Press Releases

02/22/2018: Packing a Healthy Beverage in Preschooler's Lunch Makes a Big Difference

Parents who pack lunches for their young children can dramatically improve the nutrition quality of the meals by including a healthy beverage - either plain mik or 100 percent fruit juice, according to a new study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut and the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living at The University of Texas Health Science Center in Houston (UTHealth) School of Public Health in Austin. The study shows that some parents who pack lunches for their children ages 3 to 5 appear to be confusing fruit drinks, which have added sugar and are not recommended by health experts, with 100 percent fruit juice, which has no added sugar and is recommended at certain serving sizes (4-6 ounces per day for children 3 to 5).

12/11/2017: Preschoolers Still See TV Food Commercials Even Though Companies Promised Not to Direct Their Advertising to Children Under Six

Preschool children ages 2 to 5 continue to view TV ads for foods and beverages daily, revealing a loophole in major food companies' pledges that they will not direct any advertising to children under 6, according to a new study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut.

The study also showed that the advertisements appeal to children under 6 as much as they appeal to older children 9 (ages 6-11) who companies say they are directing their ads towards. In addition, preschoolers were less likely to have tried the advertised products before seeing the ads, which research has shown makes them more susceptible to the influence of these ads.

11/20/2017: American Academy of Pediatrics Policy Statement Calls For Improved Care, Advocacy to Address Weight Stigma

Being teased or bullied about weight is one of the most common reasons that youth are victimized, and these experiences have serious consequences for emotional and physical health. With high rates of overweight and obesity in America’s youth, millions are vulnerable to weight stigma and its harmful effects.

In response to this widespread problem, the American Academy of Pediatrics has issued its first policy statement on weight stigma. The academy’s policy, published today in Pediatrics, seeks to raise awareness about the negative effects of weight stigma on youth, and provides clinical practice and advocacy recommendations for health professionals to help reduce weight stigma in the medical setting and the broader community. “This policy statement is a call to action to encourage pediatric professionals to address weight bias as part of their efforts to improve the quality of life for vulnerable youth and adolescents,” said Rebecca Puhl, an author of the policy statement. Puhl is Deputy Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut, and Professor of Human Development and Family Studies. 

11/14/2017: Food Swamps Predict Obesity Rates Better Than Food Deserts, Study Shows

Food deserts or neighborhoods with limited access to affordable, nutritious food have been identified as one possible driver of the nation's obesity epidemic. However, a new study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut suggests that living in a food swamp - defined as a neighborhood where fast food and junk food outlets inundate healthy alternatives - is a stronger predictor of high obesity rates.

This new study is the first to compare food swamps to food deserts, and measure their association with obesity rates using national, county-level data. Importantly, the results show that food swamps are distinct from food deserts. This has policy implications for local communities interested in stemming rising obesity and promoting health equity.

11/09/2017: The Ways that People Cope with Weight Stigma May Have Important Health Implications

Considerable evidence has linked the experience of being teased or bullied because of weight to poor health. Yet few studies have explored how individuals cope with being mistreated because of their weight, or the role that coping responses to weight stigma may play in health outcomes. The findings of a new study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut show that coping responses to weight stigma help explain why experiencing weight stigma can affect negative or positive health outcomes. Coping with weight stigma by engaging in healthy lifestyle behaviors (like exercise or eating healthy foods) was associated with better health, including greater self-esteem, better physical and psychological wellbeing, and less frequent depressive symptoms. Responding to weight stigma with negative emotions and maladaptive eating (such as starving, bingeing or purging) were linked with more depressive symptoms, lower selfesteem and worse physical and emotional health, according to the study. 

More Press Releases