Healthy Communities- May 22nd, 2015

Oregon Biking

Call for Photos! Show your community in the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan
Do you have some photos to share that would be good to be featured in the Oregon Bicycle and Pedestrian Plan? ODOT is currently updating this plan, which will guide policies and strategies for increasing biking and walking in Oregon in the years ahead. The plan team is looking for photos from communities throughout Oregon – urban, suburban, small town, rural and any other types – that show examples of what you want to see more of – quality biking and walking experiences.
If you have some that you are permitted to share please send them (along with any information on credit that should be attributed) to by Friday May 29.

Join @MomsRising and @CSPI Friday, May 29th from 1 pm to 2 pm ET for a #FoodFri tweet chat to discuss food marketing to kids. The chat will be about ongoing efforts to protect kids from unhealthy food marketing, the growing number of restaurants dropping soda from kids’ menus, and what parents and advocates can do to accelerate progress to reduce junk food marketing to kids. This tweet chat will be an opportunity to celebrate successes, discuss next steps, and to urge companies to do more to support children’s health. This information provided by Center for Science in the Public Interest

school healthy meals

USDA Announces 95 Percent Compliance with School Meal Nutrition Standards
Ninety-five percent of schools nationwide are meeting the updated meal standards required by the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act, according to new data released by the United States Department of Agriculture. According to the data, which is current as of December 2014, thirty states have been certified with at least 97 percent compliance, including 17 states at 100 percent compliance. 

Reports and Articles


America in 2015 Just Released
America in 2015, the second edition of the Urban Land Institute’s community survey, gauges Americans’ opinions and realities regarding housing, transportation, and community. The report, which was released at ULI’s Spring Meeting last week, uncovers important community design–related barriers to living a healthy life, including:

  • 21 percent of Americans say that crime makes it unsafe to walk in their neighborhoods, and 25 percent say traffic makes it unsafe to walk.
  • 38 percent of Americans say they lack outdoor places for recreation in their communities.
  • 16 percent say that healthy food is not readily available in their communities.
  • 48 percent say their communities lack sufficient bike lanes.   Learn more.

Public Comment Period Ends for Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee Report
The public comment period closed last week on the scientific report of the 2015 Dietary Guidelines Advisory Committee (DGAC), which will inform the next edition of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans expected to be released by the end of the year. In comments submitted to the Departments of Agriculture and Health and Human Services, Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, praised the DGAC’s conclusions and policy recommendations for being “informed by solid scientific evidence, address critical diet-related public health issues, and are consistent with a number of efforts RWJF has undertaken over the past decade to encourage healthy eating to help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.”

Does Perceived Neighborhood Walkability and Safety Mediate the Association Between Education and Meeting Physical Activity Guidelines
published in Prev Chronic Dis 2015;12:140570.
Abstract: The role of neighborhood walkability and safety in mediating the association between education and physical activity has not been quantified. We used data from the 2010 and 2012 Communities Putting Prevention to Work Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System and structural equation modeling to estimate how much of the effect of education level on physical activity was mediated by perceived neighborhood walkability and safety. Neighborhood walkability accounts for 11.3% and neighborhood safety accounts for 6.8% of the effect. A modest proportion of the important association between education and physical activity is mediated by perceived neighborhood walkability and safety, suggesting that interventions focused on enhancing walkability and safety could reduce the disparity in physical activity associated with education level.

The National Physical Activity Plan: A Call to Action from the American Heart Association
The advisory summarizes the data that describe the health benefits of regular physical activity and the public health burden of low levels of physical activity, and describes the NPAP and the role it will play in increasing the physical activity levels of Americans.

