Healthy Communities — November 30, 2012

Health advocates tend to agree that addressing the social determinants of health can be an effective path to health equity. But Tricia Tillman, administrator of the Sate of Oregon’s Office of Equity and Inclusion, says it’s important to recognize that the social determinants of health and the determinants of equity are not always in sync with each other. Learn more in this video interview.


The National Association of State Boards of Education has released two new chapters of its Fit, Health, and Ready to Learn series of school health policy guides:

  • Policies to Promote Healthy Eating
  • Policies to Promote Physical Activity and Physical Education

Reports and Articles

Food Retailer Licensing: an innovative approach to increasing access to healthful foods, Preventing Chronic Disease, December 2012
Increasing the availability of healthful foods at small food retailers is critical to improving the food environment in low-income areas and should be part of any comprehensive approach to reversing the obesity epidemic.


What are the odds your child will be obese?, 11/29/12
What if you could predict your newborn’s likelihood of becoming obese? Researchers believe a new calculator may accurately predict future risks.

Obesity Drugs May Soon See More Insurance Coverage, Boston Globe, 11/28/12
Aetna, one of the nation’s largest insurers, announced Wednesday that it was going to provide coverage for prescription obesity medications including Qsymia and Belviq. Many insurance companies have been dragging their feet on reimbursing for the drugs — approved by the US Food and Drug Administration this past summer.

Diabetes and Sweetener Link Scrutinized, New York Times, 11/26/12
A new study that found a higher prevalence of diabetes in countries with a high level of fructose corn syrup in their food supplies came under attack before it was even released Monday, highlighting the rising controversy over sweeteners and the role they play in the nation’s health.

Confronting the Social Determinants of Health — Obesity, Neglect, and Inequity, The New England Journal of Medicine, 11/22/12
As the obesity epidemic unfolds, increasing numbers of children with severe obesity might be referred for Child Protective Services adjudication. Indeed, some scholars have argued that “state intervention may serve the best interests of many children with life-threatening obesity [and is] the only realistic way to control harmful behaviors.”

School Lunches and Obesity: New Study Cites Value of Strong Regulations Chicago Tribune, 11/21/12
With all the discussion swirling about healthier school lunches, I thought I’d share with you some details from an interesting article in last month’s edition of Pediatrics related to regulations on school snacks.

Public Health and Health Care Working Together, NewPublicHealth, 11/20/12
Through the Affordable Care Act, nonprofit hospitals will have the opportunity to direct their community benefit efforts toward public health interventions and collaborate more effectively with local health departments.

Boston Medical Center’s pantry-by-prescription program recognized with national award The Boston Globe,  11/19/12
Food is medicine. That’s the basic premise behind the Preventive Food Pantry at Boston Medical Center. Doctors at the hospital can write prescriptions for patients to visit the pantry twice a month to stock up on fresh vegetables and canned goods.

No more empty playgrounds: All Chicago elementary schools now have recess Medill Reports, 11/14/12
For the first time in three decades, all Chicago public elementary schools will have recess. It is a requirement under Mayor Rahm Emanuel’s public health initiative and longer school days.


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