October 2016





Connect & Explore and New Resources: Evaluating Health Care-Community Collaborations: Implications and Recommendations for the Field

October 27, 2016, NCCOR

The health care sector is working toward engaging communities to directly address population health, including childhood obesity prevention. Exploring the integration of clinic-community programs and evaluating these initiatives is vital for moving childhood obesity prevention efforts forward.

On November 10, NCCOR is hosting part three of a three-part Connect & Explore webinar series on Evaluating Health Care-Community Collaborations. The webinar will feature groundbreaking research examining hospitals’ community benefit activities to improve healthy food access, reduce risk of obesity and diet-related disease, and promote healthier food systems in their communities. Presenters from Health Care Without Harm, an environmental health advocacy organization with over 1,000 member hospitals in the U.S., will discuss findings from a recent pilot study conducted in Massachusetts as well as a current national study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson foundation.

As part of NCCOR’s effort to evaluate health care-community collaborations, the webinar will also feature an overview of the newly released white paper, “Evaluating Community-Clinical Engagement in Childhood Obesity: Implications and Recommendations for the Field.” The white paper, a product of a 2015 NCCOR workshop, includes a logic model and metrics to evaluate health care-community engagement efforts, both of which will be featured during the webinar. The white paper and a downloadable version of the logic model and metrics are available on the NCCOR website.

Connect & Explore gives you the chance to hear from leading experts on this pressing issue. Learn how communities and health care systems can effectively engage in obesity prevention efforts and how these initiatives can be evaluated for success.

Join us on Thursday, November 10, at 1 p.m. ET, for the one-hour event. Guest speakers include:

  • Emma Sirois and Susan Bridle-Fitzpatrick, PhD, from Health Care Without Harm. Ms. Sirois and Dr. Bridle-Fitzpatrick will present the Healthy Food in Health Care program’s multifaceted approach to engaging the health care sector to promote healthy, resilient food systems for community health. They will share findings from two community benefit research studies—a recent study in Massachusetts and a current national study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Both studies examine how tax-exempt hospitals include healthy food access and diet-related disease in their community health needs assessments and community health implementation strategies and how nutrition and obesity-related community benefit programs are evaluated.
  • Brook Belay, MD, MPH and Daniel Kidder, PhD, from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Drs. Belay and Kidder will share how the logic model and metrics for evaluating health care-community engagement initiatives were developed and how they can be modified to fit many different evaluation efforts.

Learn More! Meet NCCOR at APHA from October 29 to November 2, 2016. There will be copies of the “Evaluating Community-Clinical Engagement in Childhood Obesity: Implications and Recommendations for the Field” Executive Summary and Logic Model at the booth. We hope to meet many of you there and discuss NCCOR’s work on this and many other issues relevant to childhood obesity!

Continue the conversation! NCCOR is hosting a twitter chat to continue the discussion around health care-community collaborations to address childhood obesity. Join us on November 15th at 2:00 p.m. ET with our co-hosts for the event, the Center for Disease Controls Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, and the National Institutes of Health Office of Disease Prevention. You can register for the twitter chat here: http://vite.io/childobesitychat and be sure to join the conversation using the hashtag #childobesitychat.

You must register to receive webinar access. The event is free, but attendance is limited, so tell a colleague and register today!

Back to Top


October 27, 2016, NCCOR

NCCOR is pleased to be attending the American Public Health Association’s (APHA) 144th Annual Meeting & Exposition, which takes place in Denver from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2. More than 12,000 public health professionals from around the world will participate in this prestigious gathering and share their latest research and innovations, promote best practices, and advocate for public health issues. NCCOR will have a booth in the exhibition hall (#802) throughout the conference. Stop by for the latest information, resources, and giveaways. There will also be a photo-op with NCCOR props at the booth! Attendees are encouraged to follow @NCCOR and use the hashtag #NCCORatAPHA and #APHA2016 on Twitter to stay connected with NCCOR activities at APHA.

This year attendees will be able to hear directly from NCCOR members through a variety of sessions:

Monday, October 31, 2016

  • 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: Session 3140.0: Evaluating Nutrition Incentive Programs’ Impact on Fruit and Vegetable Consumption and Access Among SNAP Shoppers
  • 10:30 a.m.–12:00 p.m.: Session 3142.0: Innovative Nutrition Guidance Proposed for Healthy People 2020: Evidence-Based Laws and Policies
    • 11:15 a.m.–11:30 p.m. Presentation: Eat Your Veggies: Evidence-based laws and policies that promote fruit and vegetable consumption
  • 12:30–2:00 p.m.: Session 3238.0: Using the New National Evaluation Framework to Capture the Collective Impact of SNAP-Ed

