Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity

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Recent Alerts

Recommendations for Responsible Food Marketing to Children

January 20, 2014

The marketing of unhealthy foods to children and youth is a major public health concern. Children in the United States grow up surrounded by food and beverage marketing, which primarily promotes junk food and inadequate amounts of healthy food.

A national panel of experts, convened by Healthy Eating Research, recently released a comprehensive set of model definitions for food marketing practices directed to children.

The recommendations define the child audience range as birth to 14 years of age; address the range of food marketing practices aimed at children; and specify the strategies, techniques, media platforms, and venues used to target children.

According to the authors, when paired with sound nutrition criteria, these recommendations will help support responsible food marketing to children by addressing current loopholes in food marketing definitions and self-regulatory efforts that allow companies to market unhealthy foods and beverages to children.

Rudd Center Welcomes New Year at the University of Connecticut

December 27, 2014

The Rudd Center will move to the University of Connecticut (UConn) next month. The Center will relocate to Constitution Plaza in Hartford.

The move is one of the first major initiatives of UConn’s Academic Vision, which prioritizes health and wellness research as an integral part of the University’s mission.

Center staff and faculty look forward to a successful new year and increased opportunities to collaborate with the UConn community. 

Rudd Center Introduces WellSAT 2.0

December 26, 2014

The Rudd Center recently updated the WellSAT, a quantitative assessment tool of school wellness policies.  WellSAT offers a consistent and reliable means of assessing the comprehensiveness and strength of school wellness policies within or among states. The tool is designed for use by school district level administrators, district wellness policy advisory board members, and public health professionals.

By completing the updated Wellness School Assessment Tool, WellSAT 2.0 users will be able to assess the quality of their school district’s wellness policy, and will be provided with personalized guidance and resources for making improvements, based on the assessment.

National attention to school wellness has grown tremendously since the launch of the original WellSAT in 2010 and schools are being held to a higher standard than ever before. With the 2010 Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, the USDA set new standards for school nutrition and wellness policies. The WellSAT was updated to reflect new USDA school food requirements and current best practices in all areas of school wellness.

Support for this project was provided by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Rudd Foundation.

Rudd Center Releases Sugary Drink FACTS 2014

November 19, 2014

Beverage companies spent $866 million to advertise unhealthy drinks in 2013, and children and teens remained key target audiences for that advertising, according to a new report released today by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The report, Sugary Drink FACTS 2014, highlights some progress regarding beverage marketing to young people, but also shows that companies still have a long way to go to improve their marketing practices and the nutritional quality of their products to support young people’s health.

While the Children's Food and Beverage Advertising Initiative (CFBAI) regulates advertising placed in TV and other media where 35% or more of the audience is made up of children aged 11 and under, this report measures total exposure to TV advertising for sugary drinks by preschoolers (2-5), children (6-11) and teenagers (12-17), as well other forms of marketing they encounter.

"Despite promises by major beverage companies to be part of the solution in addressing childhood obesity, our report shows that companies continue to market their unhealthy products directly to children and teens,” said Jennifer Harris, PhD, Yale Rudd Center’s director of marketing initiatives and lead author of the report. “They have also rapidly expanded marketing in social and mobile media that are popular with young people, but much more difficult for parents to monitor.”

Berkeley Passes Soda Tax

November 5, 2014

Berkeley has become the nation's first city to pass a soda tax. With majority required for passage, more than three-quarters of the votes were in favor of Measure D. The measure will place a 1-cent-per-ounce tax on sugary drinks in an effort to reduce consumption and combat diet-related diseases like diabetes and obesity. The tax will go into effect on January 1, 2015.

“The passing of Measure D shows how committed the City and citizens of Berkeley are to health and nutrition,” said Marlene Schwartz, PhD, Rudd Center Director. “Research shows that soda and other sugary drinks are the number one single source of sugar in the American diet, and contribute to diet-related diseases like obesity and diabetes. By passing Measure D, the Berkeley community is raising awareness about the link between sugary drinks and diet-related diseases, raising revenue for community programs, and reducing consumption of these harmful drinks. This is an important development that will pave the way for similar policies across the country.”

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