Public health campaigns have emerged across the country to promote behaviors that can help reduce America’s waistline, but several of these campaigns have been criticized for reinforcing stigmatization of obese individuals. Research shows that stigmatization of overweight and obese individuals can exacerbate health effects already associated with obesity, impair weight-loss efforts, and potentially lead to increased weight gain.
In a new study that examined how the public perceives these campaigns, Rudd Center researchers found that campaigns that are viewed as stigmatizing are no more likely to instill motivation for improving lifestyle behavior compared to neutral campaigns. The study was published online in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and highlights the need for careful selection of language and visual content used in obesity-related health campaigns. Read more.
Researchers at the Rudd Center have quantified the number of food and beverage ads viewed by Hispanic youth on both Spanish- and English-language television. Regardless of language, the majority of ads promote nutritionally poor products, such as fast food, sugary cereals, and candy. The study was published in JAMA Pediatrics, and is the first of its kind.
Using data obtained from Nielsen, a media research company, researchers examined advertising viewed by Hispanic and non-Hispanic youth in 2010. On average, both Hispanic and non-Hispanic youth saw 12-15 television food ads every day and most of the ads were for fast food, breakfast cereals, restaurants and candy. For Hispanic youth, 75 percent or more of these ads appeared on English-language television. Despite watching similar amounts of television, Hispanic youth viewed fewer food and beverage ads than their non-Hispanic peers because those ads appear less frequently on Spanish-language television. Read more.
The New York City Department of Health is appearing before the Appellate Division of the New York State Court today to fight the March ruling that blocked Mayor Bloomberg’s initiative to limit the portion size of sugary drinks. The aim of the measure is to combat obesity through reducing consumption of sugary drinks.
A judge called the law arbitrary and beyond the Department of Health’s authority one day before it was set to take effect.
“Portion sizes, especially for sugary drinks, have spun wildly out of control over the last 15 years,” said Marlene Schwartz, PhD, Rudd Center Acting Director. “New York City’s effort to limit the sale of sugary drinks to 16 ounces - which is still 2 servings - is a perfectly logical response. The Department of Health is responsible for protecting the health of the citizens they serve. Research shows that sugary drinks contribute to poor diet, weight gain, and the development of type 2 diabetes. Efforts to decrease sugary drink consumption are clearly aligned with their mission.”
Schools that implement strong nutrition standards for snacks sold at school increase student meal participation and school revenue, according to a study just published by the Rudd Center and the Harvard School of Public Health. The study, published in the American Journal of Public Health, provides support for efforts to implement strong national nutrition standards for all food sold at school while promoting student participation in the National School Lunch Program. Read more.