January 2020


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NCCOR Releases New White Paper: “Advancing Measurement of Individual Behaviors Related to Childhood Obesity: Implications and Recommendations for the Field”

NCCOR, January 28, 2020

This month, NCCOR released a new white paper following a workshop convened on May 20-21, 2019, called “Advancing Measurement of Individual Behaviors Related to Childhood Obesity.” This workshop was the first in a series of three workshops funded by The JPB Foundation and focused on measurement needs to capture individual behaviors related to childhood obesity. The other two workshops in the series are planned to focus on measurement needs for high-risk populations and measurement needs to capture policy and environmental influences.

This workshop aimed to gather together leading experts to (1) explore next steps for measurement science relevant to emerging areas for diet and physical activity in children, particularly from birth to twelve years of age, and (2) examine measurement science issues in two other topics of new relevance to childhood obesity—sedentary behavior and sleep.

Using findings from this first workshop, NCCOR released “Advancing Measurement of Individual Behaviors Related to Childhood Obesity: Implications and Recommendations for the Field,” which includes recommendations for actionable steps to address short-term (1-3 years) and medium-term (3-5 years) measurement needs in these areas. Recommendations include developing measurement methods for children younger than age 6 years, defining terms and core indicators or domains that can be measured, and examining the important of family, social, and environmental contexts and how they evolve with age. The white paper can be accessed on the NCCOR website at

White papers for the other two workshops also will be posted on the NCCOR website. In addition, NCCOR plans to publish a synthesis of findings and recommendations from the three workshops in the scientific literature. NCCOR hopes these efforts will ultimately help reduce childhood obesity.

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NCCOR’s New Youth Compendium Fact Sheet for Classroom Teachers

NCCOR, January 27, 2020

This month, the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) released a new fact sheet that shows classroom teachers how to incorporate the Youth Compendium of Physical Activities into their curricula.

The Youth Compendium provides a list of 196 common activities in which youth participate and the estimated energy cost associated with each activity. This tool is intended for widespread use by researchers, state and local health departments, educators, and fitness professionals.

The new fact sheet helps elementary through high school teachers select moderate to vigorous physical activities to keep students active throughout the day. Examples of activities include jumping jacks, hopping, skipping, and ball games such as bouncing and dribbling. It can be used in conjunction with NCCOR’s Youth Compendium Fact Sheet for Physical Education Teachers, which assists educators in creating lesson plans for physical education classes. To see the new factsheet, go to

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Publications & Tools

NCCOR’s Toolbox

While you’re checking out the new Youth Compendium Fact Sheet for Classroom Teachers, be sure to look at NCCOR’s Youth Compendium Fact Sheet for Physical Education Teachers, which assists educators in creating lesson plans for physical education classes.

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Leading Health Indicators 2030: Advancing Health, Equity, and Well-Being

Experts from the health measurement and population health fields gathered on May 28, 2019, in Washington, DC, at a workshop organized by the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine for the Committee on Informing the Selection of Leading Health Indicators for Healthy People 2030. The workshop presentations and discussion aimed to help inform the committee’s task, which is to (1) advise on the criteria for selecting Healthy People 2030’s Leading Health Indicators (LHIs), and (2) to propose a slate of LHIs for the Healthy People Federal Interagency Workgroup (FIW) to consider in finalizing the Healthy People 2030 (HP2030) plan. This proceedings in brief provides a concise overview of that day.

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Adult Physical Inactivity Prevalence Maps by Race/Ethnicity

According to new state maps of adult physical inactivity, all states and territories had more than 15 percent of adults who were physically inactive and this estimate ranged from 17.3 to 47.7 percent. Inactivity levels vary among adults by race/ethnicity and location.

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Childhood Obesity Research & News

The Food Nutrition Label Gets a Makeover

U.S. News, January 20, 2020

For three decades, the Nutrition Fact Panel on the food label has provided a nutritional snapshot of the food inside a package. By law, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration dictates that the label must list not only the calories, but also other important nutrient information, such as the amount of heart-unhealthy saturated fat, cholesterol and sodium per serving.

