July 2016 Newsletter

Rudd Center Recent Publications

Kids' Viewing of TV Food Ads Declines Slightly But Fast Food Remains the Most Advertised Category

A new UConn Rudd Center update shows that food-related TV advertising viewed by children decreased in 2015 from 2014. For the first time, according to the report, children saw fewer ads than they did in 2007, when the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative food industry self-regulatory program was implemented. The reduction (4 percent) was small, however, and fast food remains the most advertised category. Moreover, youth exposure to advertising for carbonated beverages and candy has increased substantially since 2007, according to the new Rudd Center Policy Brief, Trends in Television Food Advertising to Young People: 2015 Update. "These findings may partially reflect declines in TV viewing overall. Furthermore, youth are likely viewing additional ads on mobile platforms such as cell phones and tablets. Despite food industry promises, TV food advertising to youth continues to encourage the consumption of foods and beverages high in calories, fat, and sugar," concluded authors Jennifer Harris, Director of Marketing Initiatives, and Willie Frazier III, Research Associate.

HBO Film Produced Under Rudd Center Guidance Found to be Effective Reducing Weight Bias

In a new study, researchers found that viewing an HBO film on weight stigma that was produced under the guidance of UConn Rudd Center Deputy Director Rebecca Puhl was effective in reducing weight bias. The brief film, “Stigma: The Human Cost of Obesity,” was a “bonus short” film produced as part of HBO’s 2012 documentary series called “Weight of the Nation.” The bonus film features Dr. Puhl, who also provided research expertise and guidance to the filmmakers during its making. In the 2016 study, published in Stigma and Health, researchers conducted a randomized experiment to examine the effects of viewing this film on stigma-related outcomes. The results showed that the film was effective in reducing weight stigma toward people with obesity. “Given the national reach of this film, it is exciting to see research that demonstrates its effectiveness as a stigma-reduction intervention,” Dr. Puhl said.

Rudd Center in the News

UConn Rudd Center Director of Marketing Initiatives Jennifer Harris was quoted in a July 5 Reuters article about a study showing that marketing vegetables to kids in school with banners and TV ads featuring "veggie superheroes" led to an increase in the number of students taking vegetables from their cafeteria salad bar. "This really shows that if you raise awareness and bring attention to the healthier foods that kids will actually take them," Dr. Harris said in the piece: "Banners with veggie superheroes encourage school salad bar use," which was published in a dozen publications.

Vermont Digger, a non-profit statewide news website, published a commentary piece July 7 on the harm that shaming, including weight stigmatization can do. The piece, by Vermont state Sen. Becca Balint, quoted UConn Rudd Center Deputy Director Rebecca Puhl. "The research evidence clearly shows that weight-related stigma and shame lead to adverse impacts, including binge eating, increased food consumption, exercise avoidance and increased stress," Dr. Puhl said.

July 19, Plate waste study link featured in this article: "Five Facts About School Meal Programs."

What's Simmering With Our Friends 

The Pew Charitable Trusts published an informative piece about the "far-reaching and sometimes misunderstood" National School Lunch Program and the School Breakfast Program. Our Center's study showing that middle school students ate more fruit and threw away less food after healthier meal standards took effect was cited in this July 19 article, "Five Facts About School Meal Programs," written by Jessica Donze Black, Director of the Kids' Safe and Healthful Foods Project, a collaboration between Pew and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. She also published a July 21 piece on the U.S. Department of Agriculture's release of two final rules that "mean schools must continue to meet strong nutrition guidelines for snacks sold to kids and also will prevent marketing of foods and drinks inconsistent with those standards."

News to Chew On

Yahoo! Style
Critics Are Calling Out Disney for Fat-Shaming Polynesians With ‘Moana’ Character
Mother Jones
This Is What Happens When Big Food Gets Cozy With Nutritionists
The Huffington Post – The Blog
CDC Official Exits Agency After Coca-Cola Connections Come to Light
Is U.S. government subsidizing fattening foods?
The Dallas Morning News
Will Exorbitant Soda Taxes Derail PepsiCo and Coca-Cola?
Modern Farmer
The Upside Of Marketing: Tricking Kids Into Eating Vegetables