Healthy Communities – April 19, 2013


sodacansHealthy Beverages Toolkit for Health Care Organizations
The overconsumption of sugary drinks is an area of concern for many in the public health community. In Minnesota, public health agencies have partnered to create a series of resources designed to inform and support efforts to promote healthy beverage choices within workplace settings, with a special focus on health care settings. Learn more and access the resources here. Recommended healthier beverages guidelines for health care, government and other institutions can be found here.

Free Consulting to Help Build Healthy Communities – Limited Time Only
NACCHO is pleased to offer free, one-on-one consulting on four focus areas for building healthy communities: (1) healthy comprehensive planning, (2) health impact assessment, (3) health in all policies and (4) community/street-scale urban design. Your local health department (LHD) may qualify for free consulting time through September 2013. Preference will be provided to LHDs that have made a focus area a strategic priority and are actively working toward or initiating successful implementation this year.

The consulting time includes technical assistance (TA) to help build capacity, train staff, identify successful implementation strategies, improve cross-sector collaboration and sustain successful coalitions. TA will be delivered through email, conference calls, video conferencing and other online platforms. Onsite TA may be available depending on funding. Our aim is to provide whatever assistance we can to ensure your success!

Because of time limitations, consulting hours are not unlimited, and interested LHDs should apply now. For more information, call or email Kenneth D. Smith.

New CDC Fact Sheet Now Available
CDC recently released a fact sheet about sodium intake and high blood pressure in children and adolescents. Sodium intake in children and adolescents is comparable to that in adults. Higher sodium intake in children and adolescents is associated with higher blood pressure, which is a leading risk factor for heart disease and stroke among adults. The fact sheet also includes:

  • Information on average sodium intake (mg/day) for children and adolescents,
  • Top 10 sodium sources for children and adolescents, and
  • Tips on how families can consume less sodium.

The High Sodium Intake in Children and Adolescents: Cause for Concern fact sheet may be found here.

There is a health fair being held in conjunction with the Oregon Medical Association’s annual membership meeting. People who are uninsured, or underinsured can get medical, dental and vision assistance during the event. You can read about it here.

Reports and Articles

Experiment in Oregon Gives Medicaid Very Local Roots
The New York Times: April 12, 2013
SALEM, Ore. — Some say America has been homogenized, a chain-store nation bereft of regional distinction in dialect or dinner. But now this state, at the pioneer’s end of the road, is testing the idea that local community difference is alive and well, and that grass-roots leadership holds the key to fixing health care in America.

Sodium Reduction in Bread Sensory Testing
The Oregon Health Authority in partnership with the Oregon State University Food Innovation Center (FIC) conducted research on consumer ability to detect differences in sodium levels between a control bread and reduced-sodium breads. Consumer acceptance of sensory attributes (e.g., taste, textures, aroma) of reduced-sodium breads products were also assessed. The breads had the following sodium levels: 1) control (typical salt content, sodium chloride was 2% of flour at 14% moisture basis), 2) 10% sodium reduction of control, 3) 20% sodium reduction of control and 4) 30% sodium reduction of control.

Based on preliminary data-

  • Consumers correctly identified differences in sodium levels of bread at both the 20% and 30% reduction from the control, but not at the 10% reduction level.
  • No significant differences in consumer ratings of overall acceptability or sensory attributes were found between the control bread and the reduced-sodium breads tested (10%, 20% and 30% reduction levels).

Most Restaurant Kids’ Meals Packed with Calories
USA Today, Nanci Hellmich, 03/28/2013
Most kids’ meals at the USA’s top chain restaurants are still failing to make the grade when it comes to good nutrition, a new analysis finds.

Feds Roll Out $375 Million in Anti-Obesity Grants for Low-Income Kids
Washington Examiner, Michal Conger, 03/27/2013
The Obama administration is rolling out a new program to fight obesity among low-income children, with $375 million in grants for states that promote healthy eating consistent with the government’s latest dietary guidelines

Primary Care, Public Health Sectors Seek to Collaborate to Boost Population Health
AAFP News Now, Jessica Pupillo, 03/27/2013
Historically, public health officials and primary care health professionals have worked largely in isolation from each other.

Restaurant Chains Cut Estimates for Health-Law
Wall Street Journal, Scott Thurm, 03/27/2013
Restaurant owners have been fierce critics of the health-care overhaul law, fearing that its mandate for employers to offer insurance more broadly will drive up costs and deter hiring.
Note: Viewing this article could require a subscription.

Assistant Principal Honored for Work at Colorado High School
Education Week, Jackie Zubrzycki, 03/26/2013
A Colorado assistant principal who brought a program known as restorative justice to a troubled Colorado high school and helped improve its graduation rate is the National Association of Secondary School Principals’ Assistant Principal of the Year. Matthew Willis, assistant principal of William C. Hinkley High School in Aurora, Colo., will receive the award in Washington in April.

