Healthy Communities — January 21, 2011

Resources

CDC’s Environmental and Policy Change Clearinghouse This searchable database contains more than 130 online resources including tools, best practices, case studies, and concrete strategies to support local efforts in environmental and policy change for healthy aging.

The Food Environment Atlas The USDA added new indicators, including information on obesity rates, fast food restaurants, physical activity and fitness facilities, and access to grocery stores.

One Page Summaries of Implications of Federal Nutrition Reauthorization

Reports & Articles

CDC Health Disparities and Inequalities Report, United States, 2011, MMWR Supplement This is the first in a periodic series of reports examining disparities in selected social and health indicators.

Food Labeling: FDA Needs to Reassess Its Approach to Protecting Consumers from False or Misleading Claims, The Government Accountability Office, January 14, 2011                                                                                    The report reviews the history of health claims on food labels and takes a tough look at the inability of the FDA to hold health claims on food packages to reasonable scientific standards.

Claiming Health: Front-of-Package Labeling of Children’s Food, Prevention Institute, January 2011                                                                                            This report summarizes the Institute’s investigation of whether kids’ foods with “better for you” front-of-package labels meet dietary recommendations and nutrition standards.  Bottom line: they don’t.  The LA Times has more on this report.

Calorie Counts in Restaurants May Not Curb Eating Habits, Healthland TIME, January 14, 2011                                                                                                                     Given the number of Americans who eat out instead of cooking meals at home, along with the sobering number of us tipping the scales as overweight or obese, a growing number of cities and states have been mandating calorie labeling on restaurant menus.

Big Retailers Fill More Aisles with Groceries, New York Times, January 17, 2011                                                                                                                                                  Reflecting a major shift in the way Americans shop for food, retailers better known for selling clothes or aspirin, including Walgreens, CVS and Target, are expanding in a big way into the grocery business, with fresh produce, frozen meats, and yes, even sushi.

In South Los Angeles, New Fast-Food Spots Get a ‘No, Thanks’ New York Times, January 15, 2011
Los Angeles is making one of the nation’s most radical food policies permanent by effectively banning new fast-food restaurants in South Los Angeles, a huge section of the city that has significantly higher rates of poverty and obesity than other neighborhoods.

New Study Shows Obesity Costs U.S. $270 Billion, Society of Actuaries, December 2010
A new study estimates that the economic cost in the United States of overweight and obesity combined is $270 billion: $198 billion due to obesity and $72 billion due to overweight. Researchers showed that the costs are due to medical expenses, excess mortality, and disability.

The First Lady’s Op-Ed on Reversing Childhood Obesity, CNN Health, December 29, 2010
First Lady Michelle Obama recently penned an op-ed summarizing the work done in 2010 on combating the childhood obesity epidemic. She praises the progress made in 2010 but reminds readers that childhood obesity is still a serious issue and that there is much to do.

Wal-Mart Shifts Strategy to Promote Healthy Foods, Business Day, January 20, 2011
The company said it would lower the price of fresh produce and cut sugar, fat and salt in its house brands, and would press other food manufacturers to do the same.

Community Benefits: Non-Profit Hospitals and Public Health Partnering to Meet Community Needs, The Hilltop Institute, January 2011

This brief, entitled Hospital Community Benefits after the Affordable Care Act: The Emerging Federal Framework, provides background on federal hospital community benefit policy; outlines the new requirements described in the Affordable Care Act; and identifies new challenges and opportunities for state and federal decision-makers as they begin to develop responses to the new federal requirements.

Travel Time to Groceries and the Impacts on Public Health, The City Fix, November 2010

This article reports on a set of studies showing how grocery stores can be inaccessible to large portions of the population.  The long-term inaccessibility of fresh food can be especially challenging for the health of low-income or minority populations.

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