Press Releases

10/16/2019: Sweetened Drinks Represented 62% of Children's Drink Sales in 2018

Fruit drinks and flavored waters that contain added sugars and/or low-calorie (diet) sweeteners dominated sales of drinks intended for children in 2018, making up 62% of the $2.2 billion in total children’s drink sales, according to Children’s Drink FACTS 2019, a new report from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut. 

Researchers assessed the top-selling brands of children’s drinks—including 34 sweetened drinks (fruit drinks, flavored waters, and drink mixes) and 33 drinks without added sweeteners (100% juice, juicewater blends, and one sparkling water)—analyzing sales, advertising spending, children’s exposure to TV advertising, nutritional content, and product packaging. Findings indicate one-third of all children’s fruit drinks contained 16 grams or more of sugar per serving— equivalent to 4 teaspoons, which is more than half of the maximum amount of added sugars experts recommend for children per day. 

06/28/2019: Weight-Based Bullying Among LGBTQ Youth Association With Increased Frequency of Binge Eating, Unhealthy Weight Control, and Poor Weight-Related Health

Approximately 20% of U.S. adolescents have obesity, and sexual minority females are even more likely to have higher body weight compared to their heterosexual peers, making them particularly vulnerable to weight-based teasing and bullying. While recent evidence suggests that many LGBTQ youth report experiencing weight-based bullying, this is the first study to examine how weight bullying affects eating behaviors, dieting, and weight-related health among this population.

The study, published in Appetite, is the first large-scale evidence of links between weight-based bullying, unhealthy eating behaviors, and weight-related health in LGBTQ youth, with findings revealing that LGBTQ youth who are teased or bullied about their body weight are more likely to engage in unhealthy eating behaviors, such as binge eating, unhealthy weight control, and dieting, and to have poor weightrelated health, 

06/03/2019: Increased Substance Use and Poorer Mental Health Found Among LGBTQ Adolescents Experiencing Weight-Based Bullying

Research has found that weight-based victimization contributes to poor health in youth, including substance use and poorer emotional well-being. However, the harms of weight-based victimization have received almost no attention in LGBTQ youth, despite high rates of obesity and high risk for victimization and psychological distress. The study, published in Health Psychology, reports on findings from over 9,000 LGBTQ adolescents across the country who completed questionnaires examining their experiences of victimization, health, family relationships and school experiences. 

Study findings showed that LGBTQ youth who reported being teased or bullied about their weight had increased risk of alcohol use, binge drinking, marijuana use, cigarette use, as well as poorer self-rated health, higher depressive symptoms, and lower self-esteem. These findings persisted regardless of adolescents' demographic characteristics, body weight, sexual identity, gender identity, and sexual or gender minority victimization. 

03/28/2019: Average Greenhouse Gas Emissions Lower for Households Spending Less on Red Meat

Recent research estimated that greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. household food purchasing accounted for 16% of total emissions in the United States in 2013. More specifically, animal-based foods, especially red meat, have been shown to be particularly carbon intensive to produce. For that reason, previous studies have suggested that reduced demand for red meat could have positive environmental effects by driving down greenhouse gas emissions in the food system. By shifting away from red meat, U.S. consumers may also experience improved nutritional quality and health benefits. 

This study used item-level food purchase and acquisition data to examine U.S. household food purchasing patterns and found that households spending less of their food budget on red meat generate lower levels of greenhouse gas emissions have higher diet quality. 

03/19/2019: "Meal Kits" and Recipe Tastings Increase Selection of Healthy Foods Among Food Pantry Clients

Nearly 40 million Americans face hunger, and many rely on the food banking system to supplement the groceries needed to feed themselves and their families. Consequently, it is essential to maximize the nutritional quality of food available through food pantries. At the same time, it is also important to encourage food pantry clients to select these healthier options. 

This study, published in Public Health Nutrition, introduced meal kits in food pantries to see whether this encouraged selections of nutrient dense foods, and it found that cllients were three times as likely to take kale and whole grains when meal kits were offered. 

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