Healthy Communities- March 19, 2015

March is Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month!
The Centers for Disease Control’s Screen for Life: National Colorectal Cancer Action Campaign  ( is a multimedia effort promoting colorectal cancer screening. Launched in 1999, this campaign informs Americans, particularly those aged 50 years or older, about colorectal cancer and the importance of screening.

Even 50 years after the first Surgeon General’s report on smoking, research continues to newly identify diseases caused by smoking, including…colorectal cancer.”  (See Executive Summary, Major Conclusion #3)

Tools & Resources – 80% by 2018
Over 170 organizations have committed to the 80% by 2018 colorectal cancer screening goal.
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 some of the links below to learn more about this effort and how you can be a part of it.

Vegetarian Diet May Cut Colon Cancer Risk
The New York Times: March 11, 2015
A vegetarian diet, especially one that includes fish, significantly reduces the risk of colorectal cancer, a large new study reports.
Researchers recruited 77,659 men and women from Seventh-day Adventist churches nationwide. Adventists were chosen because they abstain from smoking and drinking, and are encouraged to eat a vegetarian diet. All filled out well-validated questionnaires that included more than 200 food items.
Meat intake in the population was very low: about two ounces a day. During an average of seven years of follow-up, the scientists found 490 cases of colorectal cancer. Over all, after adjusting for many health and behavioral variables, vegetarians had a 21 percent reduced risk compared with nonvegetarians. The results are in JAMA Internal Medicine.

The Cancer You Can Prevent Campaign


Colorectal cancer is the second most deadly form of cancer but it doesn’t have to be. Screening can prevent the cancer or catch it early when it’s highly treatable. But only 59 percent of Oregonians are getting screened compared to 80.5 for breast cancer screening and 81.7 for cervical cancer screening.

To combat this, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) awarded a grant to the Oregon Health Authority (OHA) to increase colorectal cancer screening rates among Oregonians age 50 to 75 (45 for African Americans) to 80 percent in five years.

The statewide campaign is now underway. In addition to raising screening rates among all Oregonians, the campaign seeks to decrease disparities related to colorectal cancer in specific communities. We are working with partners in African American and Native American communities where there is a higher rate of colorectal cancer diagnoses and deaths, and implementing a mini campaign in Eastern Oregon where there are increased barriers to getting screened and is a higher death rate due to colorectal cancer compared to the state average.

Prevent Diabetes STAT website
Prevent Diabetes STAT – Screen, Test, Act – Today™ raises awareness about prediabetes and aims to increase screening, testing and referral to evidence-based diabetes prevention programs that are part of CDC’s National Diabetes Prevention Program.

CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) Releases Healthier Food Retail: An Action Guide for Public Health Practitioners
This resource provides guidance on how to develop, implement, and partner on initiatives in food retail settings. DNPAO also just released an updated version of Healthier Food Retail: Beginning the Assessment Process in Your State or Community. This resource provides an overview of how to develop a state or community assessment in food retail settings.  

Putting Local School Wellness Policies into Action: Stories from School Districts and Schools
Developed by CDC and USDA, this compilation provides examples of steps and strategies used to implement wellness policies.

CDC and researchers with the Bridging the Gap’s (BTG) National Wellness Policy Study have developed resources with updated data from the 2012-2013 school year (SY):

FDA Releases Menu Labeling Guidance; Senator Calls for Implementation Delay
The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has released guidance to industry regarding impending menu labeling rules that will require chain restaurants, food retail establishments like grocery and convenience stores, and vending machines —all with at least 20 locations—to disclose calorie information and make additional nutrition information available to consumers upon request. The rule for restaurants and food retail establishments takes effect on December 1, 2015; the rule for vending machines operators takes effect December 1, 2016. At his first hearing as chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee’s agriculture subcommittee, Sen. Jerry Moran, R-Kan., called on the FDA to scale back and delay implementation of the new rules

House Bill Would Provide Tax Incentive for Physical Activity Expenses
Rep. Charles Boustany, R-La., introduced the Personal Health Investment Today (PHIT) Act (H.R.1218), a bill that would expand the definition of a medical expense to include qualified physical activities, such as membership in a fitness facility or equipment purchased for use in a physical activity program. The bill would allow individuals to place up to $2,000 a year in existing pre-tax medical accounts for reimbursement of physical activity expenses.

Reports and Articles
Most Parents Believe Some Sugary Drinks Are Healthy Choices for Kids
RWJF: March 12, 2015
Despite public health messages about the importance of reducing consumption of sugary drinks, many parents believe that some drinks with high amounts of added sugar—especially fruit drinks, sports drinks and flavored water—are healthy options for children, according to a new study from the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity at the University of Connecticut, published in Public Health Nutrition.

