June 2015 Newsletter

Rudd Center Recent Publications

Energy Drinks Significantly Increase Hyperactivity in Schoolchildren

The May-June edition of Academic Pediatrics published a study co-authored by Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz on the association between consumption of energy drinks/sugary drinks and hyperactivity/inattention among middle school students. The researchers found that students who consume heavily sweetened energy drinks are 66 percent more likely to be at risk for hyperactivity and inattention symptoms. The finding provides support for existing recommendations for children to avoid energy drinks and limit consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages. The study was published online in February.

Rudd Center Event

We held our first Community Café on June 17, welcoming a dynamic group of Hartford community leaders, advocates, researchers and health professionals to discuss the challenges of food security and obesity in the community. We hope to begin building new local partnerships and collaborations to help address these related challenges. A panel discussion followed welcoming remarks by Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz.

Rudd Center in the News

Rudd Center Deputy Director Rebecca Puhl commented on weight discrimination in the workplace and the lack of legal protection against this common form of bias, in a June 26 article in Refinery29, a fashion and style website for women. "There is little public understanding about obesity as a complex, chronic disease that has multiple determinants, only one of which is personal behavior," Puhl said. "We also live in a society where weight bias and stereotypes are common in the mass media, and where such instances go unchallenged."

A CNN Money special report, "Feeding America's most vulnerable children," focused on Bridgeport, CT, where 40 percent of the children rely on food stamps - double the U.S. rate. Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz was among the school nutrition and food policy experts featured in the June 22 program that tells how the nation's most vulnerable children are fed on only a few dollars a day. Poor nutrition affects their health and school performance. "It's an important part of our culture to feel like we're giving all children a chance to be successful," Schwartz told correspondent and anchor Poppy Harlow.

A June 15 article in U.S. News & & World Report, I'm an Addict. A Food Addict, delves into the controversial science of food addiction, which is not acknowledged in the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. The piece includes comments from Rudd Director Schwartz, whose dissertation looked at Overeaters Anonymous. "There's a validation that comes from being in a group with other people," Schwartz said.

Mike Brubaker, a former Pennsylvania state senator who heads a private equity and real estate firm, wrote an op-ed piece published by Lancaster Online, "Join the effort to fight hunger afflicting schoolchildren here." He cites the Rudd Center's recent study that found that the federal government's new healthier school lunch standards reduced "plate waste," and led students to consume more fruit and throw away less of their entrees and vegetables. "Please tell your school that you support nutritious meals for all of our students and an ongoing commitment to the standards of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act," Brubaker wrote.

U.S. News & World Report's provocatively titled June 5 article, "The Great Government Takeover," explored the timely question of the government's role in improving nutrition and addressing obesity.

What's Simmering With Our Friends 

ChangeLab Solutions created new tools to fight the marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages to kids. The toolkit includes a white paper, executive summary, an illustrated policy poster, and individual handouts in both Spanish and English - for parents, policy makers and community groups.

The California Center for Public Health Advocacy played a key role in the successful push for San Francisco's adoption of a first-of-its kind city ordinance requiring warning labels on advertising for sugary drinks.

Coca-Cola Co.'s iconic 1971 "Hillside" ad, which was featured in the "Mad Men" series finale, was given a new health-focused twist in a remake by the Center for Science in the Public Interest in a YouTube video. The Huffington Post published an article about the ad on June 23 with a link to the video.

On its Facebook page, Howard County Unsweetened posted tips for how to make water a "cool" beverage "for you and your family." The posting, "4 ways to have an unsweetened 4th" of July, was shared on the Rudd Center Facebook page.

News to Chew On

Los Angeles Times
Sugary drinks linked to 25,000 deaths in the U.S. each year
San Francisco Approves Warning Label for Sugary Drink Ads
Reddit Bans ‘Fat People Hate’ Forum and People are Crying Censorship
U.S. News & World Report
Protecting Kids From Unhealthy TV Food Ads
GamerFit Nation
How Energy Drink Industries Are Fooling Gamers