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

  • 12:30–2:00 p.m.: Session 4223.0: Strategies to address food insecurity, poverty, and obesity
  • 12:30–2:00 p.m.: Session 4251.0: Social Justice, Wellness, and School Health
    • 1:30–1:50 p.m.: District policy alignment with the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010 and USDA’s proposed wellness policy rule
  • 2:30–4:00 p.m.: Session 4303.0: Translating the Dietary Guidelines for Americans into Practice Where We Live, Learn, Work, and Play
    • 2:50–3:10 p.m.: Operationalizing Food Service Guidelines: Methods, Best Practices, and Available Tools and Resources
  • 2:50–3:30 p.m.: Session 4291.0: Baby-Friendly designation and rising mPINC scores at Indian Health Service hospitals
  • 4:30–6:00 p.m.: Session 4413.0: Physical Activity Assessed: Data, Surveillance, and Interventions
    • 5:10–5:30 p.m.: Healthy People 2020 Midcourse Review of Physical Activity objectives

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

  • 8:30–10:00 a.m.: Session 5077.0: Every Student Succeeds Act and the Whole Child: Implications for School Health
    • 8:50–9:10 a.m.: A Crosswalk Approach to Aligning School Health with ESSA

Back to Top

Publications & Tools

CDC releases first-ever Early Care and Education (ECE) State Indicator Report

The CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity released the 2016 Early Care and Education (ECE) State Indicator Report. This report provides information about state efforts to address childhood obesity in the ECE setting.

Early care and education (ECE) is a key setting to address childhood obesity for children under 5:

  • 41% of U.S. children aged 0 to 5 years are cared for weekly in non-parental care arrangements such as child care centers, family child care homes, pre-kindergarten classrooms, and Head Start programs; 64% for children 3 to 5 years of age.
  • About 1 in 4 children aged 2 to 5 years are overweight or have obesity.
  • Children who are overweight when they enter kindergarten are 4x more likely to have obesity in 8th grade compared to their peers who are normal weight1.
  • Because childhood weight status often tracks into adulthood, it is important that we reach children at an early age.

Read the Report

Back to Top

Building a Culture of Healthy for All Children: 2016 Progress Report

Voices for Healthy Kids, a joint initiative of the American Heart Association and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, is pleased to release its 2016 Progress Report, Building a Culture of Health for All Children. In the first three years of the initiative, we’ve seen progress around the nation, with more than 50 policy wins, impacting more than 66 million lives.

The report highlights key progress from the year, including inspiring examples of communities and states that are dedicated to helping all children grow up at a healthy weight.

Read the Report

Back to Top

Childhood Obesity Research & News

Center for Nutrition Assistance Research To Enhance Food Security and Dietary Quality

October 25, 2016, Tufts University, Gerald J. and Dorothy R. Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy

A new center at Tufts University and the University of Connecticut will focus on economic research aimed at enhancing food security and dietary quality for low-income Americans through the nation’s nutrition assistance programs.

The research center brings together the Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy at Tufts and the UConn Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, two institutions with long records of research leadership in this area.

The Tufts/University of Connecticut RIDGE (Research Innovation and Development Grants in Economics) Center will be funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (for one grant cycle immediately and potentially up to 3 grant cycles in total).

Parke Wilde, associate professor at the Friedman School, will serve as the RIDGE Center Director, and Tatiana Andreyeva, associate professor in the UConn Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, and Director of Economic Initiatives for the UConn Rudd Center, will be the RIDGE Center Associate Director.

“Nutrition assistance programs have a central role in making sure all Americans have access to sufficient – and sufficiently healthy – food for their families,” Wilde said. “This Tufts/UConn RIDGE Center will help build the diverse network of researchers needed to study what these programs do and how they can do it more efficiently.”

“The new center will offer competitive small-scale grants to support innovative research on nutrition assistance programs. The center’s mission is to further strengthen and expand the research community through vigorous outreach, mentoring and networking with established scholars and promising new talent in the field,” Andreyeva said. “We will aim to fund a diverse group of experienced and emerging researchers, representing a range of backgrounds, disciplines and regions of the country.”

The RIDGE Center will issue a request for proposals in early 2017. Applicants will be invited to submit short concept letters in early spring, and selected applicants will be invited to submit full proposals in late spring. Details will be posted online at: http://ridge.nutrition.tufts.edu.

The new RIDGE Center funding offers an exciting opportunity for a diversity of new and experienced researchers in the area of nutrition assistance, including the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), child nutrition programs, and smaller, less studied programs such as the Summer Food Service Program. The Center will help connect researchers from around the country to current information about USDA program and policy interests, offering promise for sound research with real-world usefulness.

