Healthy Communities- December 1

New Resource Puts Health Data at Your Fingertips

systems_thinkingCompendium of publicly available datasets and other data-related resources is one-stop shop with 132 data sets from U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The Office of Minority Health (OMH) at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) announced the release of a new resource to aid researchers, public health practitioners and policymakers with data on health and health care disparities and social determinants of health. The Compendium of Publicly Available Datasets and Other Data-Related Resources (Compendium) is a free resource that compiles in one place descriptions of and links to 132 public datasets and resources that include information about health conditions and other factors that impact the health of minority populations.



Healthy Communities- November 17

2016 Weston Awards Celebrate People Making Communities Walkable

Friday, December 2, 6:00pm-9:00pm

The Treasury Ballroom, 326 SW Broadway, Portland 97205

unsafewalkingEast Portland Action Plan (EPAP), a committee comprised of citizen advocates to represent the 150,000 Portland residents between 82nd/I- 205 and Gresham/174th, is the #1 winner of the Weston Awards this year. Adopted in 2009, the East Portland Action Plan provides a comprehensive list of enumerated, tangible objectives to address community-identified issues. EPAP advocates were charged to provide leadership and guidance to public agencies and other entities on how to strategically address implementation and allocate resources to improve livability and prevent displacement in East Portland.

Attend the 6th Annual Weston Awards to celebrate EPAP, and the innovation, leadership and activism of all the Weston Award winners on December 2nd. Tickets are available here.

Oregon Public Health institute announces HEAL Cities Small Grant Recipients

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A growing number of cities are interested in healthy eating and active living, including adopting local policies on issues like zoning for community gardens, creating infrastructure to promote walkability and other environmental changes to prevent and manage chronic disease. Oregon Public Health Institute just completed its third annual HEAL Cities grant opportunity, awarding seven small grants. The interest of these cities in healthy eating and active living may offer opportunities for public health to partner with cities to achieve additional progress on population health. For more information visit the HEAL Cities website here.

In the News: Oregon’s Physical Education Law Takes Effect Next Summer

The Oregon Physical Education Law is scheduled to go into effect on July 1, 2017.  As you may recall, the bill  was passed in 2007, and Oregon schools have had ten years to prepare.  The reality of implementing this bill is becoming controversial, and we are likely to begin seeing and hearing the concerns from all sides during the coming months.  Likely, this article from the Portland Tribune may be the first of many to come.


Article: Daily Can of Soda Boosts Odds for Prediabetes, Study Finds

HealthDay News, November 10, 2016

sodacansA study found consuming an average of six 12-ounce servings of a sugar-sweetened beverage per week raises a person’s risk of prediabetes by 46%. The data, reported in the Journal of Nutrition, came from the Framingham Heart Study and included almost 1,700 adults who were followed for 14 years. Read more.

Article: Soda Taxes Win Big Despite Industry Efforts to Defeat the Measures

Souring on sweet? Voters in 4 cities pass soda tax measures. NPR, November 9, 2016.

Healthy Communities – November 3

Oregon Department of Transportation Awards $1.1 million to school “safe routes” programs

Eight applicants have been awarded funds that will help young students walk, bike and roll safely to and from school. The funds are specifically set aside for non-infrastructure investments, aimed at education and encouragement, and include things like teaching students safe practices, developing action plans around schools and more. Awardees and awards for 2017 – 2019 are the cities of Gresham, Hillsboro, and Portland; Clackamas and Jackson counties; Lane Transit District Point2Point; Oregon Cascades West Council of Governments; and Commute Options of Central Oregon.

Safe Routes to School Program goals are based on the “6 E’s” – Education, Encouragement, Enforcement, Evaluation, Engineering and Equity. While this award program does not pay for engineering or infrastructure, the work it does support can lead to those kinds of investments, in partnership with local transportation agencies. For example, action plans involve activities such as identifying what barriers exist in the infrastructure surrounding schools. These plans also look at ways to increase the physical activity level of children while safely going to and from school. For more information about Safe Routes to School grants, visit the ODOT website here.

sodaArticle: Does Big Soda Employ Big Tobacco Tactics?

A fiery new report makes a convincing case that Big Soda is the new Big Tobacco, Business Insider, October 10, 2016

Call for Story Ideas: Translating Evidence into Action to Improve Population Health

healthy livingThe 2017 issue of Northwest Public Health, the magazine of the University of Washington School of Public Health, is seeking story ideas that show the inseparable ties between social determinants and population health outcomes, and identify the best practices for improving health at a population level.

Articles will explore how researchers, public health organizations, and communities are working together to develop and deploy evidence-informed strategies. Special emphasis will be placed on successful policies, reforms, systems, interventions, and innovations that improve population health.  Example topic areas and populations include, but are not limited to: Social determinants like income and wealth, racism, and exposure to trauma; Impacts of health reform, including new models for health care delivery or payment; Environmental health, including climate change, lead, air pollution, and water quality; Mental and behavioral health, including drug use; Using data or technology to monitor health outcomes.  Populations include: Mothers, Children, Communities of color, Older adults, Farmworkers, People experiencing homelessness or incarceration, Immigrants and refugees, LGBTQ communities, People with limited English, Tribal communities.

