January 2016 Newsletter

Rudd Center Recent Publications

The Need to Address Weight Stigma in Caring for Patients With Diabetes

UConn Rudd Center Deputy Director Rebecca Puhl was the lead author of a recent review that calls attention to the need to address weight bias in the care of patients with diabetes. Evidence shows that weight biases of health care providers may contribute to poor outcomes for patients with obesity and diabetes. The paper, published in the winter edition of the journal Clinical Diabetes, notes that a recent study of 2,284 physicians found that weight bias is as pervasive among medical doctors as it is in the general public. The paper concludes that efforts to address weight bias in clinical care settings can "help to shift the medical culture from one that often shames and stigmatizes patients because of their weight to one that supports and empowers patients with obesity and diabetes in their efforts to improve health."

Rudd Center in the News

The New Haven Register featured UConn Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz in a Jan. 13 article about what's happening with food - good and bad - in schools in Connecticut and nationwide, focusing on continuing concerns about marketing of foods to children. Writer Brian Zahn heard Dr. Schwartz speak and interviewed her at a Jan. 13 media roundtable sponsored by the American Heart Association and Voices for Healthy Kids. The story also appeared in the Middletown Press and the Torrington Register Citizen.

Dr. Schwartz was quoted in Outside magazine in an insightful Jan. 6 article on whether access to more information, such as calorie counts on menus, help people become healthier. "I've really supported the idea of calories on menus, mostly because I think it's a right-to-know issue," Schwartz said. "It's unrealistic to think that putting calories on menus is going to make every single American go to restaurants and order fewer calories," she said. "But I do think everybody has a right to know what's in the meal. When you're ordering off a menu, you have no idea how big the serving is going to be unless you've been to that restaurant before."

UConn Rudd Center Deputy Director Rebecca Puhl was interviewed by BYU Radio about her research on support for laws against weight discrimination. Dr. Puhl explained in the Jan. 25 segment that women tend to be more vulnerable to discrimination based on weight than men. "Some new survey research (by Dr. Puhl) published in The Milbank Quarterly finds strong support for laws that would prohibit job discrimination based on a person's weight, but there's a limit to the public support," radio host Julie Rose said in introducing Dr. Puhl.

Dr. Puhl's comments on the prevalence of weight bias in the workplace were featured in a Jan. 12 article on .Mic, an online news site aimed at millennials. "Weight discrimination in employment has been documented as one of the most common forms of employment discrimination that people experience," Puhl said. "Some research in the U.S. has found that among women, weight discrimination is comparable to rates of racial discrimination."

Prevention magazine included comments by Dr. Puhl in a Jan. 14 article entitled: "7 Ways Doctors Pre-Judge You - And How It Hurts Your Treatment." The article explained that, "as a result of doctor stigma and the resulting embarrassment, obese patients are less likely to undergo screening for breast, cervical, and colorectal cancer, Puhl's research shows."

Food Marketing in Connecticut Schools

Please Share Examples From Your Schools

Have you seen food marketing in Connecticut schools? Vending machines branded with sugary drinks, food ads in hallways and on school property, food marketing in the classroom through websites, coupon incentive programs and education materials, and branded food fundraisers are all examples of food marketing in schools.

Contact Us! Send your examples to: Sally Mancini, UConn Rudd Center Director of Advocacy Resources at sally.mancini@uconn.edu or call 860-380-1018 to find out more about food marketing in schools.

What's Simmering With Our Friends 

Five years after passage of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, a whopping 97 percent of schools nationally are meeting the healthier standards for school meals, and many schools are now regularly offering lunches with fruits and vegetables. A study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Health Eating Research Program assessed more than 1.7 school meals selected by students in Washington state before and after implementation of the new standards. "Schools are offering more fruits and vegetables and a greater variety of fruits and vegetables - we found that to be the primary reason students were selecting healthier lunches," Donna B. Johnson, Ph.D., the study's lead author, said in a Jan. 4 Healthy Eating Research news article.

Salud America! hosted a wonderful #SaludTues Tweet Chat Jan. 26 on "How to Ensure Latino Kids Enter Kindergarten at a Healthy Weight." @UConnRuddCenter and @RuddRoots Parents took part in the conversation, co-hosted by @TexasDSHS, @youngchildfacts, @nacersanos and special guest @DrSteveCook.

@MomsRising, @MsLatina, and @UConnRuddCenter hosted a fabulous #FoodFri Tweet Chat Jan. 22 on how warning labels on sugar-sweetened beverages would help reduce parents' purchases of the drinks for their children.@RuddRoots Parents chimed in to say that sodas, fruit-flavored drinks, and sports drinks would all have labels. The conversation focused on RWJF-funded research published in Pediatrics.

Dr. David Ludwig, a well-known obesity research and pediatrics professor at Harvard Medical School, has a new diet book based on his research documenting the positive impact of eating low-glycemic index foods. NPR rates his "Always Hungry? Conquer Cravings, Retrain Your Fat Cells, and Lose Weight Permanently" as of its "best diets" for 2016.

News to Chew On

Healthier School Lunch Rules Are Working, Study Finds
Mexico’s Soda Tax Linked to Reduced Consumption
Aldi Getting Rid Of Candy In Checkout Lines
The Washington Post
Block granting SNAP (food stamps) would break a crucial anti-poverty program
The Atlantic
Sugar Is the New Public Health Enemy #1