Press Releases

03/19/2019: "Meal Kits" and Recipe Tastings Increase Selection of Healthy Foods Among Food Pantry Clients

Nearly 40 million Americans face hunger, and many rely on the food banking system to supplement the groceries needed to feed themselves and their families. Consequently, it is essential to maximize the nutritional quality of food available through food pantries. At the same time, it is also important to encourage food pantry clients to select these healthier options. 

This study, published in Public Health Nutrition, introduced meal kits in food pantries to see whether this encouraged selections of nutrient dense foods, and it found that cllients were three times as likely to take kale and whole grains when meal kits were offered. 

02/07/2019: High Rates of Weight-Based Bullying Found Among LGBTQ Adolescents

Adolescent obesity rates currently reach 20% in the United States, and weight-based victimization has become a widespread form of mistreatment experienced by youth. This victimization has harmful health consequences, including increased risk for depression, low self-esteem, suicidal ideation, poor body image, disordered eating, and lower levels of physical activity. Although there is mounting evidence of weight-based victimization in youth, there has been little attention to this issue in LGBTQ adolescents, despite their high prevalence of overweight and obesity and increased risk for victimization. This study found that adolescents who identify as LGBTQ are also teased and bullied because of their body weight - in some cases at higher rates than previous reports of weight-based bullying in heterosexual youth. 

01/15/2019: Food-Related Ads Targeting Black and Hispanic Youth Almost Exclusively Promote Unhealthy Food and Drinks

Restaurant, food, and beverage companies target Hispanic and Black children and teens with ads almost exclusively for fast food, candy, sugary drinks, and unhealthy snacks. This new report finds that fast food, candy, sugary drinks, and unhealthy snacks represented 86 percent of food ad spending on Black-targeted TV programming, where black consumers comprise the majority of viewers, and 82 percent of ad spending on Spanish-language TV, in 2017.

12/17/2018: School Nutrition Policy Implementation Slows Weight Gain in Middle School Students

Most children in the United States spend an average of 6 to 7 hours a day at school, which is why schools have become a priority setting for preventing childhood obesity. Since 2006, school wellness policies have been required to set goals for physical and nutrition education and to set nutrition standards for meals and snacks served. These requirements were strengthened in 2010 with the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act, and while nearly every school district in the country has a written policy to comply with these standards, previous studies have found that strong written policies do not necessarily predict thorough implementation. 

This research, published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine, aimed to assess whether implementation of specific nutrition and physical activity components of the school wellness policies lead to healthier student outcomes, including BMI trajectories. Findings indicate that implementing strong school nutrition policies results in healthier weight trajectories in middle school students.

11/15/2018: Juice Displaces Milk and Fruit in High School Lunches

The National School Lunch Program reaches over 30 million students, and while fruits, vegetables, and dairy served in the school lunch undoubtedly contribute to a healthy diet, the appropriate role of juice in children's diet has generated debate. Currently, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that children aged 7-18 consume no more than 8 ounces of juice daily, and juice is permitted to be served as part of the National School Lunch Program only on certain days. 

A new study conducted by Rudd Center researchers utilized cafeteria register data from 3 low-income, Northeast high schools and found that on days when fruit juice was served, students were less likely to select milk, whole fruit, and water. These substitutions have a potential nutritional impact that is important to consider.

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