May 2017 Newsletter

Rudd Center Recent Publications

Adolescents Teased About Their Weight Are More Likely To Have Obesity and Weight-related Health Consequences As Adults

Weight-based teasing is one of the most common forms of bullying that youth face. It most often comes from peers, but youth can also experience weight-based bullying from family members at home. These experiences can contribute to emotional and physical health problems for youth. But less is known about the long-term impact of weight-based bullying.

A new study from researchers at the Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut and the School of Public Health at the University of Minnesota shows that weight-based teasing in adolescence predicts health consequences in adulthood, including obesity, unhealthy weight-control and eating behaviors, and poor body image. The study was published online May 3 in Preventive Medicine.

“In addition to increasing awareness that weight-based teasing can have negative implications for future health outcomes, our findings suggest the need for broader anti-bullying initiatives that include both the school and family/home environments as targets for intervention,” said Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director of the UConn Rudd Center, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies at the University of Connecticut, and lead author of the study.

Rudd Center in the News

UConn Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz's comments on the USDA's relaxation of healthier school meal requirements were featured prominently in a May 2 CNN article that was carried by nearly 70 media outlets across the country. The argument that more food is ending up in the trash under the healthier standards, Schwartz told writer Susan Scutti, "is not supported by the research. There have been studies, ours included, that have found plate waste has not increased." 

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's President and CEO, Dr. Richard Besser, issued a statement May 2 to reaffirm support for the updated healthier school meal standards, and cited the UConn Rudd Center's study as part of a growing body of research that suggests the standards are working. 

In a May 16 article, Trump takes the classroom out of the lunchroom, The Hill cited our study showing that the healthier school meal standards are working. The Hill's readership is approximately 10 million.

The Hartford Courant featured a May 30 article on a new food labeling system designed to make it easier for food pantry clients to choose healthy items. It was developed by University of St. Joseph and UConn Rudd Center researchers, and is being pilot tested by USJ, the Rudd Center and the Council of Churches of Greater Bridgeport.

HealthDay/U.S. News & World ReportMedical Xpress, e!Science News, Health News Digest, and UConn Today published articles on Dr. Puhl's study on the long-term health consequences of weight-based teasing in adolescence.

Mother Jones magazine featured Dr. Puhl's study in a May 10 article: People Who Were "Fat Shamed" as Kids Are More Likely to Be Obese as Adults.

The Wire, a news website based in India, carried comments by Dr. Puhl on weight stigma in a piece headlined: Let’s Talk (Right) About Eman Ahmed.

Dr. Puhl wrote an article for Medscape about how to talk to teens about weight: Weighing Words When Talking to Teens About Body Weight. The May 11 piece references her recent study on adolescent preferences about language about body weight.

A May 4 article in True Viral News highlighted concerns about energy drinks expressed by UConn Rudd Center Director Jennifer Harris. She "explains that there are still significant concerns about the beverages, especially the way they are marketed to young boys. She says that ER visits among adolescents and young people in relation to energy drink consumption are on the rise." The Epoch Times carried a Reuters article about the dangers of energy drinks, and quoted Dr. Harris.

Natural News published an article May 27 on a marshmallow-only cereal, quoting Dr. Harris that the cereal is more of a toy than a food. 

New England Cable News, NBC Connecticut, WTNH Channel 8 (ABC), and most of Connecticut's newspapers spotlighted comments by Tatiana Andreyeva, Rudd Center Director of Economic Initiatives, and Sally Mancini, Rudd Center Director of Advocacy Resources, at a May 15 press conference to support a sugary drink tax in Connecticut.

Other news outlets that highlighted comments by UConn Rudd Center researchers in May included:

The Virginian-Pilot: One year into bringing food into a food desert, Jim's Local Market is learning it's complicated

CNN Money: School lunch shaming: Inside America's hidden debt crisis

Pacific Standard: How Soda Companies Target Latino Lawmakers, and

Utah's Deseret News: Why you might be setting your child up for a weight problem.

UConn Researchers and Human Rights Campaign Launch National Survey of LGBTQ Teens 

Weight-Based Bullying Examined as Part of Overall Study

Working with the Human Rights Campaign, UConn researchers Ryan Watson and Rebecca Puhl have begun a comprehensive national survey of the experiences of lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) teenagers. The online survey is open to LGBTQ teens between the ages of 13 and 17 living in the United States. "Our study takes a holistic approach to better understand the lived experiences of LGBTQ young people," said Watson, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and principal investigator for the study. Puhl, Professor of Human Development and Family Studies and Deputy Director of the UConn Rudd Center, is co-investigator for the study. "A key goal of this study is to examine the diverse forms of victimization that LGBTQ youth face," she said. "For example, we will examine links between weight-based bullying and bullying due to sexual orientation; these two forms of bullying are both very common in youth but have not been examined as shared experiences." 

What's Simmering With Our Friends 

Why We Need Updated Nutrition Facts by July 2018

More than 70 scientists and researchers from across the country, including UConn Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz, signed a letter urging Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb to maintain the July 2018 compliance date for the updated Nutrition Facts label. Food industry lobbyists have sought a delay until May 2021. "Without those labels, consumers cannot follow advice from the government's own Dietary Guidelines for Americans, American Heart Association, World Health Organization, and other health authorities to cut back on added sugars," the scientists and researchers said. The Center for Science in the Public Interest created an infographic that explains the issue.

New York City Food Policy Center at Hunter College Names 40 Under 40: The Rising Stars in New York City Food Policy

Among the New York City Food Policy Center's Class of 2017 "40 Under 40" - individuals under 40 years old working to transform the food system - Carla Anastasio and Megan Lent named the UConn Rudd Center as "must follow" on social media. Thanks! Anastasio is Director of the Division of Nutrition for Cicatelli Associates Inc., and Lent is Policy Director in the Bureau of Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control of the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. The 40 individuals will be honored at Hunter College June 8.

News to Chew On

The New York Times
Trump Takes Aim at School Lunch Guidelines and a Girls’ Education Program
Food stamps reduce hunger and make kids healthier. Trump wants to gut them.
Could Eating a Second Breakfast Help You Lose Weight?
The New York Times
Going Digital to Rescue Food
No fruit juice for kids under 1, pediatricians advise
The Seattle Times
Will Seattle's proposed soda tax be a boon for health? A nutritionist's take The Washington Post?Breakfast was the most important meal of the day - until America ruined it
The Washington Post
Breakfast was the most important meal of the day - until America ruined it