Healthy Communities- January 31, 2014

Healthy Communities

Oregon Youth Photo Contest  – The Way I see it.
This year the theme is Health Belongs to Everyone.  The Contest is sponsored by the Northwest Health Foundation and the Oregon Public Health Division.
Oregon youth between the ages of 12 and 18 are eligible to submit photos exploring how the various conditions where we live, learn, work and play can affect our choices and our opportunity to be healthy.
The contest begins on February 1st, and entries can be submitted until February 28th, 2014.
Contest winners will be announced during Public Health Week in early April, and will receive cash prizes ($300. first place, $200. second and $100. for third).  Complete contest rules and submission instructions can be found at .

Reports and Articles

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State governments develop healthy interest in wellness
Washington is Working on Wellness
Across the country, many states have embraced the implementation of wellness programs in hopes of health and financial gains. Current research supports the effectiveness of well-designed wellness plans when employees fully engage in the program. Furthermore, improvements in employee health can translate to employer savings on health insurance over time.
Most recently, the state of Washington has proposed a new incentive-based program for all state employees. Governor Jay Inslee introduced the proposal which is designed to increase state employee participation in wellness programs through generous cash incentives. If the proposal is adopted, state employees could reduce their monthly health insurance premiums by up to $125 through participation in employee wellness programs.
Considering a total state employment of approximately 3 million, Washington’s efforts to establishing a worksite wellness program at the state level is encouraging. State employers have the potential to foster the development of health-enhancing lifestyle behaviors, including physical activity; ultimately leading to a healthier, more productive workforce and nation. To increase the effectiveness of such efforts, several strategies and tactics are discussed in Business and Industry sector of the NPAP.

Study: Even low-intensity activity shows benefits for health
January 21, 2014, Oregon State University
A newly published study looking at activity trends and outcomes among American adults found that you don’t need to kill yourself by running 10 miles a day to gain health benefits – you merely need to log more minutes of light physical activity than of sedentary behavior.

The CDC has released the 2013 Prevention Status Reports (PSRs) website. You can find your state’s reports along with additional information about the rating criteria and the science behind each indicator here: To help you begin using the PSRs, CDC created the PSR Quick Start Guide. This guide provides you with tools for using the PSRs to increase the use of evidence-based public health practices and improve health outcomes in your state.
You can also preview the following pages with background information and promotional materials:

Diabetes is a major problem for Latinos, poll indicates
Sixteen percent of responding immigrant Latinos and 22% of non-immigrant Latinos said diabetes is the biggest health issue that their families face, according to a survey by National Public Radio, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Harvard School of Public Health. Researchers also found that 38% of Latino immigrants reported having a healthier diet in the U.S., while 21% said their diet is not as healthy. Drug Store News (1/22)

Most Americans agree that obesity is an individual’s fault
A survey of 800 people published in Appetite revealed that 94% of responding Americans agreed that people themselves are to blame for the rising obesity epidemic in the U.S., not the government, restaurants, parents or food manufacturers. (1/22)

Ore. schools aim to implement revised PE rules
School districts in Oregon are working to implement state rules that call for more physical education for elementary- and middle-school students. The revised standards have presented challenges for some districts, including the Beaverton School District, where school officials recently noted that, to meet the standards, the district would need to hire 66 new elementary PE teachers and find additional space. The Oregonian (Portland) (1/20)

Get 60 Minutes
Did you know that less than half of youth get the recommended 60 minutes of daily vigorous to moderate-level physical activity? A new interactive infographic from the Institute of Medicine (IOM) shows how students can meet those requirements, based on recommendations from the 2013 IOM report Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School. Check out the website at

The IOM report says that even with busy schedules, youth can get 60 minutes of physical activity per day through taking advantage of active transport to and from school, classroom activity time, recess, physical education class, after-school programs, and intra and extramural sports. Share this link and help spread the word about this important topic. For more information and other resources from the report—including an animated video, myths and realities sheet, and action guide—visit

Public Health Takes on Obesity: A Route to Better Health

Obesity is a serious and costly health problem facing our nation. The number of kids and teens who are obese has nearly tripled in the past three decades, leading to a generation at risk for cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and other serious health problems. However, there is hope. For the first time in recent years, obesity rates have declined. Innovative public health approaches and partnerships are contributing to improved food choices and creating opportunities for physical activity, helping to curb obesity. We must continue to fund public health programs to ensure healthy futures for all of our nation’s children.

