Healthy Communities – 3/1/13

douglascountyFor those of you with Facebook accounts take a look at this fun and interactive use of social media to promote physical activity. Search for “Active Living Douglas County.” Can you guess the location of the bike racks?


Steps to Wellness: A Guide to Implementing the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in the Workplace provides employers interested in establishing or expanding their wellness programs with easy and understandable steps on how to increase the physical activity of employees in the workplace

Kaiser Permanente announced today the launch of Thriving Schools: A Partnership for Healthy Students, Staff and Teachers, to create a culture of health and wellness in schools. As a health care organization, Kaiser Permanente delivers care to an estimated 2 million students, parents, staff and teachers across nine states and the District of Columbia. Visit or follow @thrivingschools on Twitter to stay informed on new developments and activities in your area.

New School Food Resources
The Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project recently released two pieces of material demonstrating how national nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages sold outside of the meal program can increase school food service revenue:

  • An interactive calculator that shows the total food service revenue and overall nutritional value of a USDA school meal compared to those of an a la carte lunch and vending machine sales.
  • A conversation about the financial implications of nutrition standards for snack foods and beverages with Neal Wallace, the lead economic analyst for the project’s health impact assessment.

Healthy Food Access Portal
PolicyLink, The Food Trust, and The Reinvestment Fund are excited to announce the Healthy Food Access Portal and an accompanying, introductory webinar, Knowing the Basics: Food Access 101. The new portal connects community leaders, healthy food retailers, policymakers, and advocates to an extensive array of resources, strategies, and ideas to improve and increase access to healthy food retail—from grocery stores to corner stores, farmers’ markets, and mobile produce trucks—in underserved communities. With funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the three organizations created the nation’s first comprehensive healthy food access retail portal and learning community designed to promote healthy food retail efforts in regions across the country.

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, along with the USDA, are responsible for publishing the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans.  The attached materials have been translated into Spanish. Read the Dietary Guidelines or Physical Activity Guidelines

1. Enjoy Healthy Food That Tastes Great Spanish: Coma alimentos saludables y sabrosos

2. Quick Healthy Meals and Snacks Spanish: Comidas y bocadillos rápidos y saludables

3. Healthy Eating On a Budget Spanish: Consuma una alimentación saludable sin salirse de su presupuesto

4. Tips for Losing Weight and Keeping It Off Spanish: Los 4 mejores consejos para bajar de peso y no volver a subir

5.  Making Healthy Eating a part of your Total Lifestyle Spanish: Convierta la alimentación saludable en parte integrante de su estilo de vida

6.  Be Active Your Way: A Factsheet for Adults Spanish: Manténgase activo a su manera: información para adultos

Model Licensing Ordinance Developed for Healthy Food Retailers 
A new model licensing ordinance for healthy food retailers recently released by ChangeLab Solutions encourage food retailers, especially corner stores, to stock healthier products. The ordinance changes business licensing policies to require all food stores, with the exclusion of restaurants, to carry a minimum selection of healthy food and meet other basic operating standards, setting a “healthy baseline” to improve food quality and accessibility at food stores across an entire community.

Reports and Articles

New colonoscopy news
Earlier this week, the Department of Health and Human Services issued a regulation change stating private insurance companies cannot charge patients for the removal of a polyp during a screening colonoscopy. This does not change Medicare, however. Organizations like Fight Colorectal Cancer continue to work on expanding this change into Medicare as well.

See the links below for more information:

In Many Families, Exercise is By Appointment Only
NPR, 2/27/13
Most families know that their kids need exercise. In a poll that NPR recently conducted with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health, practically all of the parents surveyed said that it’s important for their kids to exercise.

Corporate Wellness Programs Increasingly Rely on Competitions and Team Challenges
Washington Post, 2/24/13
During a doctor’s appointment last year, Sal Alvarez got some discouraging news. His cholesterol had ticked up, his blood pressure was higher, and his physician wanted to put him on more medicine to control those conditions. Discovery Communications is one of an increasing number of companies that are turning to competitions and socially-based activities as a way to compel their workers to get fit, a trend that has been facilitated by a burst of online platforms that make it easy to track one’s performance and see how it stacks up against a co-worker’s.

Don’t Supersize Me: Chain Restaurants Must Cut Calories For Their Own Business Good
Forbes, Larry Husten, 2/26/13
For the restaurant industry, like most others, moral arguments have little or no place in financial decisions.

This Data Brief from the National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) indicates that for 2007–2010, on average, adults consumed just over one-tenth of their percentage of calories from fast food, which represents a decrease from 2003–2006 when approximately 13% of calories were consumed from fast food. Click here to access the Data Brief.

Obesity, Exercise May Affect Risk for Key Type of Colon Cancer
HealthDay News, 2/26/13
Obesity increases a person’s risk for a certain type of colorectal cancer, while exercise lowers the risk, according to a new study.Researchers analyzed data from women in the U.S. Nurses’ Health Study and men in the Health Professionals Study to determine if there was a link between weight, exercise and the risk for CTNNB1-positive or CTNNB1-negative colorectal cancer.

Mediterranean diet can ward off heart disease: Study
New England Journal of Medicine, 2/25/13
A Mediterranean diet high in olive oil, nuts, fish and fresh fruits and vegetables may help prevent heart disease and strokes, according to a new large study from Spain.

