September 2017 Newsletter

Rudd Center Recent Publications

Food and Beverage Websites Appeal More to Hispanic Youth Compared to White Youth Despite Fewer Internet Visits

A new study by the UConn Rudd Center, published in the journal Health Equity, shows that food and beverage company websites disproportionately appeal to Hispanic youth. "Hispanic children and youth, particularly youth in Spanish-speaking households, visited food/beverage websites at higher rates than their non-Hispanic counterparts, despite fewer visits to the Internet overall," according to the study. More research is needed to understand why. "However, given higher rates of obesity and diet-related diseases among Hispanic youth, food and beverage companies should not target marketing of unhealthy products to Hispanic youth online," wrote study authors Maia Hyary, PhD student at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University and a former Rudd Center Research Associate, and Jennifer Harris, Director of Marketing Initiatives for the UConn Rudd Center.

Public health advocates have raised concerns that disproportionate exposure to marketing for unhealthy food contributes to poor diet and disparities in obesity-related health problems among Hispanic youth. Previous research has shown that Hispanic consumers, including children and teens, are disproportionately targeted with TV advertising for unhealthy food and beverages including fast food, sugary drinks, candy and snacks. Marketing to Hispanic youth on the Internet may also pose health risks. But research had not focused on this question until now.

Rudd Center in the News

Tatiana Andreyeva, UConn Rudd Center Director of Economic Initiatives, was quoted in a widely disseminated Sept. 20 article in The Washington Post on damage to the orange crop in Florida from Hurricane Irma, and what it means for orange juice prices: Hurricane Irma may speed the end of orange juice, America’s biggest source of ‘fruit’.

Money magazine followed with a Sept. 26 article that also quoted Dr. Andreyeva: Your Orange Juice Could Cost $8 Because of Hurricane Irma.

In one of the UConn Rudd Center's most distant news appearances, The Kathmandu Post published an article from The New York Times quoting Deputy Director Rebecca Puhl: Fat bias starts early and takes a serious toll.

The Fall 2017 edition of Teaching Tolerance features Dr. Puhl's research showing that weight-related bullying in adolescence can lead to health problems in adulthood: Fighting Fat Stigma With Science.

CNN carried a Sept. 21 article that featured comments from UConn Rudd Center Marketing Initiatives Director Jennifer Harris: Gatorade punished for dissing water in video game.

The Quebec edition of The Huffington Post (The Blogs) included a Sept. 13 piece citing UConn Rudd Center research: Sowing doubt to save its profits - a sweetened beverage industry strategy.

UConn Rudd Center Director Marlene Schwartz appeared on Philadelphia's WHYY Radio Times (NPR) Sept. 13 to discuss healthy school meals: School lunch; teens and sleep

Dr. Schwartz commented on her research showing the importance of a healthy breakfast in a Sept. 23 article in the International Business Times: Skipping Breakfast Could Cause Childhood Obesity, Study Finds.

Addressing Health Equity In the Food Banking System

The UConn Rudd Center hosted a two-day meeting this month attended by representatives from across the country and around Connecticut to discuss ways to strengthen and incorporate health equity policies in the food banking system. The meeting began with a welcoming dinner Tuesday, Sept. 26, and continued with a full day of presentations and discussions Wednesday, Sept. 27, at the Center's offices in downtown Hartford.

The meeting was part of a one-year project with the Food Trust (as part of a center funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation) with the goal of developing a research and policy agenda to promote health equity through food pantries, soup kitchens and homeless shelters.

"The meeting was a huge leap forward in bridging the gap between health equity and the food banking system. The synergy between researchers, advocates, practitioners and non-profit leaders was palpable, and will provide opportunities for future partnerships and collaborations. We can make a real difference now that we can identify priority research questions and policy options based on the excellent input from attendees," said Kristen Cooksey Stowers, UConn Rudd Center Postdoctoral Fellow and Co-Principal Investigator on the project.

Organizations represented included: WhyHunger, New York City; Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative, U. of Arkansas School of Law; Health Equity Solutions, Hartford, CT; MAZON, Los Angeles, CA; UConn Department of Human Development and Family Studies; UConn Health Disparities Institute; Connecticut Food Bank; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation; African American Collaborative Obesity Research Network; University of St. Joseph, West Hartford, CT; Oregon Food Bank; Feeding America; The Food Trust, Philadelphia, PA; and Bread for the City, and Capital Area Food Bank, both of Washington, D.C.

News to Chew On

The New York Times
How Big Business Got Brazil Hooked on Junk Food
CBS New York
New York City Public Schools Offer Free Lunch For Every Student
Spectrum News - Kentucky
Confronting food scarcity: Policy and government's role in addressing the full picture
NPR - The Salt
One Of America's Biggest Food Banks Just Cut Junk Food By 84 Percent In A Year
The Conversation (AP)
How everyday language casually stigmatizes obesity - and what to do about it
The Adelaide Review
The War on Obesity vs the War on Obese People
Health News Digest
Fruit and Vegetable Intake Influences Obesity Risk in Mexican-American Children
POLITICO-Harvard poll: Majority support soda taxes to fund pre-K, health programs
PBS Newshour
Study suggests when mobile markets take wireless food stamps, more people buy healthy food