Below is a sneak peek of APHA’s full infographic dedicated to public health taking on obesity. Share this infographic widely and use it as an example when talking to your members of Congress and other policymakers about the importance of strong public health funding.
View and download the full infographic as a PDF or image file.

Press Release

Reducing sodium in restaurant foods is an opportunity for choice
Communities reduce, replace, reformulate to offer lower-sodium options

Americans eat out at fast food or dine-in restaurants four or five times a week. Just one of those meals might contain more than an entire day’s recommended amount of sodium. CDC has strategies for health departments and restaurants to work together to offer healthier choices for consumers who want to lower their sodium intake. The report, “From Menu to Mouth: Opportunities for Sodium Reduction in Restaurants,” is published in today’s issue of CDC’s journal, Preventing Chronic Disease.

On average, foods from fast food restaurants contain 1,848 mg of sodium per 1,000 calories and foods from dine-in restaurants contain 2,090 mg of sodium per 1,000 calories. The U. S. Dietary Guidelines recommend the general population limit sodium to less than 2,300 mg a day. Too much sodium can cause high blood pressure, one of the leading causes of heart disease and stroke.

“The bottom line is that it’s both possible and life-saving to reduce sodium, and this can be done by reducing, replacing and reformulating,” said CDC Director Tom Frieden, M.D., M.P.H. “When restaurants rethink how they prepare food and the ingredients they choose to use, healthier options become routine for customers.”Read more>>

Less Affluent Americans More Likely to Bike for Transportation
Who are bike improvements for? That can be a contentious question in cities where the implementation of bike infrastructure is associated with affluent white people. But as the above chart from Michael Andersen at People for Bikes shows, lower-income Americans are actually more likely than wealthy people to use a bike to get to work:

…bikes are disproportionately important tools for the lowest-income workers. The reasons are simple, and something any bike commuter would recognize: biking to work is cheap and, in a growing number of cities, convenient.

Still, in some cities, the provision of bike lanes does appear to overlook poorer neighborhoods. That’s a basic issue of fairness and equity, though, not an indication that less affluent people don’t benefit from safe conditions for biking.

Looking at state level data, in fact, it seems that attempts to make bike commuting more appealing have enticed rich and poor alike.

Muscle-Strengthening and Conditioning Activities and Risk of Type 2 Diabetes: A Prospective Study in Two Cohorts of US Women

A new Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) study finds that muscle strengthening and conditioning activities—like resistance exercise, yoga, stretching and toning—are associated with a lower risk of type 2 diabetes:

ConAgra Reaches Sodium Reduction Goal Two Years Ahead of Schedule
ConAgra Foods has reached its goal of scaling back the sodium in its products by 20%, ahead of schedule by 2 years. ConAgra, which announced its sodium-lowering initiative in 2009, was one of the first major companies to announce plans to cut sodium. Dozens of the company’s brands have reduced sodium content among their product lines, including Fleischmann’s margarine (35%) and Orville Redenbacher’s popcorn (25%). – NACS

Brand Variations in Sodium
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI), a nutrition and health policy watchdog group, recently compared the sodium content of packaged and restaurant food products from different brands. The report documented wide ranges in the sodium content of similar foods, suggesting that “many companies could lower the sodium content of their products sharply without seriously sacrificing flavor,” according to CSPI’s Executive Director Michael Jacobson. Most categories showed wide variations in sodium content among brands, and it was not uncommon for some brands to have 50%, 100%, or even more sodium than a competing brand. For example, a medium order of French fries from Burger King had almost twice as much sodium as a similar order from McDonald’s (453 vs. 231 milligrams per 100 grams), and Hunt’s Tomato Paste had more than five times as much sodium as Contadina Roma Style Tomato Paste (318 vs. 61 milligrams per 100 grams). –

