Chicago Alderman Calls for Hearings on Sugar-Sweetened Beverages and Taxes
George Cardenas, a Chicago alderman, proposed a tax on sugary drinks that could be as much as a penny per ounce. The tax could generate revenue and reduce consumption, obesity, and related healthcare costs.
“We’ve taken high-sugar content beverages out of the public schools. The next step is to tax them,” said Cardenas, chairman of the Chicago City Council's Health Committee. “We have to stem this epidemic.”
The Rudd Center provides extensive resources on sugar-sweetened beverages and taxes.
Food and Beverage Taxes and Marketing Regulations Recommended by UN Food Expert
Five priority actions for addressing diets and food systems were issued by Olivier de Schutter, United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food. Priorities included taxing unhealthy food and beverages to reduce consumption and subsidize fruits and vegetables, and instituting an international code of conduct on food and beverage marketing. Read the full report.
"This is a landmark document that highlights the importance of considering the top world food priorities - sustainability, hunger, and obesity - in the overall context of people's right to food that promotes health and does not harm the environment," according to Kelly Brownell, PhD, Rudd Center Director. "The focus on policies such as taxing unhealthy foods and tighter regulation of practices such as food marketing are welcome and necessary."
Just Published by the Rudd Center
Positive Media Portrayals of Obese Individuals Reduce Weight Stigma
Presenting obese individuals in a positive, non-stereotypical manner in the media could help reduce the public's weight-biased attitudes, according to a study from the Rudd Center. The study, published online in Health Psychology, investigated public attitudes and preferences toward obese individuals based on whether they are stigmatized or portrayed positively by the media.
The research revealed that study participants who viewed stigmatizing images expressed stronger negative attitudes toward obese individuals than those who viewed positive images. Participants said that they preferred viewing the respectful images instead of the stigmatizing images.
To increase public support for obesity prevention and treatment and reduce weight prejudice, the authors suggest that media should make a pledge against perpetuating negative stereotypes and use more respectful portrayals of obese persons.
The study was coauthored by the Rudd Center's Rebecca Pearl, a Yale PhD student in clinical psychology; Rebecca Puhl, PhD, Director of Research and Weight Stigma Initiatives; and Kelly Brownell, PhD, Director.
New Rudd Center RSS Feed
Subscribe to the Rudd Center’s new RSS feed, Rudd Radar, to stay up-to-date on Rudd Center publications, statements, and news on food policy, obesity, and weight bias.
Upcoming Seminar Speakers
March 21, 12:30 pm
March 23, 12:30 pm
March 28, 12:30 pm
April 4, 12:30 pm
Unless otherwise noted, seminars are held at the Rudd Center. The seminars are free and open to the public. Seating is limited. The full schedule for the Spring Seminar Series is available online and for download.
LA County Health Department Launches Sugar Calculator
The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health recently unveiled a sugar calculator to demonstrate the amount of sugar consumed from sugar-sweetened beverages. The core campaign message is "You wouldn't eat this much sugar, why are you drinking it?". The department also began a public transit and billboard education campaign.
Employment Opportunities at the Rudd Center
If you would like to work toward improving the world's diet and preventing obesity, read about the Research Associate and summer Intern opportunities at the Rudd Center.
Rudd Center Spotlight: Robert H. Lustig, MD
Robert H. Lustig, MD, Professor of Pediatrics in the Division of Endocrinology at the University of California, San Francisco, will present The Sugar Pandemic – Policy vs. Politics on April 4 during the Rudd Center’s Spring Seminar Series.
Dr. Lustig is a neuroendocrinologist whose research focuses on the regulation of energy balance by the central nervous system. He is researching how nutritional, neural, hormonal, and genetic influences affect the obesity epidemic.
He is the author of numerous articles, book chapters, and reviews on obesity, including the recent commentary arguing that sugar fulfills the public health criteria for regulation, published in the journal Nature. In 2009, Dr. Lustig gave a lecture called “Sugar: The Bitter Truth” that garnered national media attention, in which he argued that sugar is the primary cause of the metabolic syndrome (obesity, diabetes, hypertension, lipid problems, and heart disease). He is the author of the upcoming book, “Fat Chance: Gambling on Our Personal and Public Health” (Hudson Street Press), to be released in January 2013.
Dr. Lustig graduated from MIT, received his MD from Cornell University Medical College, completed a pediatric residency at St. Louis Children’s Hospital, and performed his clinical fellowship in pediatric endocrinology at UCSF. He spent six years as a Research Associate in neuroendocrinology at The Rockefeller University.
He is the past Chairman of the Ad hoc Obesity Task Force of the Lawson Wilkins Pediatric Endocrine Society, a current member of the Obesity Task Force of The Endocrine Society, a member of the Steering Committee of the International Endocrine Alliance to Combat Obesity, and a member of the Board of Directors of the American Heart Association of the Bay Area.
Worst Marketing Practice
Wendy’s Offers Specialty Kids’ Meal Toys for 2-Year-Olds
Wendy’s has partnered with Genius Brands International, makers of Baby Genius education products. During the next year, Baby Genius books will be offered to young children with their Wendy's Kids' Meals. The books also contain a coupon for a set of Baby Genius DVDs. Baby Genius characters will be displayed in Wendy’s restaurants and on its website. Read more.
Have you seen a best or worst food marketing practice?
Lessons from Habit Heroes: Are There Better Ways for Disney to Address Childhood Obesity?
Disney's Epcot Center recently launched an exhibit to address childhood obesity and promote healthy eating and physical activity in children, wrote Rebecca Puhl, PhD, Rudd Center Director of Research and Weight Stigma Initiatives, in a recent blog on Medscape. The exhibit included comic-strip-like unhealthy habit "villains" with names like "Lead Bottom" and habit heroes (“Will Power” and “Callie Stenics”) who fought the villains. Within days, public criticism and backlash emerged, with concerns that the images and content of the exhibit were shaming and stigmatizing obese children and their families. In response, Disney quickly closed the exhibit, but reports continue to suggest the possibility of revising and reopening the exhibit.
Should this exhibit be re-opened? If so, what should be done differently?
The blog is the latest in a series about weight bias by Dr. Puhl on Medscape, a part of WebMD Health Professional Network (free online registration required).
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