Healthy Communities – October 29, 2010

Interesting and fun


Resources from the Food Policy Council

Community Prevention and the Public poll results reveal that there is very strong support for community prevention efforts among the public.  73% of the American public supports allocating resources towards community prevention initiatives, described as efforts to make it easier for people to maintain their health and make healthier choices.

The public also supports specific initiatives: Making school lunches healthier and more nutritious (92%), labeling packaged foods so that it’s clearer which ones contain unhealthy amounts of fat, sodium, or sugar (90%), banning smoking from public places like restaurants and bars (82%), and increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables through grocery stores and farmers’ markets in neighborhoods (87%).

Reports & Articles

Eleven Original Articles Illustrate Impact of Social Factors on Health and Health Care Journal of Health and Social Behavior, October 2010
This supplemental issue explores the contributions that social and behavioral scientists have made in reframing public understanding of health and health care issues, including reshaping the health reform debate. Among other highlights, several of the journal articles emphasize the persistent inequalities in health and health care in the United States by social status (i.e., education, income, and occupation) as well as race and ethnicity, and demonstrate how these disparities influence the ways in which Americans use the health care system. These articles underscore the urgency of addressing health where it starts—in our homes, schools, jobs and communities.

Experts Share Promising Best Practices for Collaboration, Preventing Chronic Disease, November 2010
This issue features a set of 11 essays and articles that examine the role that partnerships play in influencing the health of a community. In this issue, population health experts, business leaders and others explore promising model public-private partnerships and highlight key features that make such collaborations effective.

Lunch Line Redesign New York Times, October 21, 2010
Experiments that researchers have done in cafeterias at high schools, middle schools and summer camp programs, as well as in laboratories, have revealed many ways to use behavioral psychology to coax children to eat better. Here are a dozen such strategies that work without requiring drastic or expensive changes in school menus.

Some Not Happy About Schools’ Happy Meal Fundraisers Contra Costa Times, October 14, 2010

Elementary school teachers poured drinks, filled ice cream cones and handed out Happy Meals at a McDonald’s restaurant on Wednesday to raise money for their school. McDonald’s calls it “McTeacher’s Night,” a fundraiser that funnels 20 percent of the night’s profits to teachers who stand behind the fast-food counter serving meals to smiling students

Buying Junk Food with Plastic, Wall Street Journal, October 26, 2010

When we pay in plastic, credit or debit, we’re more likely to buy unhealthy food. In recent years, the use of credit and debit cards has ballooned. So have American waistlines. The average American carries 4.4 cards in her wallet and a third of U.S. adults are obese these days, up from 23% in 1988.  But does the mode of payment make a difference when it comes to buying unhealthy food? According to these researchers, the answer is yes.

Food, grocery trade associations preempt FDA labeling plans, Food Politics, October 27, 2010

Yesterday, the Grocery Manufacturing Association and Food Marketing Institute announced a new labeling initiative for their member companies: a new front-of-package nutrition labeling system.  There is only one explanation for this move: heading off the FDA’s Front-of-Package (FOP) labeling initiatives.

The Latest Sodium Wars, The Atlantic, October 25, 2010

Scientific debates about the role of sodium in high blood pressure go on and on. Committees of scientists reviewing the research invariably conclude that people would be healthier if they ate less salt.  But wait! Hypertension rates have been increasing for years without any change in sodium excretion. has a special issue on obesity research.  Highlighted research includes:


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