If your story idea is selected, one of our writers will contact you to develop the idea into an article for publication. We welcome story ideas on the topics mentioned above or any other areas related to improving population health. For more information and how to submit your story idea, visit the Northwest Center for Public Health Practice.

Healthy Communities – October 20, 2016

Place Matters: Resources for Grassroots Empowerment

Mark Pertschuk and Michael Bare from Grassroots Change, Annie Tegen from Healthy Food America, and Sara Soka from Berkeley vs. Big Soda campaign hosted a breakout session at Place Matters Oregon called ‘From Berkeley to Boulder: Applying Tobacco Lessons to Addressing Sugary Drinks’ and shared timely information and workable techniques to organize and use lessons and tactics across issues.

Grassroots Change empowers grassroots leaders to build and sustain effective public health movements at the local, state, and national levels. They provide services, tools, and resources for grassroots advocates working on diverse public health and safety issues at Preemption Watch is designed to help advocates better understand and counter preemption and industry tactics. Their bi-weekly newsletter provides timely coverage of threats by state and issue.


WHO Takes Action against Sugary Drinks, Urges Taxes

From Marion Nestle’s Food Politics Blog

Posted: October 12, 2016

The World Health Organization issued a report this month urging governments to tax sugary beverages. WHO also put words into action by removing these drinks from their Geneva headquarters. Food Politics Blog author Marion Nestle reports on WHO’s actions and global response.


Physical Activity Focus in Call for Progress on Chronic Disease in Health White Paper

The National Association of Chronic Disease Directors recently released a white paper addressing the need for progress in public health and the prevention of chronic diseases. The development and implementation of comprehensive physical activity interventions are highlighted in the white paper as a particularly important opportunity for preventing chronic diseases. Find a list of white papers from NACDD here.

Healthy Communities – October 6, 2016

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month, an annual campaign to increase awareness of the disease. While most people are aware of breast cancer, many forget to take the steps to have a plan to detect the disease in its early stages and encourage others to do the same with this social media toolkit.


Rigged, Supermarket Shelves for Sale

Center for Science in the Public Interest, September 28, 2016

This report examines how food companies get their products featured in particular locations in supermarkets. Written by investigative journalist Gary Rivlin.

Download the full report here.

foodisleWalking and Biking: Stories from Small Towns, 2nd Edition (includes Molalla, Oregon!)

The National Physical Activity Society released the 2nd edition of Stories from Small Towns, which highlights eight U.S. towns that have made changes so people can walk and bike more freely. The stories demonstrate that structural changes to make walking easier can be carried out in America’s thousands of small towns and not just its big cities. The project aims to inspire town leaders across the country to see such infrastructure as possible and worthy.

walkingEach one-page community description includes photos and advice to other small towns. Towns must have populations under 25,000 to be included. In this second edition, populations ranged from 1,500 to more than 15,000 people.

Towns featured in the second edition are Eufaula, Alabama; Canton, Connecticut; Sergeant Bluff, Iowa; Hebron, Nebraska; Davidson, North Carolina; Molalla, Oregon; Sulphur Springs, Texas; and Soap Lake, Washington. The first edition was released in 2015.

Rural Walking: Deliberate Steps Needed?

The National Physical Activity Society has additional resources on small towns and rural areas. See a post by South Dakota member Nikki Prosch offering some ideas on walking in a rural area. Hint: Active transportation from one place to another might not be as easy when home and destination are 25 miles apart.

CDC Releases New Built Environment Assessment Tool

built-environment-assessment-toolThe Built Environment Assessment Tool (BE Tool) (an adaptation of MAPS) was designed to alleviate some of the challenges posed by the significant number of narrowly focused tools aimed at only one activity (walking), one subpopulation (older adults), or one public health area (inactivity). It was created as a collaborative enterprise across multiple areas of public health – health promotion, injury prevention, environmental health, etc.

The BE Tool is a direct systematic observation data collection instrument for measuring the core features and quality of the built environment related to behaviors that affect health, especially behaviors such as walking, biking, and other types of physical activity.

The core features assessed in the BE Tool include: built environment infrastructure (e.g., road type, curb cuts/ramps, intersections/crosswalks, traffic control, transportation), walkability (e.g. sidewalk/path features, walking safety, aesthetics & amenities), bikeability (e.g., bicycle lane/path features), recreational sites and structures, and the food environment (e.g., access to grocery stores, convenience stores, farmers markets, etc.). Additional questions or modules could be added by users if more detail about an aspect of the built environment, such as the nutrition environment or pedestrian environment, is desired.