Goldman Sachs Hopes To Profit By Helping Troubled Teens
NPR, 03/24/2013
In the New York City prison system, the outlook for juvenile offenders is bleak. They’re falling through the cracks, being arrested repeatedly, and being re-released onto the same streets only to be picked up again. The criminal justice system is failing these 16- and 17-year-olds, says Dora Schriro, the commissioners of the city’s Department of Corrections. So last year, the New York City Department of Corrections did something no other city in America has ever done — it asked for private, corporate investors. Goldman Sachs opted to invest $9.6 million in the Adolescent Behavioral Learning Experience program, a new curriculum that seeks to bring down the number of youth offenders going back to prison.

My passion: Using recess to teach children not to bully
Statesman Journal, Debbie Kitchin, 03/22/2013
Recent actions and debates on school bullying across the state have focused on reporting and on holding schools and individuals accountable for not doing enough to protect students. But how can we stop bullying before it starts? Recess is an opportunity to promote teamwork and teach children how to resolve conflict peacefully. These skills can stop bullying from taking root. One local nonprofit, Playworks Portland, places young adults (frequently AmeriCorps volunteers) in schools to serve as recess coaches. Rather than merely supervise students, these coaches actively play and have fun with them. The program equips students with a positive framework for play that empowers them to resolve their conflicts without harsh words or violence. In addition to recess support, Playworks Portland offers students leadership, after-school and sports league programs.
Editor’s Note: Playworks is an RWJF grantee

NYC Appeals Ruling Striking Down Soda Size Limit
Associated Press, Deepti Hajela, 03/28/2013
New York City is asking appeals judges to reinstate a ban on supersized sodas and other sugary drinks, which was struck down by a Manhattan judge the day before it was to go into effect.

Reduced Sodium Intake Reduces Blood Pressure, New Metaanalysis and Systematic Review Finds
A recent study, published in the journal BMJ, found evidence that reduced sodium intake can reduce blood pressure as well as reduce the risk of stroke and fatal coronary heart disease in non-acutely ill adults. The study, “Effect of lower sodium intake on health: systematic review and meta-analyses” also concluded that lower sodium intake does not have significant adverse effects on blood lipids, catecholamine levels, or renal function among adults.

Culprit in Heart Disease Goes Beyond Meat’s Fat
The New York Times: April 7, 2013
Dr. Stanley Hazen of the Cleveland Clinic, who led the study, and his colleagues had accumulated evidence for a surprising new explanation of why red meat may contribute to heart disease.
It was breakfast time and the people participating in a study of red meat and its consequences had hot, sizzling sirloin steaks plopped down in front of them. The researcher himself bought a George Foreman grill for the occasion, and the nurse assisting him did the cooking.

Most Children’s Meals at Large Restaurant Chains Are Still Unhealthy, a Study Finds
New York Times, Stephanie Strom, 03/28/2013
A new study of the nutritional quality of meals for children on the menus of the nation’s largest chain restaurants has found that 91 percent do not even meet the standards set by the National Restaurant Association’s Kids LiveWell program.

Companies Get Strict on Health of Workers
New York Times, Katie Thomas, 03/25/2013
Employers are increasingly trying to lower health care costs by using incentives to persuade workers to make better lifestyle choices, a new survey shows, but what remains less clear is whether a reward is better than a punishment — or whether the programs work at all.

Calorie Cutters
Wall Street Journal, Carl Bialik, 03/29/2013
My print column examines a pledge by a group of U.S. food companies to cut 1.5 trillion calories from the food and drink they sell in 2015, compared to 2007.
Note: Viewing this article may require a subscription.

Salty Remarks: NYC Subway Ads Warn About Sodium
Associated Press/Wall Street Journal, Jennifer Peltz, 04/01/2013
Subway riders, after being cautioned about smoking, sugar and teen pregnancy, are getting a new message: Pass on the salt.
Note: Viewing article may require a subscription.

Differences in Youth and Adult Physical Activity in Park Seetings by Sex and Race/Ethinicity
Kaczynski AT, Stanis SW, Bensenyi GM, Child S
We examined differences by sex and race/ethnicity in the observed moderate – to vigorous – intensity physical activity (MVPA) of youth an dadults in diverse areas of 4 parks in Kansas City, Missouri, in 2009.  Male youth were more active on playgrounds and pools or splashpads than female youth.  White youth were less active than nonwhite youth in open spaces and on paved trails.  Male adults were more active in open spaces than female adults, and white adults were more active on paved trails than nonwhite adults.  Understanding variations in MVPA between user groups can inform park design effords to foster increased activity among all vistitors.

