March 2017 Newsletter

Rudd Center Recent Publications

Sugary Drink Sales Drop Nearly 20 Percent After Community Campaign

Combination of Policy Changes and Community Outreach Succeeds

Residents of one Maryland county bought fewer sugary drinks after a campaign to reduce the consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages that included policy changes and public health outreach efforts, according to a new study from the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut. The study, published March 6 in JAMA Internal Medicine, is the first to use objective retail sales data to measure the effectiveness of a community-led campaign to reduce consumption of sugary drinks. “This study demonstrates the power of a community-based public health campaign that combines health-supporting policy changes with extensive outreach. The residents of Howard County have been engaged in every phase of this effort and their commitment to switching their drinks showed up in the supermarket sales data,” said Marlene Schwartz, Director of the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, and the study’s lead author.

Self-Directed Stigma May Be a Key Detriment to Sustaining Weight Loss  

Losing weight is a struggle for many Americans, but maintaining weight loss can be an even greater challenge. In a new study from the University of Connecticut, researchers have identified a new barrier that may make it even more difficult to maintain a healthy weight. Researchers examined the role of weight stigma as a potential contributor to weight-loss maintenance and weight regain in a national sample of 2,702 American adults. Findings published March 1 in Annals of Behavioral Medicine showed that people who internalized weight stigma were poorer at maintaining weight loss compared to people who did not engage in self-directed stigma or self-blame. “Our study suggests that - regardless of encountering experiences of weight-based teasing, stigma, or unfair treatment - it may be that internalized negative weight based attitudes and self-blame are particularly detrimental for personal efforts to sustain weight loss,” said Rebecca Puhl, lead author and Deputy Director of the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut.

Rudd Center in the News

The March 23 edition of UConn's The Daily Campus highlighted the work of Marketing Initiatives Director Jennifer Harris and her team: UConn professor investigating marketing effects on kids.

UConn magazine's Spring 2017 edition included a brief article on our recently issued Baby Food FACTS report: Big Money is spent Marketing Unhealthy Baby Food.

CNN, Politico, NPR, Medscape, Food Dive, Medpage Today and CBS in Baltimore were among the media outlets that featured our study in JAMA Internal Medicine on the Horizon Foundation's Howard County Unsweetened campaign in Maryland. The March 6 CNN story and the March 13 NPR piece were carried by dozens of outlets across the country, helping to communicate the study's findings to tens of millions of Americans.

UConn Today published an article March 6 on the study in JAMA Internal Medicine: Sugary Drink Sales Drop After Community Campaign.

Dr. Puhl's study in Annals of Behavioral Medicine was featured in a UConn Today piece on March 7: Weight-Based Stigma an Obstacle to Sustaining Weight Loss.

A March 22 New Haven Register opinion piece on the need to reduce sugary drink consumption refers to our sugary drink tax revenue estimate.

Marketwatch published a March 8 article - 5 ways schools can get kids to eat vegetables - that quotes UConn Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz. The article concludes by stating that experts say that starting early is more important than funding. "To third-graders, who have been in school since the federal regulations have been in place, a salad with chicken—not nuggets and french fries—is normal," says Marlene Schwartz, director of the University of Connecticut’s Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity. “It’s exactly what lunch should look like.”

UConn President Susan Herbst Visits Rudd Center

The UConn Rudd Center was delighted to welcome UConn President Susan Herbst and UConn Vice President and General Counsel Richard Orr for a March 23 visit to discuss our Center's policy work.

Left to right: Marketing Initiatives Director Jennifer Harris, Advocacy Resources Director Sally Mancini, UConn General Counsel Richard Orr, UConn President Susan Herbst, Director Marlene Schwartz, and Deputy Director Rebecca Puhl.

New, Advanced Online Tool Offers Revenue Estimates for Sugary Drink Taxes

The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut has revised and updated the Center’s Revenue Calculator for Sugary Drink Taxes, an online resource that offers estimates of revenue from taxes on sugary drinks.

Excise taxes on sugary drinks can generate considerable revenue for cities, counties and states. These drinks, including sodas, fruit drinks, sports drinks, ready-to-drink teas and coffees, enhanced water, and energy drinks, are among the leading sources of empty calories – calories that supply little or no nutrients – for both children and adults. Overconsumption of sugar is associated with obesity, and increased risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. 

The calculator was developed by Tatiana Andreyeva, the Rudd Center’s Director of Economic Initiatives and Associate Professor of Agricultural and Resource Economics at the University of Connecticut, in collaboration with Frank J. Chaloupka, Professor of Economics, University of Illinois at Chicago and Lisa Powell, Distinguished Professor and Director of Health Policy and Administration, and Director of the Illinois Prevention Research Center at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

The calculator update was a collaborative effort by the UConn Rudd Center and Healthy Food America.

News to Chew On

AP via U.S. News & World Report
'Soda Tax' Stakes Escalate in Pivotal Philadelphia Fight
The Washington Post
More than 13 million kids in this country go to school hungry
CBS News
Bottled water sales outpace soda for first time in U.S.
The Washington Post
'Big Candy' is lobbying the Trump administration. It's also holding events at Trump hotels
The Irish Times
Why we need to stop junk food advertisers targeting kids online
South Africa plans to fight obesity with a sugar tax
Associated Press via The Seattle Times
Philly's soda tax slightly exceeds $6.3M February projection
Albuquerque Journal
Money war over soda tax begins in Santa Fe
Harvard Law and Policy Review
Assisting Personal Responsibility: Using Nudges to Reduce Sugar Consumption