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Universal School Meals in the US: What Can We Learn from the Community Eligibility Provision?

Changes in school meal programs can affect well-being of millions of American children. Since 2014, high-poverty schools and districts nationwide had an option to provide universal free meals (UFM) through the Community Eligibility Provision (CEP). The COVID-19 pandemic expanded UFM to all schools in 2020–2022. Using nationally representative data from the Early Childhood Longitudinal Study: Kindergarten Class of 2010–2011, we measured CEP effects on school meal participation, attendance, academic achievement, children’s body weight, and household food security.

Full citation: Andreyeva, T.; Sun, X. Universal School Meals in the US: What Can We Learn from the Community Eligibility Provision? Nutrients 2021, 13, 2634. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082634

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RESOURCE TYPE:
Publication
FOCUS AREAS:
Schools
RUDD AUTHORS:
Tatiana Andreyeva
Higher Fruit and Vegetable Intake Is Associated with Participation in the Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) Program

Incentivizing fruit and vegetable (F&V) purchases may help address barriers to healthy eating among populations with low income. In a repeated measures natural experiment study, we examined whether participation in the Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) program increased F&V consumption among Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) recipients.

Full citation: Atoloye, A.T.; SavoieRoskos, M.R.; Durward, C.M. Higher Fruit and Vegetable Intake Is Associated with Participation in the Double Up Food Bucks (DUFB) Program. Nutrients 2021, 13, 2607. https://doi.org/10.3390/nu13082607

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RESOURCE TYPE:
Publication
FOCUS AREAS:
Federal Food Assistance & Nutrition Programs
RUDD AUTHORS:
Abiodun Atoloye
Adolescents’ Exposure to and Experiences of Weight Stigma During the COVID-19 Pandemic

The COVID-19 pandemic has increased attention to the proliferation of pediatric obesity amidst significant changes in weight-related health functioning (e.g., compromised physical activity, limited food access, increased stress). The present cross-sectional study investigated adolescents’ feelings about their bodies and perceived changes in weight stigma from peers, parents, and social media during the pandemic.

Full citation: Lessard LM, Puhl RM. Adolescents’ Exposure to and Experiences of Weight Stigma During the COVID-19 Pandemic [published online ahead of print, 2021 Jul 27]. J Pediatr Psychol. 2021;jsab071. https://doi.org/10.1093/jpepsy/jsab071

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RESOURCE TYPE:
Publication
FOCUS AREAS:
Weight Bias & Stigma
RUDD AUTHORS:
Leah Lessard
Rebecca Puhl
Adolescents Report Increase in Weight Stigma on Social Media during COVID-19 Pandemic

During the COVID-19 pandemic, over 50% of adolescents saw more weight stigmatizing content on social media, according to a new study from researchers at the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. Teens also reported feeling worse about their bodies, which was related to increased weight stigma amid the pandemic.

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RESOURCE TYPE:
Press Release
FOCUS AREAS:
Weight Bias & Stigma
RUDD AUTHORS:
Leah Lessard
Rebecca Puhl
Health inequities in COVID-19 vaccination among the elderly: Case of Connecticut

In the United States, distribution plans for the COVID-19 vaccination were established at the state level. However, some states, such as Connecticut, followed an age-based strategy without considering occupations or co-morbid conditions due to its simplicity in implementation. This strategy raised concerns about exacerbating health inequities because it did not prioritize vulnerable communities, specifically, minorities and low-income groups. The study aims to examine the vaccination inequities among different population groups for people aged 65+.

Full citation: Hui Wang, Ran Xu, Shijin Qu, Marlene Schwartz, Aaron Adams, Xiang Chen, Health inequities in COVID-19 vaccination among the elderly: Case of Connecticut, Journal of Infection and Public Health, 2021, ISSN 1876-0341, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jiph.2021.07.013.

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RESOURCE TYPE:
Publication
FOCUS AREAS:
Uncategorized
RUDD AUTHORS:
Marlene Schwartz
Adolescent Academic Worries Amid COVID-19 and Perspectives on Pandemic-Related Changes in Teacher and Peer Relations

Despite recognition of the potential impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on secondary schooling experiences, little empirical evidence has captured adolescents’ perspectives on the extent of academic and social disruption resulting from the pandemic. The present study examined adolescents’ academic worries amid the COVID-19 pandemic and their perspectives on pandemic-related changes in teacher and peer relations.

Full citation: Lessard, L. M., & Puhl, R. M. (2021, July 22). Adolescent Academic Worries Amid COVID-19 and Perspectives on PandemicRelated Changes in Teacher and Peer Relations. School Psychology. Advance online publication. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/spq0000443

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RESOURCE TYPE:
Publication
FOCUS AREAS:
Weight Bullying
RUDD AUTHORS:
Leah Lessard
Rebecca Puhl
Evidence Supporting Nutrition Ranking in the Charitable Food System

SWAP (Supporting Wellness at Pantries) is a suite of tools designed to promote healthy food at food banks and pantries. Healthy Eating Research released Nutrition Guidelines for the Charitable Food System in 2020 and the SWAP nutrition standards were updated to match. This infographic explains how SWAP affects food banks, food pantries, and food pantry clients.

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RESOURCE TYPE:
Infographic
FOCUS AREAS:
Charitable Food System
RUDD AUTHORS:
Marlene Schwartz
Implementation of Minimum Nutrition Standards and Best Practices in Childcare Centers

The federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) provides reimbursable meals to 4.6 million children annually and sets nutrition standards for foods served. Licensing regulations in many states extend these rules to nonparticipating programs. This study evaluates the quality of meals and snacks served in Connecticut licensed childcare centers in 2019 and assess implementation of a state licensing requirement to adhere to CACFP minimum nutrition standards in all centers.

Full citation: Andreyeva T, Sun X, Cannon M, Kenney E. Implementation of Minimum Nutrition Standards and Best Practices in Childcare Centers [published online ahead of print, 2021 June 29]. Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. 2021. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jand.2021.05.019

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RESOURCE TYPE:
Publication
FOCUS AREAS:
Early Care & Education
RUDD AUTHORS:
Tatiana Andreyeva
Color-coded Nutrition Information Helps Food Pantry Clients Select Healthier Options

When food pantries provide color-coded nutrition information on their shelves, clients select significantly more healthy options and fewer unhealthy options, according to a new study from researchers at the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity and the Institute for Hunger Research and Solutions at Connecticut Food Bank / Foodshare.

Findings indicate that after SWAP was implemented, the proportion of “green” foods selected by
clients increased by 11% and the proportion of “red” foods selected decreased by 7%. Both before and after SWAP, fruits and vegetables were the most commonly selected items, however after SWAP, clients were able to identify which fruits and vegetables were “green,” or healthier choices.

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RESOURCE TYPE:
Press Release
FOCUS AREAS:
Charitable Food System
RUDD AUTHORS:
Marlene Schwartz
Fast Food FACTS 2021: Billions in Advertising, Continued High Exposure by Youth

Fast-food consumption among youth remains a significant public health concern. The findings in this report demonstrate that fast-food advertising spending increased from 2012 to 2019; youth exposure to TV ads declined, but at a lower rate than reductions in TV viewing times; many restaurants continued to disproportionately target advertising to Hispanic and Black youth; and restaurants did not actively promote healthier menu items. Restaurants must do more to reduce harmful fast-food advertising to youth.

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RESOURCE TYPE:
Rudd Report
FOCUS AREAS:
Food & Beverage Marketing
RUDD AUTHORS:
Jennifer Harris
Frances Fleming-Milici
Melissa Jensen
Yoon-Young Choi
Sally Mancini
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