Healthy Communities – March 10, 2016

March is

  • Colorectal Cancer Awareness Month: Learn more about colorectal cancer treatment and prevention with the CDC’s “Screening for Colorectal Cancer: It’s the Right Choice” infographic.
  • National Nutrition Month: Celebrate this year’s theme of, Savor the Flavor of Eating Right, by implementing NCOA’s Next Steps to Better Nutrition program.
  • National Kidney Month: Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure. Find six ways to share information about kidney health with friends and family, including tips for keeping your kidneys healthy as you age.
  • National Patient Safety Week: Download educational resources that help patients, families, and staff advocate for patient safety and appropriate medication management. March 13-19

What’s new in public health

The Nation’s Health website, a publication of the American Public Health Association, provides new publications and helpful tools to use in the field.

CDC releases Prevention Status Reports

The newest iteration of the Prevention Status Reports (PSRs) is now available online. These state-level reports highlight the status of policies and practices designed to address 10 important health problems and concerns, including tobacco use, for all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

Oregon Safe Routes: A Statewide Snapshot

Safe routes to school reportThe Oregon Safe Routes to School Network has released the first-ever Annual Snapshot Report focused on Safe Routes to School activities in Oregon. Read up on what types of successful programs are happening around the state, and find out what’s next on our “to-do” list. Includes numbers from statewide programs, success stories, and the roll-out of a new statewide awards and recognition program.

Download the report (PDF)


22 Bicycle and Pedestrian Project Requests Submitted to ConnnectOregon VI Grant Program

Public health stakeholders working on walkability and chronic disease prevention will want to check out whether any projects may be proposed in your area, and see if there is a role for public health.

Making it through to the evaluation process are 76 applications requesting $89.8 million in grants; the program has $45 million to award. Broken down by mode, there are 25 aviation projects; nine marine/port projects; 14 rail projects; six transit projects; and 22 bicycle/pedestrian projects. Projects are first analyzed and ranked by modal committees (made up of stakeholders with areas of expertise in the mode) and then by regional committees, based on the geographical area the request covers. Those results will be passed along to a “final” review committee in June and that group’s recommendations will be provided to the ODOT director and then to the Oregon Transportation Commission, which will hold a public hearing in July. Final project selection by the OTC is scheduled for August 2016.

Strategies for Reducing Health Disparities — Selected CDC-Sponsored Interventions, United States, 2016

Reducing health disparities brings us closer to reaching health equity. Read about the programs that can advance health equity through addressing disparities in the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

Equality and equity

Global Obesity: A Growing Epidemic

The global population is expanding in numbers, but also in weight. Rates of obesity worldwide have more than doubled since 1980. In 2014, 1.9 billion adults were overweight and 600 million were obese. Every country included in the World Health Organization’s data repository experienced an increase in adult obesity rates from 2010 to 2014. None of these nation’s obesity rates stayed the same or declined during this time period. America has one of the highest rates of obesity. The average American is more than 24 pounds heavier today than in 1960. A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that obesity rates in American adults had increased from 35 percent in 2011-2012 to 38 percent in 2013-2014.

Learn more about obesity trends in the United States and other countries.

President’s Budget Proposal Seeks $35M for School Kitchen Equipment

President Barack Obama’s fiscal year 2017 federal budget proposal showed continued support for more nutritious school meals by requesting funding for new and better kitchen equipment. Obama asked Congress to allocate $35 million in grants, up from $30 million appropriated for this purpose in fiscal 2016.

If passed, these grants could benefit school districts in need of new, improved kitchen equipment and upgrades—an effort that is strongly supported by the Kids’ Safe and Healthful Foods Project.

Marketing to children

Several stories from the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity express concerns regarding approaches used by McDonald’s and marketing happening in school setting, and weight stigma and the effects it can have on a child.


Legal Regulation of Sodium Consumption to Reduce Chronic Conditions

In the United States, tens of thousands of Americans die each year of heart disease, stroke, or other chronic conditions tied to hypertension from long-term overconsumption of sodium compounds. Major strides to lower dietary sodium have been made over decades, but the goal of reducing Americans’ daily consumption is elusive. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has been urged to consider stronger regulatory limits on sodium, especially in processed and prepared foods. Still, FDA categorizes salt (and many other sodium compounds) as “generally recognized as safe,” meaning they can be added to foods when ingested in reasonable amounts. Legal reforms or actions at each level of government offer traditional and new routes to improving chronic disease outcomes. However, using law as a public health tool must be assessed carefully, given potential trade-offs and unproven efficacy. Read more about law and policy options to limit sodium consumption.

