Healthy Communities- November 1, 2013


Arthritis Foundation News and Resources for People with Arthritis and the Affordable Care Act
Beginning October 1, 2013, the Arthritis Foundation’s Public Health Policy and Advocacy Department is assisting people with arthritis who do not have health insurance with accessing resources at to help them learn about the Health Insurance Marketplace and access the coverage they need.

Slides from C-change webinar on Obesity and Cancer
Includes slides from Minnesota hospitals that have phased out Sugar Sweetened Beverages
SUPER-SIZED: The Correlation between Obesity and Cancer Etiology, Prevention and Survival took place on October 17, 2013. The webinar was recorded and is now available through the following link:  SUPER-SIZED Webinar Recording.The webinar slide deck is available through this link: SUPER-SIZED Webinar PowerPoint Presentation

Policies to Reduce Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption
Close to one-third of children in the United States are currently obese or overweight, and public health experts have identified sugar-sweetened beverage (SSBs) consumption as a major contributing factor to poor diet and rising obesity rates. Communities considering policies to reverse this trend have a number of strategies available to them.

Worksite Walking Campaign Tools
Walking is an easy way to be active at work.
This toolkit provides materials and messages for starting your own worksite 4-8 week walking campaign divided into four steps.

  • Step 1: Set a Goal (1-2 weeks)
  • Step 2:  Be Active (1-2 weeks)
  • Step 3: Get a Routine (1-2 weeks)
  • Step 4: Increase Time (1-2 weeks)

The communication tools can be used to encourage employees to be physically active and walk more. Employees benefit from seeing positive messages and information that encourage them to participate in a walking program.
The tools include:

  • Flyers that can be printed and posted around the worksite
  • E-blasts that can be sent directly to employees
  • A pocket guide with a walking log and walking tips and strategies for employees
  • Sample motivational texts for mobile applications
  • Nine e-cards for employees or program coordinators to share

To view the walking toolkit online, click here

Cardiovascular Health: Action Steps for Employers
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently created this  guide drawn from the CDC’s Worksite Health ScoreCard, a comprehensive tool designed to help employers assess the extent to which they have implemented evidence-based health promotion interventions in their worksites and prioritize approaches to health promotion.

First-Ever Playbook Released For Communities Seeking To Reduce Sugary Drink Consumption

ChangeLab Solutions has just released a Sugar-Sweetened Beverages Playbook, a sequence of 10 strategies that communities and states can use to reduce sugar-sweetened beverage (SSB) consumption and improve health. Public health experts have identified SSBs as major contributors to poor diet and rising obesity rates, but this playbook can help communities make a difference. The playbook lists game-changing tools and strategies from public education campaigns to restrictions on the availability of SSBs, and implementing a collection of them will create environments that promote health.

Public health experts have identified sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs) as major contributors to poor diet and rising obesity rates. Today almost one-third of children in the United States are obese or overweight. Many studies have demonstrated a link between obesity and the consumption of sodas and other SSBs. Many public health advocates see cutting down on the excessive consumption of SSBs as a clear obesity prevention policy strategy.

Opening the Door to Partnerships with Health Care Organizations
This webinar focused extensively on how community-based organizations can engage with hospitals via community health needs assessments.
In addition to the issue brief, Hilltop has an online resource, the Community Benefit State Law Profiles, which is a compilation of each state’s community benefit laws and regulations, analyzed in the context of the Affordable Care Act’s (ACA’s) community benefit framework.

Speaking Education’s Language: A Guide for Public Health Professionals Working in the Education Sector (2013)
Working with schools to create healthier environments for students and staff comes with unique challenges. Public health professionals are experts in their field, but are often not as familiar with the systems, structure, language, policies and priorities that drive the education partner they are working with. Speaking Education’s Language is designed to help public health professionals more effectively communicate and work with the education sector. The guidance and tips reflect the experiences, successes and failures of a wide variety of people who have worked in school health for many years.

Resources for Healthier Food for Public Places (Procurement)
New resources are available to help with successful implementation of healthy food and beverage standards in public places: a fact sheet with successful implementation tips and 12 promotional posters that can be put on vending machines or near snacks and beverages in concession stands.
Successful Implementation Tips 
Promotional Posters
Visit to find additional resources. Please let me know if you have any questions or feedback.

