September 2016 Newsletter

Rudd Center Recent Publications

JAMA Internal Medicine published invited commentary Sept. 19 by UConn Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz. In her article, "Incentive and Restriction in Combination - Make Food Assistance Healthier With Carrots and Sticks," Dr. Schwartz discusses an ongoing debate about whether to use incentives or restrictions in improving the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to support healthy eating and nutrition. Her view is that an approach with both incentives and limits can move the discussion forward. "It not only solves the problem of choosing between incentives and restrictions, but if the incentives provide a higher rate of benefits and the program is presented as an option to participants, it should also alleviate concerns about paternalism and condescension aimed at low-income Americans," Dr. Schwartz wrote. "Because there is pilot evidence that this strategy leads to meaningful improvements to diet, arguments that these changes won't work should be alleviated."

The Journal of Children and Media celebrated its 10th anniversary by sharing an archive of 20 influential articles, which are available online for free. Among these 20 articles is a 2012 Rudd Center study by co-authors including Jennifer Harris, Director of Economic Initiatives, and Dr. Schwartz: "US Food Company Branded Advergames on the Internet: Children's exposure and effects on snack consumption."

Rudd Center in the News

UConn Rudd Center Deputy Director Rebecca Puhl was interviewed by medical writer Gina Kolata of The New York Times for a Sept. 25 article on how patients with obesity can best deal with their physicians, some of whom can be insensitive and add to the weight stigma the patient is experiencing inside and outside the health care system.   

Dr. Puhl commented on the prevalence of weight bias in The New York Times Sept. 29, for an article on Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's remarks and the national dialogue on weight discrimination that his public comments helped trigger.

CNN also quoted Dr. Puhl Sept. 29 in a piece on the discussion on weight bias sparked by Donald Trump's public comments: "Weight bias is bigger problem than you may think, experts say."

UConn Rudd Center Director of Marketing Initiatives Jennifer Harris was featured in a Sept. 26 radio broadcast of Inside School Food on her recent report showing that look-alike Smart Snacks sold in schools are causing confusion among students and parents. The 35-minute episode with radio host Laura Stanley is called "Smart Snacks and sneaky snacks."

Dr. Harris was quoted in a Sept. 1 Forbes magazine column headlined: "Junk Food Makers Market Look-Alike 'Smart Snacks' In Schools To Mislead Kids, Study Says."  The study found that "kids think the healthier Smart Snacks they can buy in school are the same products that are sold in stores," Harris said. "It's confusing because the packaging for these look-alike Smart Snacks looks so much like the less nutritious versions that kids see advertised on TV and in the stores. And this is a great marketing tool; the snack makers get to sell their products in schools and at the same time market their unhealthy brands to kids every school day."

The study raising concerns about "look-alike" Smart Snacks was featured in several other media outlets in September, including The Daily Campus (UConn), Science Blog, and Organic Authority.

A HealthDay News article, "Carrot-Stick Approach: A Way to Get Folks to Eat More Veggies, Fruits," quoted UConn Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz. WebMD also featured her comments.

An opinion piece by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO, Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, featured the Rudd Center's 2015 plate waste study. The Sept. 20 article in The Star-Ledger of New Jersey highlighted the success of the USDA's updated school meal standards. 

What's Simmering With Our Friends

The National Drinking Water Alliance (NDWA), a coalition of non-profit groups, academic institutions and advocates, works to ensure that all children have access to safe drinking water in the places where they live, learn and play. Too many children choose sugar-sweetened beverages, the top source of added sugars for all children, according to the alliance. "The NDWA is working to make zero-calorie water First for Thirst."

The NDWA recently launched a new online clearinghouse for drinking water research, policy, access and education. provides users with hundreds of useful toolkits, research studies, fact sheets, promotional materials and policy papers, as well as the latest developments in the field. Learn more here.

News to Chew On
Beverage association sues to block soda tax
The Sacramento Bee
More reasons for kids to cut down on added sugar
Boulder soda tax is ballot-bound
The New York Times
How the Sugar Industry Shifted Blame to Fat
The Milford Mercury (UK)
Jamie Oliver says Theresa May has let down every child in Britain over obesity
The New York Times
Can Teenage Defiance Be Manipulated for Good
U.S. News & World Report
Overweight Kids Often Shunned, Bullied
STAT via PBS News Hour
How the sugar industry artificially sweetened Harvard research
Health Leaders Media
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO to Step Down
US Agnet
Broccoli vs. French Fries: Curbing a Teen’s Unhealthy Eating
What to say (or not to say) to a child who is overweight  
Popular Science
Teens Who Understand Food Marketing Make Healthier Choices
Progressive Grocer
Why Do We Continue to Eat Unhealthfully
Healthy Food America
Latest soda tax campaign developments
Dallas Morning News
Weight Bias Among Health Care Providers Harms Patients with Obesity, According to Osteopathic Physicians
Medical Xpress
Just how much sugar do Americans consume