Healthy Communities — May 19, 2011

Just for Fun

How does school cafeteria food stack up against prison food?

The 10 most frequently marketed-to-children cereals on TV.

And check out this interesting debate about Georgia’s “Stop Child Obesity” ad campaign – are attention-grabbing tactics necessary to highlight the serious issues of childhood obesity, or will the ads increase stigma and lead to more bullying of overweight and obese children? “Do Georgia’s Child Obesity Ads Go Too Far?”


New Safe Routes to School Interactive Map – see where all nationally funded projects are and learn more about them.

The Department of Education has also launched a new website for Safe and Supportive Schools.  The Safe and Supportive Schools Technical Assistance Center provides training and support to states and school administrators to help improve bullying, harassment, violence, and substance abuse in schools.

National Foundation on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition launched to support and supplement the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition, and to encourage and provide all Americans to get active, play sports and eat healthier.  Legislation to establish this Foundation had been pending for 16 years.

USDA launches campaign to end childhood hunger, including new tools:

Policy Advocacy: Notes from NorthWest Health Foundation and our Grantees During this legislative session, NWHF has provided funding and technical assistance to several organizations seeking to pass legislation in accordance with the foundation’s mission “to advance, support and promote the health of the people of Oregon and southwest Washington.”  For highlights of some our own policy-related activities, as well as the efforts of many our advocate grantees and partners, please visit our new policy and advocacy page on the foundation website.

Articles & Reports

Health Impact Assessment Uncovers Unexpected Benefits, Continues Growing Trend, Health Impact Project, May 12, 2011 From creating new jobs to increasing students’ access to fruits and vegetables, Oregon’s HB 2800 would improve the overall health of the state’s residents. The bill, if enacted as introduced, would reimburse schools for purchasing local foods such as fruits and vegetables, and provide competitive education grants to schools to support teaching gardens and other nutrition education activities.

Fast-Food Lobbies U.S. States on ‘Happy Meal’ Laws Reuters, May 9, 2011 Fast-food companies are asking U.S. state legislators to remove restaurant marketing from local governments’ regulatory menu, in the latest industry bid to stay a step ahead of anti-obesity laws. The efforts come as food companies face increasing scrutiny from the U.S. government over how they pitch their products to youngsters as obesity rates rise.

In Texas Schools, a Picture’s Worth 1,000 Calories Associated Press, May 11, 2011A $2 million project being unveiled Wednesday in the lunchroom of a Texas elementary school will use high-tech cameras to photograph what foods children pile onto their trays — and later capture what they don’t finish eating. Digital imaging analysis of the snapshots will then calculate how many calories each student scarfed down.

Parents Want More Physical Activity for Kids at School, National Poll on Children’s Health, April 18, 2011 94 percent of parents think it is very important for children to get physical activity during the school day, but one-third of parents think their kids do not get enough activity at school.

The Unique Authority of State and Local Health Departments to Address Obesity, American Journal of Public Health, May 12, 2011 The United States has thousands of local health agencies.  Their size, structure and authority differ, but they all possess unique abilities to address obesity.

In the War against Big Food, Money and Messaging Trump Science, Appetite for Profit¸ May 16, 2011 When a policy like the soda tax fails to get enacted due to strong, well financed opposition from industry, public health advocates want more science.  They often believe that new data collected, indisputable conclusions drawn, and policy recommendations will finally convince policymakers and the public to take action.

Food with Benefits, or so they say, New York Times, May 15, 2011 Start in Aisle 2, third shelf from the bottom: here is grape juice for your heart.  In Aisle 4: there are frozen carrots for your eyes.  In Aisle 5: vitamin-packed water for your immune system, probiotic yogurt for your insides and milk for your brain.

PepsiCo’s Designer Salt, Eat Drink Better, April 27, 2011 PepsiCo is experimenting with a “designer salt”.  Its shape is tailored to maximize the amount of salt perceived by the tongue while reducing the actual amount of sodium ingested.  It’s a move by PepsiCo to respond to increasing pressures to make processed foods healthier.

Fast-food industry is quietly defeating Happy Meal bans, LA Times, May 18, 2011 Working under the radar, restaurant lobbyists have persuaded state lawmakers in Florida and Arizona to ban local governments from outlawing giveaways of toys with high-calorie children’s meals.  A proposed ban in Nebraska died before its first hearing.

Spuds, on the verge of being expelled, start a food fight in the cafeteria, Wall Street Journal, May 17, 2011 Federal plan to limit potatoes on school menus whips up opposition from the potato industry, school cafeteria directors and legislators from potato-growing regions.  They’re fighting to see that in schools, no potato is left behind.


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