sweeteners. The study also found that images of fruit appeared on 85% of children’s sweetened drink packages, regardless of whether the product contained any fruit juice.

Read the full report here

Marketing Claims on Infant Formula and Toddler Milk Packages: What do Caregivers Think They Mean?

Inappropriate marketing of infant formula, including potentially misleading nutrition and health claims on product packages, discourages breastfeeding initiation and continuation and raises public health concerns. In a 2017 analysis, infant formula packages averaged 5.9 nutrition claims and 3.1 messages about children’s development. In addition, all packages included some type of message about breastfeeding, but none clearly stated the superiority of breastfeeding or risks of formula feeding.
 
In this study, Rudd Center researchers surveyed caregivers to assess their understanding of the meaning of common claims on an infant formula or toddler milk package, including benefits for their child and how these products compare to breastfeeding or serving healthy foods. Findings revealed that 70% of caregivers agreed that toddler milks are good drinks for toddlers, even though experts do not recommend toddler milks or the added sugars they contain for young children.  

Read the full brief here

Rudd Center In The News

Top 34 Bestselling 'Fruit' Drinks for Kids Deemed Unhealthy
Featured: Jennifer Harris, Director of Marketing Initiatives

Pressuring Kids to Diet Can Backfire, Damaging Long-Term Health
Featured: Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director

Sweet Excess: How the Baby Food Industry Hooks Toddlers on Sugar, Salt, and Fat
Featured: Jennifer Harris, Director of Marketing Initiatives

How Children Get Hooked on Sugary Drinks
Featured: Jennifer Harris, Director of Marketing Initiatives

What's Simmering With Our Friends? 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

State of Childhood Obesity

The State of Childhood Obesity: Helping All Children Grow Up Healthy is a project of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that provides data on national and state childhood obesity rates through maps and interactives, details about policies that can help address the epidemic, new expert commentaries, and stories about communities taking action.
 
New data show 15.4% (4.8 million) of U.S. children ages 10 to 17 have obesity, with rates varying widely state by state. To access the full materials, click here.

Culture of Health Prize

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize elevates the compelling stories of community members throughout the country who are working together in new ways so that everyone can live their healthiest life possible, regardless of who they are or how much money they make. Communities can compete to receive a $25,000 prize and the chance to share their accomplishments with the nation.
 
The application deadline is November 4, 2019 at 3 pm. Click here to learn more.

Fresh From the Oven

Kid Food by Bettina Elias Siegel

In Kid Food, nationally recognized writer and food advocate Bettina Elias Siegel explores one of the fundamental challenges of modern parenting: trying to raise healthy eaters in a society intent on pushing children in the opposite direction. Siegel dives deep into the many influences that make feeding children healthfully today so difficult—from the prevailing belief that kids will only eat highly processed “kid food” to the near-constant barrage of “special treats.”
 
To learn more about the book, click here

Join the Bunch: We're Hiring!

The Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut is seeking a Postdoctoral Fellow to contribute to research on nutrition, food marketing, and health disparities. Responsibilities include nutritional analyses, quantitative and qualitative data collection, data analyses, literature reviews, grant writing and writing scientific papers. Additional duties include supervising and mentoring undergraduate and graduate students, including dietetics interns’ research rotation. We welcome all PhD candidates who will be defending their thesis by May 2020 to apply. This is a full time, annually renewable position with a preferred, but flexible, start date of January 1, 2020. The role has a maximum duration of 2 years.

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

News To Chew On

CNN
Why You Don't Know How Much Artificial Sweetener You're Feeding Your Child

New York Times
How to Break Out of the Children's Menu Trap
 
Channel News Asia
School Lunches Keep Japan's Kids Topping Nutrition Lists
 
CNN
Singapore to be First Banning Ads on Sugary Drinks

Washington Post
What Parents Should Know About How Living Near Fast-Food Outlets Could Affect their Children

WBUR
'Never Too Young to Start Cooking': Nonprofit Teaches Kids How to Prepare Nutritious Meals

Pew Trusts
As Rural Groceries Fade Away, Lawmakers Wonder Whether to Act