“Although most parents know that soda is not good for children, many still believe that other sugary drinks are healthy options. The labeling and marketing for these products imply that they are nutritious, and these misperceptions may explain why so many parents buy them,” said Jennifer Harris, PhD, a study author and Director of Marketing Initiatives at the Rudd Center
Many parents believe that some drinks with high amounts of added sugar—fruit drinks, sports drinks and flavored water—are healthy options for kids. Why? For many parents, it’s the packaging. Which nutritional claims influence parents’ buying decisions? > 

Burger King Quietly Drops Sugary Soft Drinks From Kids’ Menu
Milk and 100% apple juice now displayed as options for younger patrons
Burger King has joined a growing number of fast-food restaurants trying to reduce the unhealthy options on their menus by removing calorie-laden soft drinks from its kids’ menu.
In a statement to USA Today, the fast-food giant said it removed fountain drinks from kids’ menus without fanfare last month “as a part of our ongoing effort to offer our guests options that match lifestyle needs.” Now, instead of Coca-Cola and Sprite, menus display milk or apple juice as options for young patrons.

Food manufacturers target children and change taste palates through sugary foods
March 3, 2015
Companies often claim their marketing is only having an impact on brand preferences, but a study from University of Oregon suggests that children’s taste palates are changing in response to the nutrient-poor, calorie-dense food marketing directed at them. The coordinator of the Children’s Food Campaign explains, “Whilst young children may have innate preferences for slight sweetness, manufacturers and marketers have exploited this so that the taste profile/preference of children is warped – so that appealing to sweet tastes is a self-reinforcing and beneficial choice for manufacturers rather than a neutral choice children make.”

2014 Bicycling and Walking in the U.S. Benchmarking Report
The Report, a collaboration between CDC and the Alliance for Biking and Walking, compiles data on bicycling and walking levels and demographics, safety, funding, policies, infrastructure, education, public health indicators, and economic impacts.

The Built Environment and Public Health Clearinghouse (BEPHC)
The BEPHC is a resource for training at both the university and professional levels and a source for relevant news and information at this critical intersection of community design and health.

Building Healthy Places Toolkit: Strategies for Enhancing Health in the Built Environment
Developers, owners, property managers, designers, investors, and others involved in real estate decision making can use the report’s recommendations and strategies to create places that contribute to healthier people and communities.

USDA Announces $97 Million Available to Expand Access to Healthy Food, Support Rural Economies
Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack announced the availability of $96.8 million in grants to fund innovative projects designed to support specialty crop producers, local food entrepreneurs, and farm to school efforts, which in turn will increase access to healthy, nutritious food for American families and children.

Physical Activity: Moving Toward Obesity Solutions
Please join the Institute of Medicine’s Roundtable on Obesity Solutions on April 14-15, 2015 for a public workshop, Physical Activity: Moving Toward Obesity Solutions.

Study Suggests Link Between Adult Diabetes, Exposure to Smoke in Womb
03/07/2015 03:00 PM EST
Review of daughters hints at increased risk in middle age

Study documents sugar industry influence on dental research in the 1960s and 1970s
Posted: 11 Mar 2015 10:16 AM PDT
A new study in PLoS Medicine provides documentary evidence of sugar industry manipulation of research on dental caries in the 1960s and 1970s.
The paper is a formal presentation of an article in Mother Jones (which I wrote about in a previous post)

Stress reduction may reduce fasting glucose in overweight and obese women
A treatment known as mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) may decrease fasting glucose and improve quality of life in overweight and obese women, new research suggests. The results were presented in a poster at ENDO 2015, the annual meeting of the Endocrine Society in San Diego.
MBSR is a secular mindfulness meditation program that was developed by Jon Kabat-Zinn, PhD at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. The practice of MBSR involves paying attention to one’s thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations in the present moment in a nonjudgmental and nonreactive manner through mindfulness exercises such as breathing awareness. MBSR may be beneficial for overweight and obese women as it has been shown to reduce stress and improve quality of life.

An extra 30 minutes of weekend over-sleeping triggers obesity and diabetes – Think before oversleeping!
A recent study suggests that individuals who try to compensate their weekday sleep loss and make up for it by oversleeping in the weekend are risking their metabolic disruption which could encourage the influx of Type 2 diabetes.

Lead study author Shahrad Taheri, professor of medicine at the Weill Cornell Medical College in Qatar, Doha, said “While previous studies have shown that short sleep duration is associated with obesity and diabetes, we found that as little as 30 minutes a day sleep debt can have significant effects on obesity and insulin resistance at follow up.”


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