Rudd Center Joins the Institution for Social and Policy Studies
The Rudd Center recently announced that it will become part of the university’s Institution for Social and Policy Studies (ISPS), Yale’s premier center for the study and shaping of public policy and training of future policy leaders.
Recently ranked as one of the most effective among all U.S. nonprofits working on nutrition policy, the Rudd Center will join ISPS as a specialized study center. Working with ISPS, it will continue to focus on its mission of improving the world’s diet, preventing obesity, and reducing weight stigma by establishing creative connections between biological and social science and public policy.
“We are delighted to join ISPS and the community of social science and policy researchers at Yale,” said Marlene Schwartz, PhD, Rudd Center Director. “This move reflects the Rudd Center's commitment to expanding our longstanding collaboration with faculty and students from other departments and schools at Yale.”
“The Rudd Center has shown how high-quality research and creative thinking can be married to thoughtful commentary on public policy,” said Jacob Hacker, PhD, Director of ISPS and Professor of Political Science. “We expect to learn from them as much as they learn from us as we move forward together.”
The ISPS network at Yale includes a large roster of top scholars and students from social science departments, as well as from law, medicine, environmental studies, public health, and management. It is home to three other specialized study centers: the Center for the Study of American Politics, ISPS Health at Yale, and the Interdisciplinary Center for Bioethics. The Rudd Center will become a partner with these ISPS centers as they seek to expand their work on some of the most pressing health issues of our day.
The Rudd Center Shares its 2013 Accomplishments
The Rudd Center works to improve the world’s diet, prevent obesity, and reduce weight stigma. Over the last year the Center has conducted cutting-edge research, collaborated with other health organizations, and educated communities and policy makers about empirically supported strategies to improve the food environment.
Your gift supports the Center’s critical research, education, and outreach. Learn more about how you can help here.
Senator Calls on Energy Drink Companies to Remove Toys Targeting Kids from Store Shelves
The Rudd Center’s Director of Marketing Initiatives, Jennifer Harris, PhD, MBA, was recently invited to speak at a press conference with Senator Richard Blumenthal of CT, who urged energy drink companies to remove toys bearing their logos from retail stores across the country.
Despite statements by both Red Bull and Rockstar claiming their companies do not market to children, a toy car bearing Red Bull’s logo and a toy boat bearing Rockstar’s can still be found on store shelves.
During the press conference, Senator Blumenthal showed examples of these toys, and again called for their removal. Jennifer Harris spoke about the health risks associated with energy drinks and how young people are exposed to massive amounts of marketing for energy drinks.
The energy drink market has expanded quickly in recent years. Due to the potential health risks caused by stimulants in energy drinks, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that they never be consumed by children or adolescents.
Health Advocates Host Webinar on Sugary Drink Tax Campaigns in Mexico and Telluride
The Rudd Center, Center for Science in the Public Interest, and California Center for Public Health Advocacy recently hosted a webinar to hear from the leaders of the latest sugary drink tax campaigns. Alejandro Calvillo Unna, Executive Director of the Mexican Civil Society Association, and Emo Overall, of Kick the Can Telluride and co-founder of Partnership for Lifelong Active Youth, recounted their campaign strategies and spoke about lessons learned. For a link to a recording of the webinar, email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Parents against Allowing Children under Age 13 to Join Facebook
Parents strongly disagree with allowing children under 13 to join Facebook, according to Rudd Center researchers. Facebook’s current terms of service do not allow children under 13 to become members, but the social networking site is considering relaxing these rules.
Researchers surveyed a sample of parents about whether children under age 13 should have their own Facebook profiles and whether Facebook should allow advertisers to use those profiles and other information to target marketing to children.
Over 73% of the parents surveyed did not agree that children under the age of 13 should have their own Facebook profiles. In addition, if children under 13 are permitted to use Facebook, more than two-thirds of the parents surveyed said it would not be okay for fast food, soft drink, and snack companies to market to children on Facebook or for any advertisers to use Facebook information to target children.
SideKicks Settlement Requires Misleading Ads to be Removed from Air
The settlement between the New York State Attorney General’s Office and Abbott Laboratories, is in response to a complaint filed by health advocates about misleading ads for Pediasure SideKicks, a sweetened chocolate-, vanilla-, or strawberry-flavored shake-type beverage, and SideKicks Clear, a sweetened fruit-flavored drink that does not contain milk.
Examples of the marketing include:
• Advertising Pediasure SideKicks using television ads that showed an energetic kid on a soccer field contrasted with kids who were shown to have eaten junk food like French fries or doughnuts. The ads implied that SideKicks would enhance the child’s performance on the field, as well as her overall health.