Talk the Talk, Walk the Walk: Making the Case for Walkable CommunitiesSometimes simple things can have a big impact.
Walking is a great way for people to stay healthy, and encouraging people to walk—by making our communities more walkable—has emerged as an important public health strategy. When communities feel safe and when they have infrastructure like sidewalks and easy access to hiking trails, people are more likely to walk, kids are more likely to get physical activity, and rates of chronic disease are apt to decline.

Infographic on Role of Schools in Promoting Physical Activity
October has seen a wealth of media coverage on recent evidence that being physically active can help students do better in school. We’d like to share a collection of these with you, along with a couple of our Active Living Research resources. Please share widely with anyone who cares about the relationship between children’s physical activity, health, and academic performance.
UK study- Kids who exercise may get better grades
Washing Post article cites several studies
AVENA study- Cognitive performance is better in girls who walk 15 minutes or more to school
Research brief on Active Education: Physical Education, Physical Activity, and Academic Performance

Reports and Articles


Commuting’s Hidden Cost
The New York Times: October 28, 2013
The American dependence on cars, resulting in lost hours that could otherwise be spent exercising or socializing, has taken a toll on our health.
According to the Census Bureau, more than three-fourths of all commuters drove to work in single-occupancy vehicles in 2009. Only 5 percent used public transportation, and 2.9 percent walked to work. A mere 0.6 percent rode bicycles, although cycling has finally begun to rise in popularity as cities like New York create bike lanes and bike share programs.

The rate of uninsured Americans held steady in 2012, according to new U.S. Census Bureau data, but public health advocates expect numbers to drop dramatically as more people gain insurance under the Affordable Care Act in the coming year.

The CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) is pleased to announce the release of the HL7 Height and Weight Report Implementation Guide. The guide provides approved standards that allow for height and weight data captured in Electronic Health Records (EHR’s) during doctor’s visits to be seamlessly transferred to state and local public health agencies. Over the last year, CDC has worked in collaboration with national partners to successfully develop and get approval for the guide. For information on obtaining the guide please contact Margaret West, at DNPAO.

ADA issues new nutritional guidelines for diabetes
The American Diabetes Association has released new nutritional guidelines for diabetes patients that emphasize eating patterns and preferences rather than following any particular diet regime. “Throughout the document, we refer to ‘eating plans’ or ‘eating patterns’ rather than ‘diet.’ We want to work with patients and help them achieve individual health goals. A variety of eating patterns can help, and people are more likely to follow an eating plan that speaks to them,” lead author Alison Evert, MS, RD, CDE, stated. The new guidelines were published in Diabetes Care.

Readmission rates reduced by inpatient diabetes education, study finds
Hospitalized diabetes patients who received formal inpatient diabetes education had lower all-cause readmission frequency within 30 days compared with those who did not receive the education, a study in Diabetes Care revealed. Researchers said the intervention was also associated with reduced readmission within 180 days, but the relationship was attenuated.

Overweight Teen Years Tied to Later Cancer Risk
HealthDay, Robert Preidt, 10/14/2013
Overweight teens are at increased for developing esophageal cancer later in life, new research says. Esophageal cancer occurs when a tumor develops in the tube that connects the throat with the stomach.

High Blood Pressure Common among Overweight Kids
HealthDay, 10/10/2013
Overweight and obese children have a high risk of developing high blood pressure, a new study warns. Researchers analyzed the health records of nearly 250,000 children, aged 6 to 17, in California, and found those who were overweight were twice as likely as normal-weight children to have high blood pressure (hypertension).

California Kids Drinking Less Soda, but Consumption Among Teens is Up
Los Angeles Times, Mary MacVean, 10/17/2013
California kids under 12 are drinking fewer sodas and sports drinks than they were a few years ago, but more teenagers are downing at least one sugar-sweetened beverage a day than in 2005 to 2007, according to a report Thursday.

Dead Man Walking
NEJM: October 23, 2013
“Shocked” wouldn’t be accurate, since we were accustomed to our uninsured patients’ receiving inadequate medical care. “Saddened” wasn’t right, either, only pecking at the edge of our response. And “disheartened” just smacked of victimhood. After hearing this story, we were neither shocked nor saddened nor disheartened. We were simply appalled.

Flu Shots Tied to Heart Benefits
New York Times: October 22, 2013
Getting a flu vaccine is associated with a lower risk of death in people with heart disease, a review of studies has found, and the effect is greatest in those who have had a recent heart attack or chest pain.

