May 2019 Newsletter

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Rudd Center Recent Publications

Weight-Based Victmization Among Sexual and Gender Minority Adolescents: Implications for Substance Use and Mental Health

Research has found that weight-based victimization contributes to poor health in youth, including substance use and poorer emotional well-being. However, the harms of weight-based victimization have received almsot no attention in LGBTQ youth, despite thier high rates of obesity and high risk of obesity and high risk for victimization and psychological distress.

This study, published in Health Psychology, reports on findings from questionnaires completed by over 9,000 LGBTQ adolescents across the United States, and found that LGBTQ youth who reported being teased or bullied about their weight had increased risk of alcohol use, binge drinking, marijuana use, cigarette use, as well as poorer self-rated health, higher depressive symptoms, and lower self-esteem. 

» read more

The Role of Stigma in Parental Weight Talk

Body weight is an emotionally charged issue for many children and adolescents, especially during periods of physical growth when they become more conscious of their physical appearance. As a result, what parents say to their children about body weight can play an important role in children's body esteem and physical well-being. "Parental weight talk" is a general term that has been used to describe weight-related communication by parents with their children, but little is known about why some parents engage in this practice more than others. 

To address this research gap, this study examined the role of previously experienced weight stigma in parental weight talk, and aimed to assess whether internalized weight bias results in more frequent conversations surrounding weight with their children. Results show that experienced weight stigma is indirectly associated with more frequent weight-based conversations, in addition to more comments about oneself and others. 

» read more

Rudd Center in the News

U.S. Kids Aren't Eating Enough Seafood, Study Says: Here's How to Add More
Featured: Maria Romo-Palafox, Postdoctoral Fellow

How Weight Bias in Medicine Can Lead to Missed Diagnosis and Pain
Featured: Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director

Teasing Kids About their Weight May Make Them Gain More
Featured: Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director

Can We Stop the Obesity Epidemic?
Featured: Jennifer Harris, Director of Marketing Initiatives

Evaluate, Invest in Advocacy and Shrink the Change
Featured: UConn Rudd Center

UConn Study: Weight-Related Health Outcomes for LGBTQ Youth
Featured: Rebecca Puhl, Deputy Director

What's Simmering With Our Friends?

Salud America!

Across the United States, Latino communities face unaffordable housing, unreliable public transportation, and a lack of green space, which contributes to health inequalities, according to a new research review from Salud America!. 

Salud America!'s The State of Latino Housing, Transportation, and Green Space examines the latest available science on Latino access to affordable housing, public transit, and parks. The review also highlights strategies and policies to improve neighborhood health equity, where everyone has a fair and just opportunity to achieve the best health possible.

Access the full Salud America! review and resources here

Obesity Action Coalition

The Obesity Action Coalition (OAC) is excited to announce that registration for the 8th Annual Your Weight Matters Convention and Expo, taking place August 1-3 in Tampa, Florida, is now open. The Your Weight Matters Campaign is the largest national meeting dedicated to providing science-based strategies for individuals impacted by obesity, brought to you by the OAC. As a national non-profit organization, the Obesity Action Coalition is committed to helping the millions of Americans impacted by obesity through education, advocacy, and support.

To register for the event, click here

Now Serving: New RIDGE Research Grants

With support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics (RIDGE) Program 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 2019 round, the program has announced eight research grant awards, reflecting a wide range of nutrition assistance program topics.

The grantees include seven faculty researchers and one postdoctoral fellow:

  • Irma Arteaga, Ph.D. Does maternal depression caused by food insufficiency influence parenting practices and impact infant wellbeing? The role of SNAP. University of Missouri. Area of focus: SNAP.
  • Caitlin Caspi, Sc.D. SNAP and work-related policies: An in-depth analysis of low-wage worker perspectives and behaviors. University of Minnesota. Area of focus: SNAP.
  • M. Pia Chaparro, M.S., Ph.D. Food insecurity and child food consumption patterns among WIC participating families in Los Angeles County within the context of the WIC food package change and WIC + SNAP concurrent participation. Tulane University. Areas of focus: SNAP, WIC.
  • Jason Cook, M.A., Ph.D. Labor supply distortions from nutrition assistance programs: Evidence from a bunching estimator. University of Pittsburgh. Areas of focus: SNAP, WIC.
  • Maggie Dickinson, Ph.D. Understanding barriers to SNAP enrollment among college students. CUNY Guttman. Area of focus: SNAP.
  • Agustina Laurito, Ph.D. SNAP, school meals, and the food security of multigenerational households. University of Illinois at Chicago. Areas of focus: NSLP, SBP, SNAP.
  • Michael Thomsen, Ph.D. Breakfast in the classroom, body mass index, and academic outcomes. University of Arkansas. Area of focus: SBP.
  • Pourya Valizadeh, Ph.D. Did the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act Help Improve Dietary Quality among School-Age Children? University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Areas of focus: NSLP, SBP.

Project summaries and additional information about the program is available online at

Join the Bunch: We're Hiring

The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at the University of Connecticut invites applications for a tenure-track faculty position whose research strengthens or complements our key research areas, including, but not limited to, public health nutrition, federal food programs, public policy, health equity, community-engaged research, food marketing/advertising, and communications. The interdisciplinary nature of the Rudd Center is supported by having core faculty members from different academic departments, and we invite candidates from a broad range of academic disciplines and research areas to apply. 

To read the full job description and steps to apply, click here

News to Chew On

Washington Post
Texas SNAP Recipients May Face Ban on Junk Food and Sugary Drinks
New York Times
Tuition or Dinner? Nearly Half of College Students Surveyed in a New Report are Going Hungry
The Atlantic
Eat Food. All the Time. Mostly Junk
The One Thing to Do to Stop the Obesity Epidemic
NBC News
'Ultra-processed' Foods Linked to Higher Risk of Heart Disease, Death
'Sugar Taxes' and Warning Labels Could Finally Get People to Eat Less Junk Food 

Civil Eats
Where the 2020 Presidential Candidates Stand on Food and Farming