January 2017 Newsletter

Rudd Center Recent Publications

Moving Beyond the Debate Over Restricting Sugary Drinks in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program

Essay by UConn Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz Published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine  

"To address the dual problem of food insecurity and poor nutrition, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has recently revised the nutrition standards for nearly all of its federal food programs to align with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. One notable exception is the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Policy proposals to restrict SNAP benefits based on nutrition quality (e.g., excluding sugary drinks) have generated controversy and have polarized previous research and advocacy allies. This essay presents many of the issues that have emerged ...The purpose of this review is to increase mutual understanding and respect of different perspectives ..."

Study Examines Nutritional Quality Of Preschoolers' Lunches Packed by Parents  

One challenge relating to children's health is that preschool kids consume inadequate amounts of key nutrients. Understanding the contents of lunches packed by parents for their preschool children can help identify areas of opportunity for developing healthy food preferences at a young age. Maria J. Romo-Palafox, a UConn Rudd Center Postdoctoral Fellow, was the lead author on a study (conducted as part of her PhD work) to evaluate the nutritional quality of lunches packed by parents and consumed by children attending early care centers. The study, published in the Journal of the American College of Nutrition, found that parents of preschool children pack lunches that are low in calcium, potassium and fiber, and high in sodium, sugar and saturated fat. These findings can be used to guide improvements through targeted interventions.

Rudd Center in the News

Fat shaming - not lack of willpower - is why so many Americans struggle with their weight, a must-read Jan. 5 article in News.Mic, included references to research by UConn Rudd Center Deputy Director Rebecca Puhl, Director Marlene Schwartz, and Postdoctoral Fellow Mary Himmelstein.

ConscienHealth published a Jan. 24 article that featured the essay Dr. Schwartz wrote for the American Journal of Preventive Medicine on the debate over sugary drinks in SNAP. The article notes that she "does a fine job of explaining the need to move beyond these tortured debates toward workable solutions."

Dr. Schwartz was interviewed for a Jan. 19 U.S. News & World Report article, "The Obamas' Other Health Legacy," which described efforts under the Obama administration to reduce obesity, and asked, "What will happen under Donald Trump?"

Dr. Schwartz was also quoted in a Connecticut Health I-Team article (carried by The Hartford Courant and The New Haven Register as well) on a Mix of Programs Helping Low-Income Families Build Healthy Eating Habits in Connecticut.

Jennifer Harris, UConn Rudd Center Director of Marketing Initiatives, was interviewed Jan. 26 about marketing unhealthy food and beverages to children. She was a guest on the PRN radio show iEat Green, hosted by Bhavani Jaroff. 

A Jan. 19 Philly.com blog post featured Baby Food FACTS, the recent report by Dr. Harris and her marketing team.  

The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education included a Jan. 3 article on our recent study showing an increase in TV food and beverage ads viewed by youth under 18. The study found that black children and adolescents viewed more unhealthy food ads than white children and adolescents.

The UConn Rudd Center's 2015 Snack FACTS report was highlighted in a Jan. 9 True Viral News article, TV ads targeting children are causing them to eat more junk food.

What's Simmering With Our Friends

The Launch of a New Partnership: Allies for Reaching Community Health Equity - ARCHE

ARCHE (Allies for Reaching Community Health Equity) is a new collaborative partnership between the Center for Global Policy Solutions and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to advance equity-centered strategies that strengthen families and communities, and build a culture of health. A new ARCHE website offers online resources. These resources include a Jan. 11 report developed by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine and funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This report, Communities in Action: Pathways to Health Equity "provides an unprecedented opportunity to create a national conversation around the importance of achieving health equity and to showcase your own work."

News to Chew On

How Fat Shaming Can Actually Make People Sick
News Are U.S. Med Schools Skimping on Obesity Training?
Becker's Hospital Review
Half of physicians admit bias toward patient groups
MSN Lifestyle
Parents Are Talking Their Kids Into Being Overweight
Kaiser Health News
Health Law Sleepers: Six Surprising Health Items That Could Disappear With ACA Repeal
Frontiers in Psychology
The Effects of Obesity-Related Health Messages on Explicit and Implicit Weight Bias
Voluntary Initiative Fails to Improve Restaurant Children's Menus
Lawsuit: Coca Cola Uses False Advertising to Sell Unhealthy Drinks