San Francisco supervisor to introduce soda tax proposal
A can of soda could eventually cost about a quarter more in San Francisco. A proposed measure would add a special tax to sugary beverages, but the proposal is different than a similar ballot measure that failed in Richmond last year.
The idea is simple — the bigger the drink, the more taxes you pay. It would be 2 cents per ounce for all sugar-sweetened beverages. That includes soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and bottled Frappuccinos.
“It’s not a nanny state at all; we’re not banning anything,” San Francisco Supervisor Scott Wiener said.

Color-Coded Food Labels Encourage Healthier Food Choices in Hospitals
MGH: 2012
A program designed to encourage more healthful food choices through simple color-coded labels and the positioning of items in display cases was successful among employees at a large hospital cafeteria, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

Safe Routes to School Works to Include Children in Transportation Talks
NACDD’s Senior Consultant for Safe Routes to School, Doug Joiner, is working with the Atlanta Regional Commission to ensure that children are specifically considered during the planning stages of any project related to transportation or land use.

Impact of the Safe Routes to School Program on Walking and Biking: Eugene, Oregon Study
Policymakers in many countries, including the United States, United Kingdom, and Australia, have introduced programs to increase walking and biking to school through education, encouragement, and infrastructure improvements. The U.S. government has allocated over $1.1 billion to the federal Safe Routes to School program since 2005. However, there are few evaluations of the Safe Routes to School program. Our study used a robust quasi-experimental research design to measure the impacts of Eugene, Oregon’s Safe Routes to School program on walking and biking. Using data collected between 2007 and 2011 at 14 schools with and without Safe Routes to School programs, we showed that the Safe Routes to School program was associated with increases in walking and biking.
Click HERE to read the article

The U.S. Cities Where the Fewest Commuters Get to Work By Car
The Atlantic Cities: October 28, 2013
Shane Hampton, a fellow at the Institute for Quality Communities at the University of Oklahoma, posted some nice visualizations of how major cities stack up against each other by commuter mode share. The data comes from the 2012 American Community Survey, which records how people primarily get to and from their jobs (not necessarily how they make all of their daily trips, to destinations like the grocery store or church). The original charts are interactive, with individual data points. Read this to find out how US Cities compare in 2012.

Study links multiple conditions to worse QOL in seniors
A CDC study found older individuals with multiple chronic conditions showed worse health based on daily living activities and quality of life. “Public health practitioners should consider addressing classes of multiple chronic conditions by using interventions designed to reduce the emergence of multiple chronic conditions … and improved and coordinated access to health care services,” researchers wrote in Preventing Chronic Disease.

Lowering Blood Pressure Prevents Cardiovascular Events in People With Kidney Disease
Science Daily: Oct. 30, 2013
Lowering blood pressure is a highly effective and affordable way to prevent cardiovascular events like heart attack and stroke among people with chronic kidney disease, according to a new study published in the latest issue of the British Medical Journal

Significant Cardiac Treatment Imbalance Nationally
Science Daily: Oct. 29, 2013
A multi-center team led by James Langabeer II, Ph.D., of The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston (UTHealth) has published a first-of-its-kind study in the Journal of the American Heart Association (JAHA) that examines unequal growth in percutaneous coronary intervention (PCI) centers relative to population and heart attack prevalence across the United States.

DIY, Gardening Can Cut Heart Attack/Stroke Risk by 30 Percent, Prolong Life for Seniors
Science Daily: Oct. 28, 2013
A spot of DIY or gardening can cut the risk of a heart attack/stroke and prolong life by as much as 30 per cent among the 60+ age group, indicates research published online in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.

Dangerous Connection Between Rheumatoid Arthritis, Heart Disease

Science Daily: Oct. 27, 2013
People with rheumatoid arthritis and other chronic inflammatory conditions are at higher risk of heart disease. Who is in the most danger, why and how best to prevent and detect cardiovascular complications are important questions for physicians and researchers. Mayo Clinic studies presented at the American College of Rheumatology annual meeting shed new light on this connection, in part by revealing factors that seem to put some rheumatoid arthritis patients in greater jeopardy of heart problems: early menopause, more severe rheumatoid arthritis and immunity to a common virus, cytomegalovirus, among others.

Stroke Prevention Surgery Less Effective than Meds, Lifestyle Change

Science Daily: Oct. 26, 2013
The final results of a stroke prevention study in patients with narrowed brain arteries confirm earlier findings: Medication plus lifestyle changes are safer and more effective at preventing stroke than a surgical technique called stenting.


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