Healthy Communities- January 10, 2014

Video: TALKS|TED PARTNER SERIES: Mick Cornett: How an obese town lost a million pounds
Posted: January 2014


Current Issues in Public Health Law
Health Information and Data Sharing: Learning to Ask the Right Questions
State and federal laws govern the use and sharing of health information and can vary wildly between jurisdictions, creating uncertainty for public health practitioners. Laws may or may not give public health agencies the legal authority to collect, access, or share information, depending on the conditions surrounding the use and sharing of the information. Knowing the right questions to ask is a critical first step. A new tool is available to help public health practitioners, public health attorneys and privacy officers in gathering relevant information to resolve questions about proposed data collection, access and sharing. More about health data and legal tool.

Reports and Articles

Obesity and Cancer: What You Need to Know
Obesity is now one of the leading causes of cancer. It also appears to play a role in survival, along with risk of other chronic diseases. As researchers continue to unravel how extra body fat spurs tumor growth, we’ve got the top facts you need to know now.

Breaking the cycle of obesity, inflammation and disease
MedicalNewsToday: December 30, 2013
Researchers at University of Michigan have illuminated an aspect of how the metabolic system breaks down in obesity. The findings provide additional evidence that a drug entering clinical trials at the university could reverse obesity, Type 2 diabetes and fatty liver disease in humans.
In a paper published online in the journal eLife on Dec. 24, Alan Saltiel, the Mary Sue Coleman Director of the Life Sciences Institute, explains how, in obesity, fat cells stop responding to hormones known as catecholamines that trigger them to expend more energy. However, the fat cells of obese mice treated with a drug called amlexanox regained sensitivity to catecholamines, burned the excess energy and returned to normal size.

Our food choices are influenced by social norms, study suggests
Medical News Today: December 30, 2013
Social cues affect choices we make on a daily basis, from how we dress to what kind of car we drive. But now, research published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics suggests that what other people eat influences our own food choices.
Conducting a meta-analysis from 15 studies published in 11 different publications, researchers examined whether or not other peoples’ eating habits influenced food intake levels or food choices.
Of the studies, eight looked at how food consumption norms affected the amount of food consumed by study participants, while seven others analyzed how food choice norms affected what people chose to eat

Electronic Media Use During Family Meals Tied to Poorer Nutrition and Communication
The use of electronic devices—including television, music with headphones and texting—by teens during meals is linked to less nutritious food and poorer family communication, according to a new study in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

Bike Signals Get the Green Light From Engineering Establishment
DC.Streets.Blog: January 6, 2014
Think of it as a Christmas gift: On December 24, the gatekeepers who determine which street treatments should become standard tools for American engineers decided to add bike signals to the Manual on Uniform Traffic Control Devices, sometimes called “the bible of traffic engineering.”
The decision should lead to more widespread use of bike signals, which can be used to reduce conflicts between people on bikes and turning drivers, give cyclists a head start at intersections, or create a separate phase entirely for bicycle traffic. They are often used in tandem with protected bike lanes.

ACS: Cancer Death Rates Fell 20 Percent Over Two Decades
The combined cancer death rate for men and women fell 20 percent in the two decades from 1991 to 2010, with better prevention, screening and treatment critical to continuing this positive trend, according to a new report from the American Cancer Society. The drop translates to approximately 1,350,400 fewer deaths. The report estimates that the United States will see a total of 1,665,540 new cancer cases and 585,720 deaths from cancer in 2014. From 2006 to 2010, cancer death rates decreased by 1.8 percent annually in men and by 1.4 percent in women. Lung, colon, prostate and breast cancers are the most common causes of cancer death, with lung cancer accounting for approximately one in four deaths. Read more on cancer.

Are Sugary Drinks Fattening? Depends Who You Ask
New York Times: January 3, 2014
Researchers examined 17 large reviews of the subject (one review assessed results for adults and children separately, so there were 18 sets of study conclusions). Six of the studies reported receiving funds from industry groups, including Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, the American Beverage Association and others. The other 12 reviews claimed no conflicts of interest.

