Interagency Obesity Task Force Report from Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move Initiative
In April, Rudd Center Director Kelly D. Brownell, PhD, attended a White House meeting for the Task Force on Childhood Obesity. The Task Force recently released its report to the President, “Solving the Problem of Childhood Obesity Within a Generation.”
The report’s recommendations include:
- Analyze the effect of state and local sales taxes on less healthy, energy-dense foods.
- Schools should be encouraged to consider the impact of food marketing on education.
- The food and beverage industry and the media and entertainment industry should jointly adopt meaningful, uniform nutrition standards for marketing food and beverages to children, as well as a uniform standard for what constitutes marketing to children.
- Industry should provide technology to help consumers distinguish between advertisements for healthy and unhealthy foods and to limit their children’s exposure to unhealthy food advertisements.
- Schools should be encouraged to ensure that choosing a healthy school meal does not have a social cost for a child.
View Rudd Center publications cited in the report for more information about the recommendations:
- “Marketing Foods to Children and Adolescents: Licensed Characters and Other Promotions on Packaged Foods in the Supermarket,” published in Public Health Nutrition, which shows a significant increase in the use of youth-oriented cross-promotions on food packaging in the supermarket.
- The negative effects of television food ads on eating, published in “Priming Effects of Television Food Advertising on Eating Behavior,” from Health Psychology.
- “Stigma and Discrimination in Weight Management and Obesity,” from The Permanente Journal, on training health care providers to effectively discuss obesity with parents and reduce its stigma.
- Preventing weight stigma in children, published in “Stigma, Obesity, and the Health of the Nation’s Children,” published in the Psychological Bulletin of the American Psychological Association.
- The effectiveness of a sugar-sweetened beverage tax on consumption, discussed in the New England Journal of Medicine’s Perspective piece, “Ounces of Prevention — The Public Policy Case for Taxes on Sugared Beverages,” and in the American Journal of Public Health, “The Impact of Food Prices on Consumption: A Systematic Review of Research on the Price Elasticity of Demand for Food.”
New Rudd Center YouTube Playlist
Viewing Rudd Center videos just got easier. With the new YouTube playlist users can view all videos by date, title, and length. The playlist also allows users to subscribe to an RSS feed that is automatically updated when new content is released. View our videos exposing the myths and facts about weight bias and prejudice, and seminars and podcasts from guests who have visited the Rudd Center, including Mark Bittman, author, television host, and New York Times columnist.
Food and Addiction Series
University of California Television recently premiered a series, "Food and Addiction: Environmental, Psychological and Biological Perspectives." Two installments come from Rudd Center staff: “The Importance of The Environmental Change,” presented by Kelly D. Brownell, PhD, Rudd Center Director; and “What is Food Addiction and How is it Measured in Humans?” presented by Ashley Gearhardt, MS, a PhD student in Yale’s Clinical Psychology program.
Just Published by the Rudd Center
Obesity Stigma: Important Considerations for Public Health
Weight discrimination poses serious risks to the psychological and physical health of obese individuals and should be considered a social justice issue as well as a public health priority, according to a paper from the Rudd Center in the June issue of the American Journal of Public Health. Authors Rebecca M. Puhl, PhD, Director of Research and Weight Stigma Initiatives, and Chelsea A. Heuer, MPH, Research Associate, argue that weight bias is pervasive and its public health implications are still largely ignored. This paper makes a compelling argument that at least some of the health consequences associated with obesity may be due to the stress and other social consequences obese persons experience as a result of weight bias, stigma, and discrimination.
Public health professionals who treat overweight and obese individuals have been shown to have fat prejudice. A new study demonstrates that this prejudice can be heightened or reduced, depending upon the information people receive about the causes of obesity. Fat prejudice increased when people received a curriculum with controllable reasons for obesity (diet/exercise). It decreased when they followed a curriculum with information about genetic and environmental causes. Co-authors of the study, published in the April issue of Obesity, included Kerry S. O’Brien, PhD, University of Manchester, UK; Rebecca M. Puhl, PhD, Rudd Center; Janet D. Latner, PhD, University of Hawaii at Manoa; Azeem S. Mir, MBBS, MPH, Shifa College of Medicine, Pakistan; and John A. Hunter, DPhil, University of Otago, New Zealand.
Rudd Center Community Spotlight: Justin Freiberg
Justin Freiberg is passionate about sharing the transformative act of growing food with youth. In the summer of 2009, he founded and managed the Urban Foodshed Collaborative in New Haven, Connecticut. The program seeks to reinvent vacant urban spaces through the insights and efforts of local youth. The teenagers cultivate food for local markets and restaurants, and the gardens provide green space for communities.
Freiberg produced a film, Foodshed, which chronicles the changes the New Haven teenagers underwent during their first summer working as urban farmers. The film allows the youth to discuss the potential of urban farms as entrepreneurial opportunities for unemployed teens.
Freiberg recently received his Master’s in Environmental Science from the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and holds a Certificate in Conservation Biology from Columbia University. He previously worked with the Wildlife Conservation Society, Added Value, and Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture. He has a Master’s and Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wesleyan University.
School Wellness Assessment Webinar
The Rudd Center and Action for Healthy Kids hosted a webinar on May 14 to discuss the Wellness School Assessment Tool (WellSAT). WellSAT assesses the comprehensiveness and strength of school districts’ local wellness policies in nutrition education and promotion, physical activity/physical education, school meals, and competitive foods. Hundreds of school and health professionals participated. Stay tuned for information on future WellSAT webinars.
Parents’ Support for Food Marketing Regulations Increases with Awareness of Marketing Practices Targeting their Children
A recent Rudd Report describes the result of focus groups with Caucasian, Hispanic, and African American parents that explored parents’ knowledge about marketing techniques used by food companies to target children and their support for government regulation.
The focus groups were held in New York and Chicago and moderated by a professional facilitator. Initially most parents were not knowledgeable about the frequency and negative impact of child-targeted food marketing. Providing examples of current food marketing practices convinced many parents of the need for governmental action. Illustrations included internet advertising and advergames on company Web sites and the Center for Better Business Bureau’s Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative.
Parents’ enhanced awareness of food marketing practices increased their support of societal-level solutions. These findings demonstrate the opportunity for community and advocacy groups to enlist parents in efforts to make changes in their own communities and to call for federal-level regulations.
In an effort to raise awareness about the meals that students are served at school, one teacher has become a participant observer in her elementary school’s lunch program. Each day ”Mrs. Q” eats and documents the meal on her anonymous blog, “Fed Up with Lunch: The School Lunch Project.” She includes her opinion of the lunch and how it affects the students’ enjoyment of school meals, their performance, and well-being.
The Latest Rudd Center Podcasts
Geraldine Henchy, MPH, RD
Director of Nutrition Policy, Food Research and Action Center
The Rudd Center’s extensive library of podcasts is available for download on iTunes U, under the Yale University Health & Medicine — Nutrition & Obesity section, or can be subscribed to through an RSS Feed that automatically updates when new content is released. Podcasts can be listened to on a computer or downloaded to a music player.