Healthy Communities – September 22, 2016

Community Highlights from the CDC’s Beverage Bulletin (Summer 2016):


Policy in Practice: Berkeley’s Tax on Sugary Beverages

Impact of the Berkeley Excise Tax on Sugar-Sweetened Beverage Consumption. Falbe J, Thompson HR, Becker CM, Rojas N, McCulloch CE, Madsen KA. Am J Public Health. 2016

This study evaluated the impact of the excise tax on SSB intake among adults (≥18 years) in Berkeley, California, which implemented a tax ($0.01/oz) in March 2015. A beverage frequency questionnaire was administered to 990 participants before the tax and 1,689 after the tax (approximately 8 months after the vote and 4 months after implementation) to examine relative changes in consumption. This study reported that consumption of SSBs decreased 21% in Berkeley and increased 4% in comparison cities. Water consumption increased more in Berkeley (+63%) than in comparison cities (+19%). Read more.


A Comprehensive Evaluation of School District Wellness Policies

School District Wellness Policies: Evaluating Progress and Potential for Improving Children’s Health Eight Years after the Federal Mandate. School Years 2006-07 through 2013-14. Piekarz E, Schermbeck R, Young SK, Leider J, Ziemann M, Chriqui JF. Bridging the Gap Program and the National Wellness Policy Study, Institute for Health Research and Policy, University of Illinois at Chicago, 2016

According to the report authors, this report updates data published in February 2013, and is the most comprehensive, ongoing, nationwide evaluation of written school district wellness policies. It includes data from school years 2006-07 through 2013-14, the first eight years following the required implementation date for wellness policies. Using a nationally representative sample of school districts, this report provides details about the characteristics of these districts as well as the individual components of wellness policies and related provisions. Detailed data on competitive food and beverage provisions are available. Read more.

vend11FDA Releases Vending Machine Labeling Guidance Documents

U.S. Food and Drug Administration, 2016

The U.S. FDA announced the availability of a Small Entity Compliance Guide (SECG) and draft guidance to help businesses comply with the agency’s final rule on calorie labeling for vending machine foods and beverages. Read more.

Healthy Communities – September 8, 2016

september-20c1vkoSeptember is …

….Healthy Aging Month: Check out the website of the National Council on Aging to find resources to promote healthy aging.

National Cholesterol Education Month: Visit this CDC website to learn about the role of screening for cholesterol and how can you prevent or treat high cholesterol

Senior Center Month: Use the National Institute on Senior Centers’ 2016 Program Guide to plan community activities that celebrate the theme, Find Balance at Your Center!

World Alzheimer’s Month: Find resources to raise awareness and challenge stigma about Alzheimer’s disease in your community.

…Rheumatic disease awareness month: Rheumatic Disease Awareness Month, launched by the American College of Rheumatology, raises awareness about rheumatic diseases like arthritis, lupus, gout, and the lesser known rheumatic diseases. Learn more about strategies to manage these diseases and how rheumatic diseases can impact and complicate the management of other chronic conditions.

September 22 is the National Falls Prevention Awareness Day

The 9th annual Falls Prevention Awareness Day is Sept. 22 — the first day of fall. Use these tools and resources to raise awareness about how to prevent falls-related injuries and deaths among older adults. Plan activities and share resources on falls prevention strategies.

Importance of system thinking and health

systems_thinkingSystems change includes collaborating across sectors to improve systems at the federal, state and local levels to influence a variety of key levers.

Watch a short video here that illustrates systems change in action and discusses the importance of system thinking and health.

New CDC state maps show many Americans still struggle with obesity

CDC released its 2015 state- and territory-specific maps on adult obesity prevalence using self-reported information from the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System (BRFSS).

The 2015 state data maps show that the proportion of adults with obesity in the United States continues to remain high. Check out the new state data maps to see how Oregon compares to other states.

Obesity is a serious societal problem

obesityMillions of American adults have obesity, putting them at risk for many serious chronic diseases and health conditions. There is not one simple solution to address the high levels of obesity in the US. It will take a societal effort. Community leaders, employers, government agencies, and many others can create places that make it easier for adults and families to move more and eat better. Find out how.

Cancer replaces heart disease as the leading cause of death in 22 states, including Oregon

The gap between heart disease and the second-leading cause of death, cancer, has been narrowing since 1968, according to an August data brief published by the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics. Cancer surpassed heart disease as the leading cause of death for 22 states in 2014. Cancer is now the leading cause of death for some minority groups. See key findings and the map showing the leading causes of death for each state.

Implementing healthier food service guidelines in hospital and federal worksite cafeterias

CDC supported a project by the North Carolina Institute of Public Health (NCIPH) to examine five hospitals and four federal worksite food service operators across the country. The findings are published in the Journal of Human Nutrition and Dietetics.

school-healthy-eatingSchool Nutrition Environment and Services 

As students return to school, it’s important that they eat healthy and stay physically active. Healthy students are better learners and are better on all levels of academic achievement—academic performance, education behavior, and cognitive skills and attitudes. This new Comprehensive Framework for Addressing the School Nutrition Environment and Services is a framework and tool for school nutrition professionals, school health professionals, administrators, teachers, and parents working on a healthy school nutrition environment.