Original source: https://nutrition.tufts.edu/news/center-nutrition-assistance-research-enhance-food-security-and-dietary-quality

Back to Top

Integrating Behavioral Economics into Nutrition Education Research and Practice

October 15, 2016, Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior


Nutrition education has a long history of being informed by economic thinking, with the earliest nutrition education guides incorporating household food budgeting into nutrition advice. Behavioral economics research goes beyond that traditional role to provide new insights into how consumers make choices. These insights have numerous potential applications for nutrition interventions to promote healthy food choices consistent with the U.S. Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Research to test the value of such applications can contribute to the development of evidence-based nutrition education practice called for in federal nutrition education programs.

Original source: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S1499404616307886

Back to Top

NIH task force formed to develop first nutrition strategic plan

October 11, 2016, National Institutes of Health

Strategic plan will complement and enhance ongoing research efforts across NIH on diseases and conditions affected by nutrition.

What: The National Institutes of Health Nutrition Research Task Force (NRTF) was established to coordinate and accelerate progress in nutrition research across the NIH and guide the development of the first NIH-wide strategic plan for nutrition research for the next 10 years. The NRTF will draw from experts across multiple fields, as nutrition affects both a wide range of diseases—including diabetes, cancer, obesity and heart disease—as well as overall health and normal development.

The Task Force is charged with the following: Develop a strategic plan for the next decade to help guide NIH-supported nutrition research. The plan will identify promising scientific opportunities and key research gaps and promote interdisciplinary work to achieve common goals in nutrition.

Solicit feedback in the development of the plan and related efforts, including from the public, other federal agencies, scientific and professional associations and other organizations, and the scientific community.

Appoint a senior leadership group to guide implementation of the plan. The NRTF will develop the strategic plan over the next two years. The strategic plan will emphasize cross-cutting, innovative opportunities to accelerate nutrition research across a wide range of areas, from basic science to experimental design to training. These opportunities will complement and enhance ongoing research efforts across NIH on diseases and conditions affected by nutrition.

Who: The Task Force will be chaired by Dr. Griffin P. Rodgers, director of the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK). Co-chairs are Dr. Gary Gibbons, director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; Dr. Douglas R. Lowy, acting director of the National Cancer Institute; and Dr. Diana W. Bianchi, director of the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. Participants on the Task Force will represent these and other institutes within NIH, as well as other stakeholders. Dr. Christopher Lynch, director of NIDDK’s Office of Nutrition Research, will serve as the executive secretary.

Spokesperson: Christopher Lynch, Ph.D., director of NIDDK’s Office of Nutrition Research and executive secretary of the NIH’s Nutrition Research Task Force.

Contact: To schedule interviews, please contact Leslie Curtis, 301-496-3583, niddkmedia@mail.nih.gov.

The NIDDK, a component of the NIH, conducts and supports research on diabetes and other endocrine and metabolic diseases; digestive diseases, nutrition and obesity; and kidney, urologic and hematologic diseases. Spanning the full spectrum of medicine and afflicting people of all ages and ethnic groups, these diseases encompass some of the most common, severe and disabling conditions affecting Americans. For more information about the NIDDK and its programs, see www.niddk.nih.gov.

About the National Institutes of Health (NIH): NIH, the nation’s medical research agency, includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. NIH is the primary federal agency conducting and supporting basic, clinical, and translational medical research, and is investigating the causes, treatments, and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit www.nih.gov.

Original source: https://www.nih.gov/news-events/news-releases/nih-task-force-formed-develop-first-nutrition-strategic-plan

Back to Top

W.H.O. Urges Tax on Sugary Drinks to Fight Obesity

October 11, 2016, The New York Times

The World Health Organization on Tuesday urged countries to impose a tax on sugary drinks to battle the growing obesity epidemic and presented new data on the beneficial health effects of such a tax.

A tax on sugary beverages raising their price 20 percent would result in a proportionate reduction in their consumption, the agency said. That would advance the fight against obesity, which has more than doubled since 1980. About half a billion adults were obese in 2014, roughly 11 percent of men and 15 percent of women.

“If governments tax products like sugary drinks, they can reduce suffering and save lives,” Dr. Douglas Bettcher, director of the W.H.O.’s Department for the Prevention of Noncommunicable Diseases, said in a statement. “They can also cut health care costs.”

Obesity began rising in rich countries several decades ago, but is now taking hold in middle-income countries like China and Mexico. Public health experts, alarmed by the trend, are studying policies that countries can enact to fight it.

The United States also lagged among high-income countries on maternal and child mortality, reflecting large differences in the accessibility and quality of healthcare.