A Qualitative Study of Perceived Barriers to Fruit and Vegetables Consumption Among Low-Income Populations, North Carolina, 2011
Haynes-Maslow L, Parsons SE, Wheeler SB, Leone LA
Obesity is the leading preventable cause of illness and a major contributor to chronic disease. Eating fresh fruits and vegetables can help manage and prevent weight gain and reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Low-income communities often lack stores that sell fresh fruit and vegetables and have instead stores that sell foods low in nutritional value. The objective of this study was to understand perceived community-level barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption among low-income people.

Walgreen Clinics Expand Care Into Chronic Illness
Associated Press, Tom Murphy, 04/04/2013
Walgreen Co. has expanded the reach of its drugstore clinics beyond treating ankle sprains and sinus infections to handling chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma and high blood pressure.

Trillon Calorie Cut Not Enough Say Critics
Food Product Design, Staff Writer, 04/03/2013
Critics claim a pledge by 16 major manufacturers to cut a trillion calories from processed food and beverages falls short of expectations, saying the goal of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation represents just 2% of all calories produced by the companies

Who Lives Longest
The New York Times Magazine, Maggie Koerth-Baker, 03/19/2013
The biggest barriers to improving life expectancy in the United States are societal issues, Denney says. You can’t get a shot to undo the effects of growing up in a lead- and asbestos-contaminated row house. There’s no laser surgery to fix the detrimental effects of generations of chronic stress. “Look at the countries with the highest average life expectancy,” says Denney, referring to places like Japan, Australia, Canada and, yes, Sweden — nations that distribute their health resources more evenly. “Ultimately,” he says, “life expectancy is a measure of quality of life.”

Why the business community wants to invest in preschoolers, Niala Boodhoo, 03/21/2013
Traditionally, businesses have tended to focus their philanthropic efforts on K-12 education. But PNC Bank is another group that’s also starting to back more early education efforts. The bank has given more than $350 million nationally to this – about $3 million in Chicago. “We’re concerned about this obviously from a customer perspective, but from a community perspective,” said PNC Illinois Chairman Joe Gregoire. “The better we do as relates to early childhood development, the better our communities will be. Hopefully we’ll have more students going to college and from that perspective, a better workforce.”

Schools hungry to improve taste, nutrition of lunches
USA Today, Christopher Doering, 04/05/2013
When diners at an exclusive food tasting recently noshed on sesame green beans and flame-roasted redskin potatoes, they weren’t celebrating at the area’s newest culinary hot spot.

Sodium, Hiding in Plain Sight
The New York Times: April 1, 2013
A new report, prepared by experts from three leading universities, projects that a small, steady reduction of sodium in the American diet could save up to half a million lives over the next decade. And a more rapid reduction could save even more lives — as many as 850,000.

How much salt are you eating? Taking a closer look at 6 common foods
Chicago Tribune: April, 11, 2013
The American Heart Association and the American Stroke Association are working together to increase awareness of sodium and the “Salty Six” — common foods that may be loaded with excess sodium that can increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.

Oregon Legislative Proposal Would Fund Pilot Project for Treadmill Desks for State Workers
Last summer, we reported on the health risks that come with sitting for too long while in the office (here and here). Now it looks like the state of Oregon may become a leader in workplace health. As Governing magazine reports, Mr. Anthony Behrens, a senior state policy analyst, pitched his local state legislator on the idea of installing treadmill desks for state workers. The proposed pilot project would study the effects of the desks on health and productivity. Mr. Behrens grew concerned after learning of a Harvard School of Public Health study that found sitting for more than three hours a day can shorten one’s life by up to two years regardless of physical activity. “I didn’t realize that if you sit for an hour, from that point on your body shuts down and almost goes into hibernation mode,” Mr. Behrens said.

CONTROLLING JUNK FOOD and the bottom line
-Case Studies of Schools Successfully Implementing Strong Nutrition Standards for Competitive Foods and Beverages
This report highlights case studies from middle schools and high schools in eight diverse districts across the country that illustrate it is possible for schools and districts to improve nutrition standards without experiencing significant financial losses. This study focused on policies and practices in middle and high schools (rather than elementary or early childcare settings) because competitive foods are most widely available in the secondary school levels.

Government Purchasing to Improve Public Health: Theory Practice and Evidence
Increasing concern about obesity and other nutrition-related health problems spurred governments to develop more robust and targeted approaches to foster healthier diet at a population level (Fulponi, 2009; Kersh & Morone, 2002). Government routinely uses its regulatory power to alter activities and behaviors that influence public health, for example the New York City ban on the use of transfats in restaurants (Unnevehr & Jagmanaite, 2008). Yet, in some scenarios, government may more effectively promote positive change through other means, including its purchasing or procurement authority. Emerging efforts using government purchasing power to stimulate demand for healthier products provides a pathway to healthier food purchasing. In this paper, we describe a causal diagram that outlines this process from the initial stage of developing a healthier solicitation to final stage of achieving outcomes.


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