Study Ties Diabetic Crises to Dip in Food Budgets
New York Times: January 6, 2014
Poor people with diabetes are significantly more likely to go to the hospital for dangerously low blood sugar at the end of the month when food budgets are tight than at the beginning of the month, a new study has found.

CDC looks back at 2013 health challenges, ahead to 2014 health worries

Top achievements this year, five health threats in 2014

New year, new vending rules: Calorie data a costly change for operators
ONCORD, N.H. – Office workers in search of snacks will be counting calories along with their change under new labeling regulations for vending machines included in President Barack Obama’s health care law.
Requiring calorie information to be displayed on roughly 5 million vending machines nationwide will help consumers make healthier choices, says the Food and Drug Administration, which is expected to release final rules early this year. It estimates the cost to the vending machine industry at $25.8 million initially and $24 million a year after that but says if just 0.02 percent of obese adults ate 100 fewer calories a week, the savings to the health care system would be at least that great.

New data show 25% of U.S. youth meet federal physical activity guidelines
New data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Center for Health Statistics show that about a quarter of U.S. youth 12-15 years of age engaged in 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous physical activity, meeting federal physical activity guidelines.  Data in the report, Physical Activity in U.S. Youth Aged 12-15, 2012, are based on findings from a new data collection – the NHANES National Youth Fitness Survey – conducted in conjunction with the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES) in 2012 to obtain data on physical activity and fitness levels in children and teens.

The report also shows:
Basketball was the most common activity among boys reporting physical activity of any intensity in the past week, with 48% reporting that they played basketball.  This was followed by running (33.5%), football (27.4%), bike riding (24.0%), and walking (23.6%).

  •       Running was the most common activity among girls reporting physical activity of any intensity in the past week, with 34.9% reporting that they ran.  This was followed by walking (27.6%), basketball (21.4%), dancing (20.8%) and bike riding (18.4%).
    The percent of male youth who were physically active for at least 60 minutes daily decreased as weight status increased.

The 2012 NHANES National Youth Fitness Survey collected data on physical activity and fitness tests conducted in state-of-the-art mobile examination centers.  The fitness tests included standardized measurements of core upper and lower body muscle strength, as well as a measurement of cardiovascular fitness based walking and running on a treadmill.  NHANES is a program of studies designed to assess the health and nutritional status of adults and children in the United States.  The survey is unique in that it combines interviews and physical examinations.

A 2013 HHS report, Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Youth, identifies interventions that can help increase physical activity in youth ages 3–17 years of age across a variety of settings where youth live, learn, and play including, school, preschool and childcare, community, family and home, and primary health care.

For additional information on the National Youth Fitness Survey, please visit or contact Amy Pulver at

A Growing Taste for U.S. Fast Food in India
International New York Times: January 8, 2014
MUMBAI — India has long had a reputation as being unfriendly to foreign businesses, but when it comes to fast food, international chains are being warmly welcomed by a young, upwardly mobile population.
In the past few months, Taco Bell, Krispy Kreme, Burger King and McDonald’s have either announced plans to expand in India or have opened new outlets around the country. Krispy Kreme was the latest to open a new store with its first outlet in Delhi last month, adding to its five branches in Bangalore.
Despite the country’s economic troubles, the average middle-class Indian consumer’s spending power is steadily increasing, with more people, particularly women, entering the workforce. In addition, Indians’ increased exposure to international cuisine through the media and travel makes the country a desirable destination for international food chains looking to expand globally.

Food Companies Have Cut Back on Calories, Study Says
New York Times: January 9, 2014
How big a difference does cutting 78 calories out of an American’s daily diet make?
It may depend on who’s counting.
That is the average amount a day that a study by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation said was the result of a five-year reduction of calories (totaling 6.4 trillion) in sales of food and beverages by 16 major companies.
The tally was assessed through a foundation grant to University of North Carolina, and was part of a years-long effort by the nonprofit organization to reduce childhood obesity in the United States.


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