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December 10, 2013
Parents, both with and without overweight 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 published this month by researchers at the Yale Rudd Center.
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.
Research 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 this 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 this problem more effectively at both the school and state level,” said Rebecca Puhl, lead author of both studies and deputy director at the Rudd Center.
The authors assert 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.
December 6, 2013
Parents strongly disagree with allowing children under 13 to join Facebook, according to researchers at the Yale Rudd Center. 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 Facebook profiles and other information to target marketing to children.
Over 73% of the parents surveyed do 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 other snack companies to market to children on Facebook or for any advertisers to use Facebook information to target children.
December 4, 2013
ChangeLab Solutions and the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity applaud today’s announcement of a settlement with a company marketing a sugary beverage to kids as a product that would enhance their health.
The settlement, which is 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.
December 3, 2013
The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity 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, it was announced. The Rudd Center is a distinguished program that researches and provides high-level guidance for obesity- and food-related policy.
Recently ranked as one of the most effective among all U.S. nonprofits working on nutrition policy, the Rudd Center joins ISPS as a specialized study center. Working with ISPS, it will continue 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.
November 5, 2013
In 2012 the fast food industry spent $4.6 billion to advertise mostly unhealthy products, and children and teens remained key audiences for that advertising, according to a new report by the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The report highlights a few positive developments, such as healthier sides and beverages in most restaurants’ kids’ meals, but also shows that restaurants still have a long way to go to promote only healthier fast-food options to kids.
“There were some improvements, but they have been small, and the pace too slow,” said Marlene Schwartz, Rudd Center director. “Without more significant changes, we are unlikely to see meaningful reductions in unhealthy fast food consumption by young people.”
The report, “Fast Food FACTS 2013,” is a follow-up to a report released in 2010. Using the same methods, researchers examined 18 of the top fast-food restaurants in the United States and documented changes in the nutritional quality of menu items along with changes in marketing to children and teens on TV, the Internet, social media, and mobile devices.
Detailed findings of the report will be presented Nov. 5 at the American Public Health Association’s annual meeting in Boston. The report was supported by a grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.