July 2017 Newsletter

Rudd Center Recent Publications

Most Students Adjust to Drinking Plain Milk After Flavored Milk is Removed

Flavored milk served in the National School Lunch Program contains up to 10 grams of added sugar per serving, which is 40 percent of a child’s daily allowance of added sugar. Given the nation’s key public health target of limiting added sugars in children’s diets, flavored milk has come under scrutiny in the context of school nutrition.

A new study by the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut measured plain milk selection and consumption in the years after flavored milk was removed in two schools. During the first year without flavored milk, 51.5 percent of students selected plain milk. Two years later, 72 percent of students selected plain milk. Both years, student selection and consumption of plain milk dropped significantly on days when 100 percent fruit juice was also available.

The study, published July 14 in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, has implications for school nutrition policy and efforts to reduce added sugars in children’s diets.

“The decision to remove flavored milk has both nutritional benefits and potential costs. It is clearly an effective way to lower student intake of added sugars at lunch, and over time, the majority of students will switch to plain milk,” said Marlene Schwartz, Director of the UConn Rudd Center and lead author of this study. “However, there will always be some students who don’t like plain milk. The challenge is finding a way to meet their dietary needs by providing other nutrient rich options at lunch.”

Combatting Weight Bias: Why We Need to Take Action

UConn Rudd Center Deputy Director Rebecca Puhl wrote an article for the Obesity Action Coalition's summer edition of "Your Weight Matters for Your Health" magazine. The article, "Combatting Weight Bias: Why We Need to Take Action," explains why weight bias must be addressed and highlights the findings of a recent Rudd Center study that involved a survey of 461 Obesity Action Coalition members asking them for their perspectives on potential weight bias-reduction strategies.

Rudd Center in the News

The Washington Post reported July 13 on a lawsuit by two African-American pastors against Coca-Cola and the American Beverage Association, "claiming soda manufacturers knowingly deceived customers about the health risks of sugar-sweetened beverages — at enormous cost to their communities." The article, 'We're losing more people to the sweets than to the streets': Why two black pastors are suing Coca-Cola, links to the Rudd Center's food marketing research finding that "soda advertisements appear more frequently during TV shows targeted to black audiences."

The San Francisco Chronicle quoted UConn Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz in a widely disseminated July 10 story: Chocolate milk booted off the menu at SF school cafeterias. Most kids drink plain milk, especially at home, and they will drink it at school as well if that's all that's available, she noted.

The Associated Press (AP) reported on the San Francisco schools' move, and the article and Dr. Schwartz's comments were carried by more than 300 media outlets around the country.

Philly.com (The Philadelphia Inquirer), Medical Xpress, and UConn Today featured Dr. Schwartz's new study showing that students adjust to drinking plain milk when flavored milk is removed from school cafeterias.

Dr. Schwartz's research and the Rudd Center are highlighted in the Center for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) Public Health Law News - July 2017, Profile in Public Health Law: Marlene Schwartz, PhD.

Nine New Research Grants to Enhance Food Security and Dietary Quality in Federal Nutrition Assistance Programs

RIDGE Program Announces 2017 Grant Awards

With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics (RIDGE) Program at the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts University and the University of Connecticut focuses on economic research aimed at enhancing food security and dietary quality for low-income Americans through the nation’s nutrition assistance programs. For the 2017 cycle, the program announces nine research grant awards, reflecting a wide range of nutrition assistance program topics. More information on the RIDGE Program 2017 grantees and their projects.

What's Simmering With Our Friends 

Sugary Drinks on Children's Menus

A new report from the Center for Science in the Public Interest shows that although several big restaurant chains have stopped pushing soda and other sugary drinks on their kids' menus, the majority still do. Check which restaurants have made progress and which ones haven't.

News to Chew On

FoodService Director magazine
20 people shaping foodservice today
Business Insider
The sweetest drinks in the US: These bestselling beverages have the most sugar per ounce
The children most likely to be bullied by their own friends
Food Dive
Study: Most consumers want healthier choices at checkout
Food Tank
22 Inspirational Women in Food and Agriculture
New voices are striking a blow against fat shaming
The Washington Post
Hospitals aren’t where you expect to find healthy, creative food. But why not?
U.S. News & World Report
Why Do Kids Eat When They're Not Hungry?
Washington Examiner
Democrats demand more 'nutrition education' in public schools to fight obesity
Policy Options - Canada
Targeting kids in unhealthy food marketing