July 2015 Newsletter

Rudd Center Recent Publications

Four-Nation Study Finds Weight-Based Bullying is Viewed as Most Prevalent Form of Bullying in Children

A new multi-national study led by Rudd Center Deputy Director Rebecca Puhl showed that weight is perceived to be the most common reason children are bullied. The study, published online July 6 in the journal Pediatric Obesity, surveyed 2,866 adults in the United States, Canada, Iceland and Australia. The responses indicated there is substantial public support for policy measures to address weight-based bullying to improve the quality of life for children with obesity.

Rudd Center in the News

A July 7 article in The New York Times Well blog by reporter Roni Rabin provided in-depth coverage of Dr. Puhl's multinational study on attitudes about weight-based bullying of children. Brazil's largest online news provider, UOL, carried the article in Portuguese and English on July 16 and O Tempo, a newspaper in one of Brazil's largest cities, published the story on July 19.

UConn Today publicized Dr. Puhl's new study in a July 6 article. "Our findings echo recent research from the U.S. showing that parents favor strengthening school-based policies and state laws to address weight-based bullying," Dr Puhl says. "The time may be ripe to implement school-level policy changes to ensure that vulnerable youth are protected."

The headline for a July 7 article published by Take Part, a progressive digital news platform, captured the key take-home message of Dr. Puhl's recent study on attitudes about weight-related bullying: "Here's the One Thing That Makes a Kid More Likely to Be Bullied in School."

Essential Kids, an online Australian news site for parents, featured Dr. Puhl's study published in Pediatric Obesity in a July 14 article focusing on what parents can do to help their children deal with weight-related bullying.

Another Australian news outlet, The Sydney Morning Herald, published a July 11 story on how doctors in Australia are not immune to the obesity epidemic, with nearly 60 percent of physicians having obesity or overweight. Dr. Puhl commented in this news article on her 2013 study in the International Journal of Obesity, finding that "when patients perceived their doctor to be overweight or obese, they had less trust in their doctor and were less likely to follow their advice."

The New York Times devoted its opinion feature - Room for Debate - to a discussion of the impact of the Americans with Disabilities Act, a quarter century after its passage. Rudd Center Deputy Director Rebecca Puhl contributed a July 26 opinion piece, "A Bright Spot in the Law: Including Obesity," explaining how it is becoming easier for individuals with obesity to obtain protections against weight discrimination.

The San Jose Mercury News ran a July 15 article on how the Internet is creating acceptance for all body sizes. Dr. Puhl is quoted in this story about the prevalence of weight discrimination in society, notably in the workplace. The Marin Independent Journal, another California newspaper, published the story on July 27.

What's Simmering With Our Friends 

Bridging the Gap, a research program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, released a study showing that school lunches are healthier in U.S. secondary schools following the implementation of revised U.S. Department of Agriculture nutrition standards for school meals. The study, published online in the journal Preventive Medicine, showed that students in smaller and more ethnically and racially diverse schools may be particularly benefiting from the new standards, and that these schools are catching up to larger schools and those with predominantly white student populations in serving healthier lunches.

"Anatomy of a Supermarket Purchase," a speed-drawing video (screen shot above) from the Center for Science in the Public Interest, explains the strategies that food companies use "to influence the food choices of even the best intentioned and most disciplined people, often so subtly that we don't even realize it."

In supporting the U.S. Food and Drug Administration's proposal to require "percent daily value" for added sugars on nutrition labels for packaged foods, the American Heart Association and the Voices for Healthy Kids Facebook page released and promoted an AHA statement that fully explains the proposal's health and consumer benefits. The AHA statement, "The too-sweet truth: FDA proposes daily value measures on added sugars," notes that, "A study published last year in JAMA: Internal Medicine showed added sugar was associated with higher risk of death by heart disease."

In partnership with the American Heart Association, the comedy production company Funny or Die produced a satirical video starring Nick Offerman, the Parks and Recreation star, as a "pizza farmer." The video is part of a campaign to beat back efforts in Congress and by special interests to roll back healthier school lunch standards.

News to Chew On

Sugar is literally killing us: The stunning fatality rates behind our soda addiction
Mexico's Soda Tax is Working. The US Should Learn From It.
U.S. News & World Report
When Your Child Has Obesity: How to Tackle Weight Loss as a Family
CBS News
A third of young adults too fat to join military: report
The Telegraph (UK)
Remove sugary drinks from children’s diets, health officials say