Healthy Communities – December 3, 2010

Interesting and fun

More Muppets? The New ‘Superfoods’ Want Kids to Eat Healthy
Everyone knows that the average kid’s favorite food is generally not green and reminiscent of a tiny tree. But that could change, if the Muppets have anything to do with it – and they might. Sesame Workshop, the nonprofit associated with Sesame Street, is rolling out four new Muppets – a banana, low-fat cheese, a whole wheat bun and a stalk of broccoli – as part of a national initiative to support families who don’t have easy access to nutritious food.

Resources

2010-2011 School Employee Wellness Awards Program The Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE) is now accepting applications to recognize schools and school districts that demonstrate commitment to the health of their employees by implementing school employee wellness programs.

Place Matters Conference Presentations Powerpoint presentations from the early November Place Matters conference in Portland are now available on-line (click on Presentations).  This conference focused on policy and environmental approaches to health for all ages in Oregon.

The Public Health Law Network People can become members for free and access technical assistance from this organization. Learn more about the services and support available, including a focus on tribal law, in this November 19th presentation.

APHA Advocacy Resources The American Public Health Association’s Center for Public Health Policy has developed evidence-based policy materials in support of the Association’s priority issues.  Two of the most recent fact sheets include:

Voluntary Guidelines for School Siting The US Environmental Protection Agency has released draft voluntary guidelines to help communities protect the health of students and staff when selecting new sites for schools.  Comments are being accepted until February 18th.

Reports & Articles

Community Health Center – Health Department Partnerships, NACHC Forming a Community Health Center/Local Health Department partnership can involve complex legal issues and limitations, and it may be well worth the effort.

Improving Americans’ Health Takes a Community, Associated Press, December 1, 2010
The government’s new 10-year blueprint to improve Americans’ health aims to help whole communities get in better shape, not just the couch potatoes. The issue: Social and environmental factors play a big role in preventing disease.

U.S. Dietary Guidelines About to Change-Get Ready for a Serious Food Fight, US News & World Report, November 24, 2010
If the advisory panel’s input foreshadows the shape and scope of the guidelines the government will issue, the public will see a thorough overhaul, and one that reflects a sense of urgency.

40% of Shoppers: Healthy Food Tastes Bad, Fooducate, November 28, 2010 Catalina Marketing’s new consumer insight report demonstrates how difficult it is for consumers to shake old habits and to start buying and preparing healthy foods.

NYC Leads Effort to Reduce Salt in Food, UPI, November 23, 2010
Six companies have joined a nationwide effort to cut the salt in packaged and restaurant foods by 25 percent over five years.  The New York City-led National Salt Reduction Initiative has developed specific targets to guide company salt reductions across 62 categories of packaged food and 25 categories of restaurant food.

Dietary Sodium Reduction in the United States: Its Importance for Women, Journal of Women’s Health, December 2010                                                     This article addresses the overconsumption of sodium intake by the female population and the subsequent impact on women’s health.

Disease Prevention Could Save U.S. Billions of Dollars Annually, HealthDay News, November 22, 2010
Increased efforts to prevent several lifestyle-related diseases could save the United States billions of dollars a year in medical costs. Using 2003-2005 data from the Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, the investigators estimated how reductions in the rates of diabetes, high blood pressure and related conditions would affect health care spending.

Children Who Get Less Sleep More Likely to Be Obese, November 18, 2010
Researchers found that children who received less than 10 hours of sleep a night had an 80 percent greater chance of being obese. In addition, the researchers found that naps don’t offset the lack of sleep in the evenings.

School Policies and Practices to Improve Health and Prevent Obesity: National Elementary School Survey Results, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, November 2010
This report finds that elementary schools commonly offer their students junk food and soda, serve meals that are high in fat, and provide little time for physical education or recess. Researchers also found that many schools have not implemented wellness policy provisions required by the Child Nutrition and WIC Reauthorization Act of 2004.

Is Heart Disease Genetic Destiny or Lifestyle? EureakAlert, November 15, 2010   Two studies confirm a healthy lifestyle has the biggest impact on cardiovascular health.

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