Healthy Communities – April 12, 2013

minority cancer awarenessMinority Cancer Awareness: Everyday Steps to Help Lower Your Risk
American Cancer Society:  April 5, 2013
Every April the American Cancer Society and other organizations work together to raise awareness about cancer among minorities in honor of National Minority Health Month and National Minority Cancer Awareness Week, celebrated this year April 15-21.


schoolkidwhealthyfoodU.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Study: School Kids Eating More Fruits, Vegetables
Students at elementary schools participating in USDA’s Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program consumed 15 percent more fruits and vegetables, based on an agriculture department study released recently. The study conducted by USDA’s Food and Nutrition Service found that fruit and vegetable consumption increased by a third of a cup among students participating in the program, compared to non-participating students. Increased consumption of fruit accounted for most of the change. The increase in fruit and vegetable consumption through the program doesn’t appear to substantially increase calories in children’s diets.

Almost all students tried the fruit and vegetable snacks (97% and 84% of students, respectively); and a substantial majority ate most or all of snacks provided (86% and 61%, respectively), he said. The report describes findings from the evaluation conducted during the 2010–2011 school year.

The Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program is popular among schools, students and parents, and effective in increasing children’s fruit and vegetable consumption. Begun as a pilot in 2002, the program aims to increase fruit and vegetable consumption among students in the nation’s poorest elementary schools by providing free fresh fruits and vegetables to students outside of regular school meals. The pilot was converted into a nationwide program in the Food, Conservation, and Energy Act of 2008, also known as the Farm Bill.

Find out more about the Fresh Fruit and Vegetable Program, the report, and a summary released in late March 2013.

The Oregon Food Bank and the Retail Environment Assessment
The Douglas County team in Oregon has partnered with the Food Bank to jointly look at the food environment in that County. Douglas was able to add some questions about tobacco displays to the retail environment assessment. The food bank is not planning on using the tobacco results, but they are interested in fostering an ongoing relationship. Surveys have occurred and are ongoing around the state.
See the results of community food assessments around Oregon and Washington.

Sodium Reduction Toolkit: A Global Opportunity to Reduce Population-Level Sodium Intake.
As part of a broader international effort, the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) developed this toolkit, which provides a brief overview of various topics related to population-level sodium reduction. We hope this toolkit serves as a guide when developing population-based strategies to reduce sodium in your country or region.

Additional sodium resources, guides, and fact sheets can be found at
If you need additional assistance related to this toolkit, please contact Jessica Barron at

Need Resources for Community Health Assessment and Improvement Planning?
The National Association of County and City Health (NACCHO) is pleased to announce the availability of the Resource Center for Community Health Assessments (CHAs) and Community Health Improvement Plans (CHIPs) to support local communities in their community health improvement efforts. This resource center is an online, publicly accessible venue available at no cost, that contains over 150 resources developed by and for health departments and their partners.
Click here to access the CHA/CHIP Resource Center. For any questions, please e-mail

We are pleased to share with you several new resources developed by NRPA that help advance our nation’s efforts to prevent obesity and promote healthy lifestyles. Over the past five years, NRPA has worked with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) on programs that aim to improve levels of physical activity, increase access to nutritious foods, and reduce tobacco use in communities. In just five years, we have impacted 21 million people! Our programs support local park and recreation agencies and community leaders to plan for and implement changes in communities that shape long-term lifestyle choices and behaviors.

The following resources highlight key successes and lessons learned from these programs:

  • Parks Build Healthy Communities: Success Stories, a compilation of case studies from local park and recreation agencies across the country that highlight successful strategies for building healthy communities through changes to policies and the environment;
  • Issue Briefs that serve as a resource and reference to educate on key topics, highlight the role of park and recreation agencies in public health issues, and share case studies of successful implementation; and
  • Dialogue Guides intended to encourage park and recreation agencies to play a leadership role in bringing together a diverse group of people and organizations that are interested in or are working towards creating healthy, vibrant communities.

These resources are available online at

Diabetes Self-Management Training Resources from the National Council on Aging (NCOA)
The National Council on Aging (NCOA) Web site features a variety of resources specific to Medicare’s Diabetes Self-Management Training benefit, including a comprehensive toolkit, FAQs, Webinars, and tip sheets. Several of these resources focus on use of the Stanford Diabetes Self-Management Program as part of an expanded (ADA-recognized or AADE-accredited) diabetes self-management education program that meets the requirements for Medicare reimbursement. Click here to visit the Web site. The following resources may be of particular interest to state health departments:

Federal Register Notice Now Open: Comment on An Anticipated Surgeon General’s Call To Action On Walking
To address the public health problem of physical inactivity, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in the Department of Health and Human Services announced the opening of a docket to obtain information from the public on walking as an effective way to be sufficiently active for health. The information obtained will be used to frame an anticipated Surgeon General’s call to action on this issue.