Vermont Soda Tax Legislation Fails in Committee
Legislation that would impose a penny-per-ounce sales tax on sugar-sweetened beverages in Vermont was rejected by the state legislature’s healthcare committee last week. The legislation, which would raise an estimated $27 million in annual revenue for various state health programs, was defeated in a 5-5 vote. Observers say that the bill would likely have passed but for the absence of one committee representative, a physician who has sponsored similar measures in the past, being called away to respond to a medical emergency. Similar proposals to place a tax on sugar sweetened beverages have been introduced this year in Rhode Island, Texas, Oregon and Hawaii.

Social Network Could Revolutionize Disease Treatment
Wired, Ryan Tate, 2/26/13
No one is excited to give up privacy to Facebook or Foursquare.

New Attention to First Lady as She Presses Ahead With Healthy Eating Drive
New York Times, Jennifer Steinhauer, 2/27/13
To her admirers, Michelle Obama is the patron saint of quinoa, charged with reducing the nation’s dangerous obesity rate and helping children eat better.

A New Model for Public Works: Portland, Oregon, Commits to Equitable Hiring and Contracting
As President Obama makes a renewed push to rebuild our streets, sewers, and other public infrastructure, Portland, Oregon, illustrates how community and labor groups working together can ensure public investments create equitable opportunities for underserved communities. Approved in 2012, a new citywide Community Benefits Agreement sets targets for hiring and contracting, requires that all workers are represented by unions, and dedicates funds to support women and minority workers and businesses.

Research Review Confirms Prevalence of Unhealthy Food Marketing 
Healthy Eating Research (HER), a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), recently released a research review which showed American youths are still exposed to a disproportionate amount of marketing for high-calorie and nutrient-poor foods—a practice that is linked to overweight and obesity in the United States. The HER examination of research and policy trends related to food and beverage marketing between March 2011 and May 2012 found that industry self-regulation has resulted only in “limited” or “moderate” progress toward achieving the Institute of Medicine’s recommendations to improve children’s and adolescents’ food marketing environments.

How ‘Crunch Time’ Between School And Sleep Shapes Kids’ Health
NPR, 2/25/13
A new poll explores what happens in American households during the hours between school and bedtime. It’s an important question for American families and the nation as a whole: Why do so many kids weigh too much? There are recent hints the epidemic may be abating slightly. Still, one in every three American kids is overweight or obese. To understand why, NPR conducted a poll with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. It focuses on what happens in American households during the hours between school and bedtime. This is crunch time for most families — when crucial everyday decisions get made about food and exercise.

Melanie Warner, Pandora’s Lunchbox: How Processed Food Took Over the American Meal
Scribner, 2013
If a piece of individually wrapped cheese retains its shape, color, and texture for years, what does it say about the food we eat and feed our children? Former New York Times business reporter and mother Melanie Warner decided to explore that question when she observed the phenomenon of the indestructible cheese. She began an investigative journey that takes her to research labs, food science departments, and factories around the country. What she discovered provides a rare, eye-opening and sometimes disturbing account of what we’re really eating. Warner looks at how decades of food science have resulted in the cheapest, most abundant, most addictive, and most nutritionally devastating food in the world, and she uncovers startling evidence about the profound health implications of the packaged and fast foods that we eat on a daily basis.

saltsugarMichael Moss, Salt Sugar Fat: How the Food Giants Hooked Us
Random House, 2013
From a Pulitzer Prize–winning investigative reporter at The New York Times comes the explosive story of the rise of the processed food industry and its link to the emerging obesity epidemic. Michael Moss reveals how companies use salt, sugar, and fat to addict us and, more important, how we can fight back.

Advancing the Public Health System by Defining the Foundational Capabilities of Public Health
Huffington Post, 2/25/2013
Public health departments have the unique role and responsibility for improving health in schools, workplaces and neighborhoods.

Poll: Many Americans Don’t See Their Kids as Overweight
HealthDay, Staff Writer, 02/25/2013
Many American parents fail to see that their children are overweight or obese, a new poll finds.

1 in 8 Americans Diagnosed With Type 2 Diabetes: Poll
HealthDay, 0/21/13
A staggering one in eight Americans has been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, a new Harris Interactive/HealthDay poll suggests.

Too Much Sitting Linked to Chronic Health Problems
HealthDay, 2/21/13
People who spend hours each day without getting up and moving around should take heed: A new study suggests that the more people sit each day, the greater their risk for chronic health problems, such as cancer, diabetes and heart disease.

The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) published a meta-analysis of 100 studies that probed the relationship between body mass index and mortality — studies that found slightly overweight people have lower all-cause mortality than normal weight and underweight people — media around the globe trumpeted the news.

bloodpressureKnow your blood pressure – and your options
National Institutes of Health, 2004
High blood pressure is known as the silent killer.  There are often no symptoms until the heart, arteries, and other organs are already damaged. High blood pressure increases the risk for stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney failure and death, according to the National Institutes of Health’s Seventh Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation and Treatment of High Blood Pressure1.

vegetables‘Smarter Lunchroom’ May Lead to Healthier Choices
Cornell Center for Behavioral Economics in Child Nutrition Programs, February 2013.
Attractive positioning of fruits and veggies influences what kids eat, researchers find. The changes included improving the convenience and attractiveness of fruits and vegetables (such as placing fresh fruit in nice bowls or tiered stands next to the cash register) and having cafeteria staff prompt children to choose fruits and vegetables by asking them questions such as, “Would you like to try an apple?”

A Few Extra Pounds May Harm Lung Function in Black, Hispanic Kids
Montefiore Medical Center, February 2013.
Even a small amount of extra weight can have a negative effect on the lung function of Hispanic and black children, according to a new study released by the Montefiore Medical Center, New York City, NY. And published in the February issue of the Journal of Asthma.


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