The Impact of Safe Routes to School Programs on Walking and Biking,
a research brief published on Active Living Research.
The Challenge: Most school children in the U.S. get to school by bus or car, with only a small percentage walking or biking. Increasing walking, biking, and other modes of active school travel holds promise for reducing childhood obesity and improving health of children and adolescents. This research review highlights findings from studies conducted in several states and cities that have examined walking or biking rates, safety, and economic issues associated with Safe Routes to School (SRTS). Key Findings:

  • Actively commuting to and from school could improve mental and physical health.
  • SRTS has increased the number of students who walk or bike to and from school.
  • Unsafe routes make it harder for students to walk or bike to and from school. SRTS has made it safer for students to walk or bike to or from school.
  • SRTS can lower health care and transportation costs for school districts and families.
  • Communities can take action on SRTS through subdivision regulations that require sidewalks, education facility plans that ensure access to school by foot and bicycle, school wellness policies that include Safe Routs to School, and capital improvement plans that prioritize engineering improvements near schools. […click here for the full brief]

Developing Local Board of Health Guidelines to Promote Healthy Food Access — King County, Washington, 2010-2012,
published in Prev Chronic Dis 2015;12:140544.
Abstract: Policies that change environments are important tools for preventing chronic diseases, including obesity. Boards of health often have authority to adopt such policies, but few do so. This study assesses 1) how one local board of health developed a policy approach for healthy food access through vending machine guidelines (rather than regulations) and 2) the impact of the approach. Using a case study design guided by “three streams” policy theory and RE-AIM, we analyzed data from a focus group, interviews, and policy documents. The guidelines effectively supported institutional policy development in several settings. Recognition of the problem of chronic disease and the policy solution of vending machine guidelines created an opening for the board to influence nutrition environments. Institutions identified a need for support in adopting vending machine policies. Communities could benefit from the study board’s approach to using nonregulatory evidence-based guidelines as a policy tool.

From the Washington Post, May 18, 2015: Target is making a big shift away from sugary cereals, canned foods and mac and cheese.
It’s only becoming more difficult to be a packaged food manufacturer in America.

Target recently gathered some of the country’s largest food companies in the country to tell them that many of their products would no longer be featured or promoted in the same way they have in recent years. The news, [http://it%27s%20a%20difficult%20time%20to%20be%20a%20packaged%20food%20manufacturer%20in%20america/]first reported by the Wall Street Journal, comes on the heels of what has been a trying stretch for American food manufacturers. And it could have a sizable impact on the health of the packaged food industry…[read more]

Soda Tax Bill Rejected in California
A bill (AB 1357) that would have levied a two-cent-per-ounce tax on distributors of soda and other sugary drinks was rejected by the state assembly’s health committee. Revenue from the tax would have been directed towards programs in the state’s education, health, and agriculture departments that address childhood obesity and diabetes prevention, nutrition education, physical activity, and farm-to-school programs.

Study: Most Foods and Beverages Advertised to Children Fall Short of Federal Standards for a Healthy Diet

Major food and beverage companies are meeting their own pledges to advertise healthier products to children on TV, but three out of four of those products do not meet government guidelines for what constitutes a healthy diet for children, according to a study published in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The study—funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its national program Healthy Eating Research —found that, in 2013, 25 percent of companies’ TV ads to children promoted products the government would count as moderately healthy―and no ads promoted products in the healthiest food category. This study was conducted before companies adopted uniform set of nutrition standards.

A healthful legacy: Michelle Obama looks to the future of ‘Let’s Move’
Five years after she launched Let’s Move, Michelle Obama’s willingness “to make a complete fool of myself” is the most visible part of her campaign to end childhood obesity. She’ll dance with a turnip, or Big Bird, or Jimmy Fallon.

Behind the scenes, however, she has cultivated partnerships with big business to cut salt, sugar and fat from food. This network of corporate relationships is unlike that of any previous first lady and has helped her sidestep a Republican Congress resistant to the administration’s public health policies.

Preschoolers should be more physically active, study suggests
Researchers followed the activities of preschool children in the Seattle area for 50 days and found that 29% of their days were spent napping, about 12% were for active play and the rest of their time was spent eating or in sedentary activities. Being active is important for young children because it helps prevent obesity and develops their motor and social skills, said lead author Pooja Tandon. The findings were published in Pediatrics. USA Today (5/18)


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