• In addition, though SideKicks Clear contained no actual fruit, Abbott had online ads that included pictures of fruit, which could easily mislead consumers to think fruit was an ingredient. Moreover, the product’s label did not include language, required by federal law, specifying that the beverage contains no fruit or fruit juice.
The settlement required Abbott to pull these ads from television and the Internet. “We are thrilled that the ads are off the air,” said Marice Ashe, JD, JPH, CEO and founder of ChangeLab Solutions. “This is a perfect example of the kind of misleading marketing that directly and negatively affects the health of kids in all our communities.”
“This settlement represents a tremendous victory in our effort to shine the light on the misleading practices of beverage companies, and should serve as a warning to other companies engaged in similarly deceptive marketing practices,” said Marlene Schwartz, PhD, Rudd Center Director.
Parents and advocates who see similar ads about other products can report them to their state attorney general’s office, to industry organizations, such as the Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU) and the Children’s Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI), which oversee self-regulation of these practices, or to the Federal Trade Commission (FTC). ChangeLab Solutions offers a free guide to identifying and reporting these ads.
Just Published by the Rudd Center
Parents Support Anti-Bullying Policies that Protect Overweight Students
Parents of both overweight and normal-weight children are concerned about weight-based bullying and are in favor of a range of policy initiatives to address the issue, according to two new studies recently published by Rudd Center researchers.
Researchers surveyed 918 American parents with children ages 2-18 years. The first study, published in Childhood Obesity, examined parental perceptions and concerns about weight-based victimization in youth. The second study, published in the International Journal of Obesity, examined parental support for policy measures and school-based efforts to address weight-based victimization of overweight youth.
In the first study, researchers found that 53% of parents perceived that the most common reason youth are bullied is because they are overweight. Parents’ views remained the same regardless of their own weight or their child’s weight. Fewer than 13% believed that race, sexual orientation, or disability were the most common reasons for youth being bullied. In addition, parents both with and without overweight children expressed similar levels of concern about the health consequences of weight-based bullying for youth.
Findings from the second study showed that although most parents perceived overweight youth to be vulnerable to weight-based bullying at school, less than half of the parents surveyed believed schools are adequately prepared to deal with the issue. At least 80% of parents agreed that schools should implement anti-bullying policies that include specific protections for students who are overweight or obese, increase resources available to youth who experience weight-based victimization at school, and promote awareness about the problem. Support was also strong for broader policy measures, with more than two-thirds of parents agreeing that state anti-bullying laws should include specific protections against weight-related bullying.
“These studies highlight how concerned families are about weight-based bullying, and that there is substantial support among parents for a range of actions to address the problem more effectively at both the school and state level,” said Rebecca Puhl, PhD, lead author of both studies and Rudd Center Deputy Director.
The authors asserted that this evidence can be used by schools and concerned parents to increase public awareness, support advocacy efforts, and inform policy makers about weight-based bullying and the need for greater protection of youth who are vulnerable to this form of bullying.
The paper published in Childhood Obesity was co-authored by the Rudd Center’s Deputy Director, Rebecca Puhl, PhD; Joerg Luedicke, MS, Statistical Consultant; and Jenny DePierre, BA, former Research Assistant. The paper published in the International Journal of Obesity was co-authored Rebecca Puhl, PhD and Joerg Luedicke, MS.
Weight Bias is Commonly Observed by Health and Medical Students
Health and medical students witness stigmatizing comments and behaviors about obese patients during their training and also exhibit some weight-based biases and attitudes of their own, according to a study by the Rudd Center recently published in the journal Obesity.
The researchers surveyed 107 students studying to be physician’s assistants, psychologists, or psychiatrists.
Only 3% of participants surveyed agreed that it was acceptable to make jokes about patients with obesity, yet 43% responded that patients with obesity are common targets of derogatory humor; 50% indicated that their peers had negative attitudes about patients with obesity; and 63% reported witnessing other students making jokes about patients with obesity.
In addition, a majority of respondents did not believe patients with obesity would adhere to treatment recommendations or that those patients would be able to maintain weight loss. Only 25% said that they would enjoy counseling patients who have obesity.
The results also showed that many students believed obesity to be caused primarily by behavioral factors, rather than complex environmental and situational factors.
The authors recommended that obesity stigma reduction should be an integral part of medical and health education.
The Rudd Center offers a free educational video to be used in medical staff training that aims to raise awareness of the sources and consequences of weight bias in health care, and provides a range of practical strategies to optimize the health care experience for obese patients.
The paper was co-authored by the Rudd Center’s Deputy Director, Rebecca Puhl, PhD; Joerg Luedicke, MS, Statistical Consultant; and Carlos Grilo, PhD, Professor of Psychiatry and of Psychology, Yale University and Director, Program for Obesity Weight and Eating Research.
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