Press Releases

11/09/2020: Concerns About Child’s Weight Increase Risk for Family Weight Teasing

Parental concerns about child’s weight and encouraging their child to diet increase the likelihood of weight-based teasing by family members, according to a new study from researchers at the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and the University of Minnesota. Adolescents teased about their weight by family members were also found to have higher levels of stress and substance use and lower self-esteem in young adulthood. 

10/21/2020: Structural and Social Barriers in Food Access Contribute to Higher Risks of Obesity and Food Insecurity Among Food Pantry Clients

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, 11% of American households experience food insecurity, with that number currently reaching 44% as a result of the COVID19 pandemic. Further, those burdened by food insecurity are known to be at an increased risk of overweight and obesity due to a lack of affordable, healthy options. While past work on this topic has focused on federal food and nutrition assistance programs such as SNAP, the food banking system is another important resource for those experiencing hunger.

The study, published in PLOS One, reports on in-depth interviews conducted with 10 key stakeholders (e.g., food bank directors, food bank board members, advocates, elected officials) who are familiar with the food banking system in a professional capacity. The data reveals a strong consensus among these stakeholders that both structural and social characteristics of the food banking system play a role in health disparities. 

09/10/2020: Weight stigma predicts emotional distress and binge eating during COVID-19

Links between obesity and complications of COVID-19 have received increasing attention throughout the pandemic. But a different aspect of body weight – the social stigma that people face because of their weight - may also have harmful implications for people’s health during the pandemic. New research from the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and the University of Minnesota shows that young adults who experienced weight stigma before the pandemic have higher levels of depressive symptoms, stress, eating as a coping strategy, and are more likely to binge-eat during COVID-19 compared to those who haven’t experienced weight stigma. 

06/23/2020: Beverage Companies Spent More than $1 Billion in Advertising for Sugary Drinks and Energy Drinks in 2018

Beverage companies spent $1.04 billion to advertise sugary drinks and energy drinks in 2018, a 26% increase compared to 2013, according to Sugary Drinks FACTS 2020, a new report from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut. The report documents continued extensive targeted advertising of sugary drinks by beverage companies directed to Black and Hispanic youth, which contributes to health disparities affecting communities of color. 

06/15/2020: Many LGBTQ adolescents report experiences of victimization that extend beyond their sexual and gender orientations

91% of LGBTQ adolescents in a US survey report at least one experience of bias-based bullying, according to a new study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine by researchers at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut. This number is more than double estimates from previous studies with predominantly heterosexual youth. The study reports findings from the LGBTQ National Teen Survey, a comprehensive survey conducted in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign to assess victimization, health behaviors, family relationships, and experiences of LGBTQ adolescents across the United States.

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