Healthy Communities — September 23, 2011


In case you missed it back in August, Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, has released a new toolkit, Obesity Prevention on a Budget: Low and No-Cost Policy Options to Increase Healthy Eating and Active Living.

The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity has launched a website to help parent advocates navigate the complex issues of school food.

Rudd Supporting Parent Advocates with Resources & Knowledge (SPARK) connects parents and provides strategies on how to become a school food expert, advocate effectively, and use media for change within their district.

Video:  Bodega Down Bronx.  This great 30-minute video was made by and is about teenagers living in the South Bronx, a food desert with high obesity and asthma rates.

Articles and Reports

New Walking Trail Opens in Clatskanie, The Chronicle Online, September 14, 2011 Columbia Health Coalition has partnered with Clatskanie Elementary School to open a new walking trail for students and families.

FDA Opposes Corn Syrup Rebranding,                  ABC News, September 15, 2011

A recent attempt by the corn industry to rename high fructose corn syrup to “corn sugar” has been criticized by an official within the Food and Drug Administration.

Learn more about the industry’s rebranding attempt at

New!  School Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Eating and Physical Activity, CDC, September 2011

This report describes school health guidelines for promoting healthy eating and physical activity, including coordination of school policies and practices; a supportive environment; school nutrition services; physical education and physical activity programs; health education; and much more.

Recess is Making a Comeback in SchoolsThe New York Times, September 17, 2011

Restoring recess is part of a broader push by parents, advocacy groups and some city officials to bring more exercise and better nutrition to both schoolchildren and preschoolers.

Boys Benefit Most from Physical Activity Programs in Middle School, ScienceDirect, August 23, 2011

This study found that intramural school participants were more likely to be boys and use indoor spaces, and that settings in which students could participate in physical activity were associated with higher activity levels among boys, but not girls.

Attacking the Obesity Epidemic by First Figuring Out Its Cause,  New York Times,  September 12, 2011

The solution to the nation’s most pressing health problem — the ever-rising epidemic of overweight and obesity at all ages — lies in the answer to this question: Why did this happen in the first place?

U.N. Tackles Non-Communicable Diseases, CNN¸ September 19, 2011

World leaders unanimously approved a “political declaration” meant to steam a rising tide of non-communicable diseases, now the world’s leading killer. It is only the second time a health issue has been debated at a special meeting of the General Assembly.  Read more.

Segregated Spaces, Risky Places: The Effects of Racial Segregation on Health Inequalities (pdf), Joint Center for Political and Economic Studies, September 2011

This research report highlights the effects of place on health and health inequities.  It outlines the existing evidence of residential segregation’s effect on health and examines the relationship between segregation and health inequities using the latest federal Census and health data.

State and Local Policy Initiatives to Reduce Health Disparities – Workshop Summary, Institute of Medicine, September 2011

In May 2009, the IOM’s Roundtable on the Promotion of Health Equity and the Elimination of Health Disparities sponsored a public workshop to explore the role o state and local policy initiative sin reducing health disparities.  This document summarizes the workshop

The No. 1 Reason Americans Are Getting Fatter: We’re Not Smoking, The Atlantic¸ September 21, 2011 This paper from the National Bureau of Economic Research posits that the declining use of cigarettes explains our obesity rates.

NOTE: The authors of this paper developed a statistical model to explain the increase in obesity rates, but in their model, the decrease in cigarette smoking only explains two percent of the increase in obesity. Financial support for this research was “generously provided by the Center for Consumer Freedom (CCF)”, a restaurant and food industry advocacy group, originally founded by Phillip Morris.  CCF has routinely campaigned against the Centers for Disease Control, the Center for Science in the Public Interest, Mothers Against Drunk Driving, among others. 


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