Healthy Communities- March 28, 2014

National Public Health Week resources and daily themes
National Public Health Week 2014 is right around the corner! Join us as we celebrate the evolving public health system and the importance of public health from April 7-13 with the theme “Public Health: Start Here.” The NPHW website has many resources available to help you get involved in NPHW. Also, be sure to join APHA in our fourth annual NPHW Twitter Chat! The Twitter Chat will be held on Wednesday, April 9, from 2-3 p.m. EST. RSVP by joining our Twitvite and use the hashtag #NPHWchat to join the conversation.

Reports and Atricles

childdietChildren’s Diets “Far Too Salty”
BBC: March 10, 2014
Children in the United Kingdom are eating far too much salt, with much of it coming from breads and cereals, suggests new research published in the journal Hypertension. Children should eat less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day, but 70% of children in the study consumed more. Breads and cereals accounted for more than one-third of the sodium in children’s diets. One-fifth came from meat and one-tenth from dairy products. On average, 5- and 6-year-old children consumed about 1,450 milligrams of sodium each day, 8- and 9-year-olds consumed about 1,830 milligrams daily, and 13- to 17-year-olds consumed more than 2,900 milligrams each day. Boys tended to have higher sodium intake than girls. Much of the salt consumed was from processed foods rather than added at the table. The U.K. Department of Health said its voluntary salt reduction policy with manufacturers was working but agreed that more progress is needed. – BBC News

Organizations Working Together to Advance Colorectal Cancer Control Efforts
80% by 2018 is a movement in which dozens of organizations have committed to eliminating colorectal cancer as a major public health problem and are working toward the shared goal of reaching 80% screened for colorectal cancer by 2018. Visit the National Colorectal Cancer Roundtable to learn more about this effort and how you can be a part of it.

Colon Cancer Screening Follow-Up
The aim of this initiative was to increase return rates of colon cancer screening kits. Previous efforts involved postcard reminders, but the updated effort involved a personal contact approach by calling each client up to three times.

Heinz Tomato Ketchup Reduced Salt and Sugar Launches in Burger King March 5, 2014
Heinz Tomato Ketchup Reduced Salt and Sugar is now available in Burger King restaurants across the United Kingdom and Ireland as part of the launch of the chain’s new lower fat French fries. The Reduced Salt and Sugar Ketchup contains 25% less salt and 30% less sugar. –

Health Providers Should Prescribe Sleep for People with Metabolic Disorders
The Lancet
A new study in The Lancet Diabetes & Endocrinology finds that insufficient or disturbed sleep is associated with metabolic disorders such as type 2 diabetes and obesity, and addressing poor quality sleep should be a target for the prevention—and even treatment—of the disorders. According to the study authors, addressing some types of sleep disturbance—such as sleep apnea—may have a directly beneficial effect on patients’ metabolic health, but a far more common problem is people simply not getting enough sleep, particularly due to the increased use of devices such as tablets and online games. The authors say that early studies are starting to provide evidence that there is a direct causal link between loss of sleep and the body’s ability to metabolize glucose, control food intake, and maintain its energy balance. Read more on obesity.

prescribeabike Mayor Walsh & Boston Medical Center to Prescribe Affordable Hubway Memberships
Aside from trying to burgeon Boston’s tech scene, Mayor Marty Walsh is also aiming to make the city healthier and more physically active. On Wednesday, the mayor announced that his office is teaming up with Boston Medical Center and Hubway to subsidize bike share memberships for low-income residents through a program aptly dubbed Prescribe-a-Bike.

The overriding goals of Prescribe-a-Bike are to tackle health disparities throughout the city most often caused by economic inequalities, as well as to increase access to affordable transportation to those who typically can’t expense it otherwise.

“There is no other program like this in the country,” said Mayor Walsh in a statement. “Prescribe-a-Bike makes the link between health and transportation, and ensures that more residents can access the Hubway bike share system.”

Using Hubway’s bike share program, which stretches from Somerville through Boston, the mayor’s office hopes to enlist 1,000 residents in the program which would cost those who qualify just $5 annually. According to Hubway’s website, annual memberships run $85, not including usage fees which are extra charges tacked on for every 30-minute interval after the user has exhausted an initial 30-minutes of biking.

Overweight Teens Should Start Healthy Eating by Cutting Down on Salt
AHA: March 20, 2014
Overweight or obese teenagers who eat lots of salty foods shows signs of faster cell aging, according to research presented at the American Heart Association’s Epidemiology & Prevention/Nutrition, Physical Activity & Metabolism Scientific Sessions 2014. Previous research found that protective ends on chromosomes (telomeres) naturally shorten with age, but the process is accelerated by smoking, lack of physical activity and high body fat. This study is the first to examine the impact of sodium intake on telomere length.

