December 2016 Newsletter

Rudd Center Recent Publications

TV Food & Beverage Ads Increased During Programming Widely Viewed by Youth Under 18

Black children and adolescents viewed more unhealthy food ads than white children and adolescents

Although time spent watching TV did not increase, children and adolescents viewed more food and beverage advertisements in 2012 than in 2008. This increase was due primarily to an increase in the number of ads aired per hour of TV viewing, according to a new study from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut. "It was troubling to find that, despite little change in TV viewing time by young people of all ages over the four years, their exposure to food and beverage ads increased, and the increase for black young people was even greater," said Frances Fleming-Milici, Research Associate for the UConn Rudd Center, and lead author of the study. "Our findings indicate that food companies have figured out a way to increase TV advertising to young people even though they aren't watching more TV." The study was published in Pediatric Obesity.

Rudd Center in the News

The Washington Post and many other media outlets featured our new study on youth TV viewing and exposure to food and beverage ads, including Food.Mic, CBS Philly, Atlanta Black Star, Essence magazine, The Huffington Post, Quartz, and Vice Munchies. Frances Fleming-Milici, UConn Rudd Center Research Associate and lead author of the study, told The Washington Post: "There's so much discussion right now about kids and healthy eating. But it's hard to believe we can see an increase in healthy eating without decreasing the incessant exposure to [unhealthy] ads." 

UConn Today highlighted our study in a Dec. 16 article: "Black Kids Exposed to Even More Junk Food Ads than White Kids."  

UConn Rudd Center Deputy Director Rebecca Puhl was quoted on the topic of weight stigma in a BBC Capital article Dec. 1, a piece in Medscape Dec. 8, an article in Prevention magazine Dec. 9, and an article in Fierce Healthcare Dec. 12.

An article Dr. Puhl wrote for Medscape, "Fat Shaming in the Spotlight," was viewed nearly 17,000 times. "If fat shaming were an effective approach to provide incentive or motivation to lose weight, the majority of Americans wouldn't be struggling with overweight and obesity," she said in the piece. "Fat shaming is harmful, counterproductive, and ineffective, and it perpetuates societal prejudice and discrimination. It creates barriers to obesity prevention, intervention, and treatment and interferes with public health efforts to promote weight-related health."

The Dec. 15 edition of Briefings in Childhood Obesity (from the publisher of Childhood Obesity) included a "Spotlight" featuring UConn Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz. The piece notes that the Connecticut Women's Hall of Fame named Dr. Schwartz a 2016 Women's Wellness Honoree "for her work as a researcher and advocate for food and nutrition policies that will improve children's health and diets. Schwartz currently has projects on the implementation of school wellness policies and is working with food pantries in Connecticut to improve the nutritional quality of the items they distribute." 

What's Simmering With Our Friends

"More Than Food" Provides Food Pantries a New Way of Thinking 

Katie Martin, Assistant Professor at University of St. Joseph in West Hartford, CT, is among the collaborators on More Than Food, a new framework for building capacity in food pantries to more effectively address the root causes of food insecurity. "Food pantries in Connecticut, Texas and Rhode Island have begun implementing the More Than Food framework, with encouraging success," according to Dr. Martin. Click here to watch a video about the collaborative effort among Dr. Martin's research team, Foodshare, and Urban Alliance.

News to Chew On

News Sugary Drinks Are Impacting Latino Kids’ Health, Weight
The New York Times
New Rules May Curb Classroom Cupcakes
Six Ways to End Weight Bias
Food Tank
Soda Taxes Do More than Discourage Consumption
PBS News Hour
The many mixed messages schools send students on healthy eating
Medical News Today 
UK soft drinks industry levy estimated to have significant health benefits, especially among young children
How Much Is Too Much? New Study Casts Doubts On Sugar Guidelines