The notice can be found at The 30 day public comment period begins today and ends Tuesday, April 30, 2013. The notice requests information on way to increase walking and community walkability on the following topics:

  • Barriers to walking for youth; adults; seniors; persons with developmental, injury, and chronic disease-related disabilities; racial and ethnic minorities; and low-income individuals.
  • Evidence-based strategies for overcoming those barriers and their reach and impact to increase physical activity at the population level and among the above mentioned subpopulations.

Please consider providing input to the docket and sharing this announcement with stakeholders who may also be interested. To provide input, go to In the search box, type the Docket No. CDC-2013-0003.

Healthy Eating Research Expert Panel Develops Age-Based Recommendations for Healthier Beverages
Beverage choices contribute significantly to dietary and caloric intake in the United States. Choosing healthy beverages and other lower-calorie options, instead of high-calorie, sugar-sweetened beverages, has great potential to help Americans reduce caloric intake, improve diet quality, and reduce their risk for obesity.
Healthy Eating Research convened an expert advisory panel to develop a comprehensive set of age-based recommendations to define healthier beverages. Implementation of the Healthier BeverageRecommendations across a variety of places and environments, such as child care, schools, workplaces, parks, recreational facilities, and hospitals will help improve the health of all Americans.

Click here to read the recommendations.

Reports and Articles

myplateKids Given Big Plates Help Themselves to More Food
HealthDay News:
April 8, 2013
Small kids who are given large plates and then allowed to serve themselves take more food and consume more calories, new research finds.
The study used 41 first-graders in a Philadelphia elementary school to test whether adult research on dishware size and food intake also holds true for children.

Rules against trans fat work, review finds
MedPage Today: April 3, 2013
Regulations against trans fats are “feasible, achievable, and likely to have an effect on public health,” but represent just one part of an overall strategy to improve diet and reduce the risk of chronic disease, according to an analysis of study data in the Bulletin of the World Health Organization. Labeling requirements in the U.S. were associated with a 58% reduction in trans fat plasma levels, along with reductions in LDL cholesterol and triglycerides

Strict school lunch standards tied to healthy weight
Reuters Health: April 8, 2013
Strict school lunch standards that are similar to new regulations from the U.S. government may be tied to healthier body weights among students, according to a new study.
“I think it’s evidence that healthier school lunches have a positive effect but it’s preliminary evidence. It’s far from definitive,” said Anne Barnhill, who studies food policy at University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia but was not involved with the new research.

Frequent Eating in Kids Tied to Less Weight Gain
HealthDay News: April 8, 2013
In what may seem a surprising finding, kids in a new study who ate more often over the course of a day were less likely to be overweight than their peers who ate the traditional three squares.
Looking at 11 past studies, Greek researchers found that overall, kids — particularly boys — who typically dined more than three times a day weighed less than those who had three or fewer meals. And they were 22 percent less likely to be overweight or obese

Bill Would Ban Pop and Junk Food in Public Vending Machines
The Lund Report: April 9th, 2013

House Bill 3403 is opposed by a group of blind vendors who testified that their businesses would suffer a 50 percent cut in sales if they’re only allowed to offer healthy food products they frequently throw away after nobody buys them

 Affordable Care Act: Opportunities and Challenges for Health Education Specialists. -The Society for Public Health Education (SOPHE)
“The Affordable Care Act (ACA) offers multiple policy levers for improving patient care and maximizing health outcomes, in part by expanding the opportunities for health education specialists to contribute to the goals of prevention, screening and treatment.”

Trust for America’s Health released its annual Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded report today, Investing in America’s Health:  A State-by-State Look at Public Health Funding and Key Health Facts.  Data is now available from 2009-2013.  For a copy of the report and state-specific searchable map.  

Resource Center for Community Health Assessments and Community Health Improvement Plans.-posted by The National Association of County & City Health Officials (NACCHO).  It will “support local health departments and their community partners in collaborative health improvement efforts.”

The National Recreation and Park Association has developed several new resources, including Parks Build Healthy Communities, “a compilation of case studies that highlight successful stories for building healthy communities through changes to policies and the environment.”   Other healthy community issue briefs and dialogue guides are also available.

The slides from the American Public Health Week Congressional briefing earlier this week are now available.  They feature presentations from a number of great presenters.


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