In the study, 766 people ages 14-18 were divided into the lowest or highest half of reported sodium intake. Low-intake teens consumed an average 2,388 mg/day, compared with 4,142 mg/day in the high-intake group. Both groups consumed far more than the 1,500 mg/day maximum (about 2/3 teaspoon of salt) recommended by the American Heart Association. After adjusting for several factors that influence telomere length, researchers found that in overweight/obese teens, telomeres were significantly shorter with high-sodium intake. In normal weight teens, telomeres were not significantly different with high-sodium intake.

“Even in these relatively healthy young people, we can already see the effect of high sodium intake, suggesting that high sodium intake and obesity may act synergistically to accelerate cellular aging,” said Haidong Zhu, MD, PhD, lead author of the study and assistant professor of pediatrics at Medical College of Georgia, Georgia Regents University in Augusta, Ga. “Lowering sodium intake may be an easier first step than losing weight for overweight young people who want to lower their risk of heart disease. The majority of sodium in the diet comes from processed foods, so parents can help by cooking fresh meals more often and by offering fresh fruit rather than potato chips for a snack.” Read more on heart health.

Sodexo pledges better meals to support First Lady’s fight against obesity
Fosters Daily Democrat: March 24, 2014
One of the nation’s largest food service companies is making a series of changes in support of Michelle Obama’s anti-childhood obesity initiative.
Sodexo says it will add more nutritious options to its vending and K-12 lunchroom programs. It will also offer a healthier children’s meal at museums, aquariums and other recreational venues it serves. The company also wants to distribute millions more free breakfasts in the elementary and secondary schools where it serves such meals.
Some of the changes could be in place as soon as next year.
The company reaches 15 million consumers a day in more than 9,000 locations nationwide, Sodexo CEO George Chavel said Wednesday.

County Health Rankings: Where you live affects your health
Posted: 26 Mar 2014 07:34 AM PDT
Whether you reside in Clallam County, Wash., Miami-Dade County, Fla., or somewhere in between, where you live affects your health. That’s the conclusion of the 2014 County Health Rankings report released today.

Exposure to Fast Food Restaurants Increases Obesity Risk
People exposed to fast food establishments near their homes, workplaces, or during their commute, are much more likely to consume fast food, according to a study published in BMJ. Read more.

Sugar Free Kids Coalition Formed
The Maryland State Medical Society, the American Heart Association, the NAACP, and the Horizon Foundation recently announced the formation of Sugar Free Kids, a state coalition to reverse the epidemics of childhood obesity and teen diabetes. Read more

“Healthy Stores for a Health Community” Launches in California
The Healthy Stores for a Healthy Community campaign is a statewide collaboration between tobacco use prevention, nutrition, and alcohol prevention partners which aims to improve the health of Californians. Read more.

Puerto Rico Introduces Obesity Prevention Bills
Senate President Eduardo Bhatia has introduced two bills to combat obesity and safeguard children’s health in Puerto Rico. Read more.

Effects of Ads Targeting Kids Linger into Adulthood
When companies advertise to kids using mascots or characters, love of the brand and feelings that the product is wholesome and healthful can persist well into adulthood, according to a study coming out in the June issue of the Journal of Consumer Research. Read more.

End Tax Deductions for Marketing Junk Food to Children
US Representative Rosa DeLauro has introduced legislation to end tax breaks that subsidize the marketing unhealthy choices. Read more.

Soda wall
The soda industry influenced news coverage of two soda tax ballot measures in the cities of Richmond and El Monte, California, according to a report recently released by the Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG). Researchers analyzed news articles and industry publications from November 2011 to January 2013 and found that the soda industry infiltrated news stories while camouflaging its identity.

According to BMSG, the industry recruited a broad range of community spokespeople to voice an anti-tax position on its behalf but did not reveal itself as the funding source. The researchers assert that this allowed soda companies to distance themselves from the political debate and create the appearance that opposition to the taxes came from within the community, rather than from an industry-funded PR campaign.

The study also found that the soda industry, which spent $4 million to defeat the proposals, exploited existing class- and race-based tensions to portray the tax as financially ruinous and regressive. The industry claimed — sometimes directly and sometimes through community spokespeople — that it would be financed on the backs of the cities’ poorest residents, according to the authors.

The study includes recommendations for journalists on ways to improve coverage of soda taxes, as well as lessons from Richmond and El Monte that advocates can use to push for soda taxes in other cities.

BMSG co-hosted a tweet chat with the Rudd Center on March 6 about the study, which is archived on Storify here.


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