With more than half of all adults currently having one or more preventable diseases such as heart disease, diabetes and obesity – all related to unhealthy diets and physical inactivity – the FDA decided that the label needed a makeover. The agency correctly realized that consumers could use some additional information to help them make better food decisions to improve their health and better manage their waistline.

Here are some of the important changes you’re now going to see on the label:

  • Realistic serving sizes.
  • Calories now stand out.
  • Added sugars are highlighted.
  • Recommended daily values updated.
  • Adjusted information in case you consume the entire package.

The serving sizes on many foods and beverages will now reflect what folks are actually consuming, not the portion size they should be eating. Gone are the days when a pint of ice cream was listed as containing four one-half-cup servings. (Seriously, have you ever doled out four servings from a pint of Ben & Jerry’s Cherry Garcia?)

The new serving size for ice cream is now two-thirds of a cup, which more accurately represents the three servings Americans, on average, are really scooping from that pint. Of course, with this increase in portion size, the calories per serving are also going to increase.

The serving size of soda is changing from 8 ounces to 12 ounces, and if you buy a 20-ounce bottle, the label will now provide the nutrition information for guzzling the entire bottle.

Calories Are a Stand Out

The calories per serving on the label is in a font size so large that I will no longer have to put on my reading glasses when shopping. With more than 70% of Americans overweight, this change screams out that calories count when it comes to better managing our waistlines.

Added Sugars Shout Out

Americans have a sweet tooth. We consume, on average, about 16 teaspoons of added sugars daily. Because research supports that an excessive amount of added sugars in the diet increases the risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes and obesity, the amount of added sugars will be disclosed to help rein in your intake.

You may be shocked to learn that a 20-ounce bottle of a sugar-sweetened soda has more than 60 grams of added sugars – the equivalent of 15 teaspoons of sugar. This label change will help consumers decide to either downsize their portions or switch to another beverage and/or food to decrease the added sugars in their diet.

Daily Values Update

The recommended daily values for nutrients such as sodium, fiber and vitamins have been updated based on the latest research, and vitamin D, potassium, calcium and iron will be listed to reflect the nutrients that many Americans are falling short of in their diet.

Two for the Price of One

Some products, such as beverages and ice cream that come in a container that is larger than one serving but could potentially be consumed all in one sitting, will now provide a dual panel. This panel will provide you with the calories and nutrients per serving, as well as the amount you would be consuming should you finish the entire container in one sitting. So for example, while a serving of ice cream may be 270 calories, the label will also visually inform you that you’ll be inhaling 810 calories if you’re enjoying the entire pint container alone.

With this new label, you may be hearing loud gasps of shock from label-reading shoppers in the aisles of the supermarket. But it’s just one more way of shopping smarter and healthier.

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Whole Milk May Be Better When It Comes to Children’s Weight

New York Times, January 7, 2020

Whole milk may be healthier for children’s weight than low-fat milk, a review of studies suggests.

The American Academy of Pediatrics currently recommends switching to skim or low-fat (1 percent) milk at age 2.

Canadian researchers analyzed 14 prospective studies including 20,897 children up to 18 years old. The studies compared children who drank whole milk (3.25 percent fat) with those given milk containing less than 2 percent fat.

Combining the data from these studies, the scientists calculated that compared with children who drank low-fat milk or skim milk, those who drank whole milk were at a 39 percent reduced risk for overweight or obesity, and the risk for obesity declined steadily as whole milk consumption increased. The analysis is in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition.

The authors speculate that are several possible mechanisms. It may be that children who drink whole milk consume fewer calories from other food. Some studies suggest that milk fat has properties that make people feel full. Reverse causality could also be at play: It’s possible that skinny children have parents who offer them whole milk to fatten them up.

Still, the senior author, Dr. Jonathon L. Maguire, a pediatrician at the University of Toronto, noted that none of these observational studies could prove cause and effect. “We really need more clinical trials to figure out whether we’re doing the right thing,” he said.

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