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May 16, 2013
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.
May 7, 2013
Regardless of body weight, teens had high brain activity during food commercials compared to nonfood commercials, according to researchers from the University of Michigan, the Oregon Research Institute, and the Rudd Center. The study, which appears in the current issue of Social Cognitive and Affective Neuroscience, may inform the current debates about the impact of food advertising on minors.
Children see thousands of commercials each year designed to increase their desire for foods high in sugar, fat, and salt. Researchers analyzed how the advertising onslaught affects the brain by measuring the brain activity of teenagers while watching food and nonfood commercials.
Regions of the brain linked to attention, reward, and taste were active for all participants, especially when food commercials aired. Overall, they recalled and liked food commercials better than nonfood commercials.
April 29, 2013
Efforts to encourage healthy beverage choices by people receiving federal food assistance are paying off, according to a study published by the Rudd Center in Pediatrics. The study shows that purchases of 100 percent juice declined among participants in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) after the program changed in 2007 to offer foods that better reflect dietary recommendations for Americans.
While 100 percent fruit juices are widely marketed as healthy beverages, they contain the same amount of calories as soda and lack the fiber that is present in whole fruit. In addition, previous research in Pediatrics has shown that excessive consumption of 100 percent juice is associated with increased risk of weight gain.
The WIC program is designed to help meet the needs of pregnant and postpartum women, infants, and young children who are at nutritional risk. Prior to the WIC food package revisions, the federal monthly allowances of 100 percent juice exceeded dietary recommendations for juice consumption in young children. New WIC food packages provide considerably less juice.
April 26, 2013
The nonprofit program, Scenarios USA, has released a fictional short film called "The Tale of Timmy Two Chins" which examines body image, weight issues, and gender stereotypes through friendship, family, self-esteem, grief, and peer pressures, including bullying and shaming.
Teased at school for being “Timmy Two Chins,” Tim’s weight makes him feel unmanly and invisible. The story demonstrates Tim’s struggle to find his self-worth and serves as an educational resource for students. The film will be shown in schools across the country and includes a lesson plan.
"Scenarios USA has helped give a voice to young people experiencing weight-based bullying,” according to Rebecca Puhl, PhD, the Rudd Center’s Director of Research and Weight Stigma Initiatives, who contributed her expertise to the film. “This film will help educate students across the country about this problem, and the importance of treating each other with respect and tolerance, regardless of one's body size."
April 26, 2013
Undergraduate students want nutrition information displayed in campus dining halls, and will use that information to make food choices, according to a study published in Health Education Journal. The study can guide university and college policies about providing nutrition information labels in dining halls.
Researchers conducted a survey of 487 undergraduate students at an urban university. The survey was conducted over a three-month period during the 2009 – 2010 academic school year and asked students about their perceptions and use of nutrition labels in dining halls.
Ninety-eight percent of the students surveyed indicated that it was a good idea to make nutrition information available either online or in the dining halls for each meal. In addition, the majority of students said that nutrition information would impact their food choices. Most students reported that the calorie and ingredient information were the most important aspects of the nutrition information cards, followed by fat content.