Look for Less Sodium in Frozen Meals
“The biggest barrier to finding healthy frozen entrees is salt,” according to Jayne Hurley, a registered dietitian at CSPI. She writes that more popular brands of frozen meals, such as Bertolli, Marie Callender’s, and Stouffer’s, frequently contain 800 to 1,200 milligrams of sodium—a significant contribution to the 1,500-milligram daily limit that experts recommend for most adults. Hurley recommends frozen entrees that have no more than 450 milligrams of sodium, including Lean Cuisine’s Honestly Good line; half of the line’s entrees meet this recommendation, and the other half can do so if the consumer uses less of the separately pouched sauce. –

Sodium Consumption in U.S. Is Still Too High
Sodium intake declined slightly during 2003–2010 in children ages 1 to 13 years, but not in adolescents or adults, according to a new CDC study published in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Eight in 10 preschoolers and 9 in 10 children and adults consume too much dietary sodium, much of it from processed and restaurant foods. During 2007–2010, the prevalence of sodium consumption above the “upper intake” level determined by the Institute of Medicine ranged from 79.1% for children younger than 3 years old to 95.4% for adults 19 to 50 years old. – Huffington Post

Global Sodium Intake Double Recommended Amount
In 2010, researchers found that the global average intake of sodium was 4,000 milligrams per person per day—double the World Health Organization’s recommended limit of 2,000 milligrams—according to a new study published in the journal BMJ Open. The figures reveal that national intake levels exceeded the recommended amount by more than 1,000 milligrams per day in 119 countries, with excessive intake particularly prevalent in Asia. This research offers the first estimates of global sodium intake for every country across the globe. – Cambridge News

Sodium in Single Restaurant Meal More Than Recommended Daily Intake
A single adult restaurant meal at full-service American chain restaurants—including an adult entree, side dish, and shared appetizer—contained an average of 3,512 milligrams of sodium, or 153% more than the highest daily recommended limit for Americans age 2 years and up, according to a new study published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. Adding on a nonalcoholic drink and a shared dessert raised the sodium level to 3,760 milligrams. The researchers also found that so-called “healthy choice” entrees tended to have lower calories than other entree categories but still often exceeded the recommended values for sodium. – Huffington Post

Sodium and Health in Americans’ Snacking
Eighty-five percent of Americans find healthy snacking difficult, according to a national survey conducted by market research company Kelton. However, many respondents reported a desire to eat healthier snacks, with 42% saying that they could commit to adding one healthy snack to their diet each day. A separate survey conducted by market research company Packaged Facts found that 50 million Americans who regularly consume snacks prefer those that are salty, but about 28% of people who reported this preference also reported eating only healthy snacks and exercising often. Manufacturers need to be “agile and fast-moving” to keep up with the challenges of today’s salty snackers, according to Packaged Facts. – Bakery and Snacks

In 2014, Salt May Be the “New Pepper”
Flavored salts may be among 2014’s top food trends, according to Christine Couvelier, executive chef and global culinary trendologist. Looking at trends from food shows, restaurants, and grocery stores, Couvelier said that “the number of flavored salts continues to grow…overtaking the pepper category.” Salt also falls into another trend category—customization—that is particularly strong and involves “letting customers put their own twists on foods” in restaurants, grocery stores, or at home, Couvelier said. – Canadian Grocer

Children’s Menu Trends
Healthier menu items for children may be a key driver of food and beverage sales in 2014, according to recent market research. Nearly one third of restaurant visits during 2013 included children, according to the NPD Group. A Mintel International study found that children chose the restaurant venue 26% of the time in 2013. Schools also are adapting to changes brought about by changes in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s School Nutrition Program, including new nutrition standards for school meals that call for sharp reductions in sodium. For example, the JTM Food Group has introduced a beef patty for the K–12 school food service market that contains 70% beef and 30% mushrooms and is lower in sodium than regular hamburgers. – Food Business News

Incidence of Childhood Obesity in the United States
Although the increased prevalence of childhood obesity in the United States has been documented, little is known about its incidence. We report here on the national incidence of obesity among elementary-school children.


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