One way is to tax sugary drinks, like sodas, fruit drinks, energy drinks and iced teas. They have been linked to obesity, diabetes and tooth decay. Supporters of the taxes argue that discouraging consumption of such drinks could help reduce the toll of those ailments.

The W.H.O. has recommended before that countries impose such a tax, most recently in a report this year on preventing childhood obesity. But Tuesday’s report, released at the organization’s headquarters in Geneva, quantifies the effects of such a tax. The agency convened a panel of experts in mid-2015, who produced the numbers after an extensive review of the scientific literature, which included mathematical modeling and studies of actual taxes applied in countries.

The experts also found that subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables that reduce prices 10 percent to 30 percent can increase consumption of them.

Sugary-drink taxes have been controversial in the United States, where the food industry has fought them. A soda tax in New York City championed by Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg was struck down in the courts, but Philadelphia and Berkeley, Calif., have been successful at carrying out such policies.

A spokesman for the W.H.O., Paul Garwood, said South Africa and Britain were considering taxes. Perhaps the best-known success story is in Mexico, which passed a sugary-drink tax in 2013, prompting a substantial drop in consumption. Hungary has imposed a tax on packaged products with high sugars, salt or caffeine levels.

The International Council of Beverages Associations issued a statement that said the council “is disappointed that this technical committee’s report advocates the discriminatory taxation solely of certain beverages as a ‘solution’ to the very real and complex challenge of obesity.”

Dr. Francesco Branca, director of W.H.O.’s Department of Nutrition for Health and Development, said in a statement that sugary drinks are a major source of unnecessary calories, and recommended people drink no more than one serving — about eight ounces — a day.

Sugary drinks have been a problem among children and the poor, and an increase in prices has been particularly effective for those groups, the agency said.

An estimated 42 million children under the age of 5 were overweight or obese last year, an increase of about 11 million over the past 15 years, the agency said. About 48 percent lived in Asia and 25 percent in Africa.

Original source:

Back to Top

FDA Is Redefining The Term 'Healthy' On Food Labels

October 3, 2016, NPR

So, you’re looking for a quick grab-and-go snack, and there’s a row of energy bars at the checkout counter. Are they a healthy option?

The maker of Kind bars thinks so. The company has used the phrase “healthy and tasty” on some of its products that contain lots of nuts. But, here’s the issue: The bars contained too much fat to meet the Food and Drug Administration’s strict low-fat definition of healthy. So, as we reported last May, the company helped launch a petition to challenge the status quo.

Now the FDA has begun the process of redefining the term “healthy” on food labels. Policymakers are looking for input from food makers, health experts and the public. You can weigh in with your ideas about what factors and criteria should be used for the new definition. (Submit electronic comments directly to the FDA).

“As our understanding about nutrition has evolved, we need to make sure the definition for the ‘healthy’ labeling claim stays up to date,” writes Douglas Balentine, who directs the Office of Nutrition and Food Labeling at the FDA’s Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition.

So, how has nutrition science — and the thinking about what’s healthful — evolved?

Let’s start with fat. The fat-free era has come and gone. “The most recent public health recommendations now focus on type of fat, rather than amount of fat,” Balentine writes in a blog post for the FDA.

For instance, the type of fats found in avocados and nuts are considered healthful fats. We’re encouraged to eat more plant-based fats and omega-3s from fatty fish, whereas the U.S. Dietary Guidelines recommend limiting saturated fats — the type of fat found in meat and other animal products — to less than 10 percent of your total daily calorie intake.

The modernized definition of “healthy” will also likely address sugar content. The FDA is taking into account all of the newer evidence linking excessive sugar intake to heart disease and obesity.

“Our thinking about sugars has changed,” Balentine told us, “so I would think the amount of sugar in products is something we [will] take into account.”

In an ideal world, people wouldn’t need labels to signal which food choices are healthful. As nutrition guru Marion Nestle of New York University, tells us, “if people want to eat healthfully, we know how to do that. That’s eating lots of fruits, vegetables and whole grains.” And she says we should eat packaged and processed foods in much smaller amounts.

“I don’t think we should have health claims [on food packages] at all,” Nestle tells us. “They’re inherently misleading,” because food companies use them as a marketing tool.

But the FDA’s Douglas Balentine pushes back, pointing out that Americans are looking for information on food packages to help them make better decisions.

“The typical consumer makes a purchase decision in three to five seconds. They don’t have a lot of time,” Balentine says. So, he says, an up-to-date “healthy” label will give people a quick way to identify better-for-you options. “We want to give consumers the best tools and information about the foods they choose.”

Original source:

Original press release: http://www.fda.gov/Food/GuidanceRegulation/GuidanceDocumentsRegulatoryInformation/LabelingNutrition/ucm520695.htm

Back to Top