Rudd Center Awards Golden Apples for Ideas On Combating Obesity Epidemic

The Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity at Yale will bestow Golden Apple Awards Thursday, December 7, on the winners of its first “Seeds of Healthy Change” contest, which is designed to generate creative ideas to battle the global obesity epidemic.

At the same time, the center will launch its “Champions for Change” program to celebrate ordinary people who improve the food environment in their own communities. A champion will be selected each month beginning in January and their stories will be featured by the center so that others might be inspired by their example.

Winners of the 2006 “Seeds of Healthy Change” awards are:

Cindy Johnson, songwriter from Mishicot, Wisconsin. Johnson won for her song, “Obesity,” a poignant expression of the pain overweight people feel when they are stigmatized. Johnson began writing poetry and playing guitar at the age of 13, activities that soon merged into a single passion: songwriting.  She has written several songs that won Songwriters of Wisconsin awards. Johnson performs occasionally, but says that the hazards of her day job in a wood factory – splinters – often keep her off the guitar. She is generally a folk artist, but she composed a single punk tune, which she wrote in deference to her son’s taste. Johnson won in the Reshape Your Attitude category, which called for entries that raise awareness of weight stigma. To hear Johnson’s song visit the Rudd Center website at

Colleen Peck, homemaker from South Jordan, Utah. A mother of five who loves to bake, Peck frequently enters cooking contests. Peck won in the A-Plus Lunches category, which challenged contestants to come up with a healthy, appealing, practical and packable lunch for school children. Her father was a huge proponent of whole grains, something Peck still honors in her recipes. That includes her prizewinning lunch box menu featuring peanut butter and raspberry sandwiches on whole grain bread. Peck tested the lunch on her four-year-old daughter, a big raspberry fan. For Peck’s recipes and more suggestions on healthy eating for kids, visit the Rudd Center website at

Riverdale YM-YWHA, New York, New York. Families in Riverdale, a section of the Bronx, found a way to support their early child education program without resorting to selling junk food. Their “Light to Light” fundraiser sold energy efficient light bulbs. The sale tied in with a program the school launched to study Chanukah in the context of the environment. The Bible recounts although the Israelites had only enough oil to burn for a short time, their lamps burned miraculously for eight days. Thus Chanukah seemed like the ideal time to teach children about conserving natural resources. Light to Light won in the Sugar-Free Fundraising category, which solicited ideas for school fundraisers that could be profitable and practical without promoting unhealthy foods. Judges felt the Riverdale idea was outstanding because it asked families to buy something they needed anyway, did nothing to promote unhealthy eating and encouraged good stewardship of the environment.

All prize winners receive $1,000 and a Golden Apple statuette.

The Rudd Center was founded to fight the global obesity epidemic through research and advocacy. The center also sponsors initiatives to combat weight stigma. It is directed by Kelly Brownell, professor of psychology and epidemiology and public health at Yale.

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