ASTHO Releases Sodium Reduction Technical Assistance Project Summary Report

ASTHO’s new project summary report, Salt and Your State: Technical Assistance Series to Advance Sodium Reduction Through Procurement Strategies, provides an overview of each state’s activities, including systems-level tactics to increase the effectiveness of states’ sodium reduction efforts, best and promising practices, state examples, and resources. Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Indiana, Iowa, Massachusetts, Missouri, Montana, North Carolina, and Washington state participated in this project. For more information, visit ASTHO’s Sodium Reduction web page

United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) Proposes Policies to Improve Food Access, Healthy Choices for Low-Income Americans

The USDA announced a proposed rule designed to provide Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) participants increased access to healthy foods by requiring stores that accept SNAP to stock a wider array of food choices. To read the full release, please click here. This proposed rule is one of many ways USDA is working to expand access to healthy foods for SNAP recipients. USDA has piloted the use of incentives to purchase healthy foods at point of sale in various venues, including farmers markets and small groceries where the incentive provided for additional purchase of local produce. The 2014 farm bill provided $100 million for Food Insecurity Nutrition Incentive (FINI) grants to expand this effort, which USDA awarded to grantees in the spring and fall of 2015. USDA has also worked to increase SNAP participants’ access to farmers markets and direct marketing farmers, resulting in over 6,000 authorized locations – an eight-fold increase since the beginning of this administration.

Comments on the proposed rule will be received for 60 (calendar) days. For more information see the Federal Register Notice.

 Healthy Eating Research

In February, Healthy Eating Research released a new report titled Minimum Stocking Levels and Marketing Strategies of Healthful Foods for Small Retail Food Stores. The report identifies the minimum amounts of healthful foods and beverages that stores, particularly smaller food stores, should stock on their shelves (minimum stocking levels), and suggests marketing strategies that stores should adopt to enhance sales of healthful foods. The report suggests that stores stock only healthier foods and beverages and/or non-food items in some or all checkout areas. Checkout is a powerful form of food marketing that contributes to unhealthy eating. Alternatively, stores can increase the proportion of healthier foods and beverages and/or non-food items found in all checkout areas.

GIS Snapshots

Did you know that CDC’s Preventing Chronic Disease (PCD) Journal publishes regular GIS Snapshots? These map and text articles feature Geographic Information Systems (GIS) used to display national, state, or county data for important health topics related to chronic disease. PCD publishes these Snapshots on a regular basis, so check out the GIS section of the CDC website often for new articles.

Resources on brain health

The brain is the most complex organ. It’s also one of the most important. That’s why keeping it healthy is critical—especially as you get older. Many people with high blood pressure know that they could be at risk for stroke and heart attack. However, too many people, despite what they may know, still are not motivated by these facts to get their high blood pressure under control. Now a new risk of high blood pressure is emerging: the possible connection between uncontrolled blood pressure and dementia. Important new studies link high blood pressure, especially in midlife, to an increased risk for dementia later in life.

The web site of the National Institutes of Health Mind Your Risks shares information about the connection between brain health and heart health, including ways that addressing high blood pressure and staying physically active can help reduce the risk of cognitive impairment.

Explore the What is Brain Health? web site of the Administration for Community Living to find information and media campaign tools focused on helping older adults stay cognitively healthy.

 Physically Fit May Bounce Back Better After Heart Attack

HealthDay News (2/29) – A study in the American Journal of Medicine found people who regularly exercised over several years were significantly less likely to develop depression after a heart attack, compared with people who did not exercise. Researchers said the reduction in risk varied by how much exercise people engaged in before their heart attack.walking people

How can the public health sector better collaborate with parks and recreation departments?

Read this recent article from Parks and Recreation magazine, featuring Public Health Institute and its Health in All Policies guide.

 The Alliance for Biking and Walking Benchmarking Report

In conjunction with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Healthy Community Design Initiative, the Alliance for Biking and Walking publishes the biennial Benchmarking Report to collect and analyze data on bicycling and walking in all 50 states, the 52 largest U.S. cities, and a select number of midsized cities. The Report combines original research with over 20 government data sources to compile data on bicycling and walking levels and demographics, safety, funding, policies, infrastructure, education, public health indicators, and economic impacts. It’s an essential go-to resource for public officials, advocates, decision makers, and researchers. Download a free copy of the 2016 Report here: Download the 2016 Report

benchmarking report

Reducing Health Disparities: Atlanta experience

In Atlanta, ZIP code is often the biggest predictor of health. In some communities, residents are expected to live 84 years, while just a few miles away life expectancy is only 71 years.

The Alignment for Health Equity and Development (AHEAD) initiative is working to change this, by partnering with a regional collaborative to improve health by putting new investment streams toward upstream interventions that address social, economic and community conditions—ensuring that community investments are smarter, more strategic, more aligned, and more effective.

Learn more about AHEAD’s work in Atlanta in the Stanford Social Innovation Review special supplement, Innovations in Health Equity.




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