Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

Past Initiatives

Strategic Science on Schools, Families and Communities

The Rudd Center conducts scientific research to draw attention to the roles of schools, families, and communities in children's eating behaviors and childhood obesity. Decades of research on the treatment of adult obesity has demonstrated how difficult it is for people to lose weight and maintain weight loss over time. We believe that the best way to address the obesity epidemic is to change the environment by changing the foods that children are exposed to at home, in school, and in the community.

Our research studies have aimed to examine how the following factors influence children's eating behavior:

  • Parental feeding practices
  • Preschool and childcare nutrition policies
  • National school lunch program policies
  • School wellness policies

Here are examples of some past studies:

Introducing novel vegetables to preschoolers. This study examines whether serving novel vegetables to preschoolers 10 times over several weeks increases their liking and consumption of these foods.

Macro-level Predictors of School Wellness Policies in Connecticut. This study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Eating Research Program, examined the wellness policies of 150 Connecticut school districts during the 2006-2007 school year. We are coding the content and quality of these policies, looking for links to the sociodemographic characteristics of the school district and town.

Understanding preschool food policies: Predictors and consequences. This study, funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Eating Research Program, will develop a multi-method assessment toolkit to assess food policies and nutrition environment of childcare and preschool settings.

Parental food rules. This project examines data from several samples on the relationship between parental food rules and children’s later difficulties with eating, weight, and other psychopathology.