USDA announces grants for childhood obesity prevention programs

U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Secretary Tom Vilsack announced on March 26 the USDA awarded $9 million in grants to develop childhood obesity intervention programs through colleges and universities in 12 states and Puerto Rico. The grants are funded through the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI), the flagship competitive grant program authorized under the 2014 Farm Bill.

“One-third of the children in the United States are overweight or obese, making this issue one of the greatest health challenges facing our nation,” said Vilsack. “It is critical that we make the effort to help our children be healthy kids and develop into healthy adults,” said Vilsack. Continue reading

Prevention of Obesity in Infancy, Early Childhood: Workshop summary and funding announcement

Once obesity develops it is likely to persist. Given this understanding, there has been an increasing focus on preventing obesity in infancy and early childhood. Research to develop and implement effective prevention and intervention strategies in the first two years after birth has been limited.

In fall 2013, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases convened a multidisciplinary workshop to summarize the current state of knowledge regarding the prevention of infant and early childhood obesity and to identify research gaps and opportunities. A workshop summary was recently published in the March 2015 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association Pediatrics. A related funding opportunity announcement was also released.

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Connect & Explore: First Findings from USDA’s FoodAPS

NCCOR webinar reveals insights from Department of Ag’s FoodAPS data, as well as new research opportunities made possible by the first-of-its-kind survey

The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Household Food Acquisition and Purchase Survey (FoodAPS) is the first-ever nationally representative and comprehensive survey of American households’ food purchases and acquisitions. This robust and first-of-its-kind dataset enables scientists to conduct research studies that support the design and implementation of policies and regulations affecting America’s food and nutrition assistance programs.

The survey includes nationally representative data from nearly 5,000 households, including Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) households, low-income households not participating in SNAP, and higher-income households. Continue reading

An in-depth look at the latest Lancet Series on Obesity

NCCOR’s Connect & Explore Webinar on Feb. 23 provided the first public forum to connect with authors from the recently released Lancet Series on Obesity.

The series discusses reasons for scarce progress; reviews regulatory, non-regulatory, and quasi-regulatory actions; identifies high-priority actions; challenges entrenched dichotomies; and proposes a reframing of obesity. Each paper in the six-part series challenges the current, rather simplistic “either or” obesity solutions; generates new perspectives; and highlights examples to spur policy makers to take action. Continue reading

Society of Behavioral Medicine announces NIH mHealth Training Institute, presidential roundtable, and exhibit featuring NCCOR

From training on mobile health (mHealth) technology to a presidential roundtable on National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) activities, resources, and funding opportunities, the upcoming Society of Behavioral Medicine’s (SBM) 36th Annual Meeting & Scientific Sessions in San Antonio will offer numerous opportunities to connect with NCCOR.

SBM kicks off with a preconference training on the use of mHealth technologies to prevent childhood obesity. Mentored by expert faculty, the “NIH mHealth Training Institute” will include presentations followed by hands-on experience developing an mHealth research project. Continue reading

Rethinking Obesity Prevention—The Second Lancet Series on Obesity

NCCOR’s Connect & Explore Webinar unpacks The Lancet special issue, discussing how public support for policy actions and new thinking can move the needle on obesity

Despite reported areas of decline, no country has reversed its obesity epidemic. Researchers increasingly believe that governments and stakeholders should act urgently to decrease the prevalence of obesity, including childhood obesity. Papers in the new Lancet series review the growing consensus on core policy actions, reasons for patchy progress, and opportunities to aid obesity prevention.

The Lancet Series examines the competing perspectives on the causes and solutions for obesity and why rethinking our approaches is critical to reversing the epidemic. From regulatory action to empowering the public, the authors highlight opportunities to break the cycle of demand for foods of poor nutritional quality and move the focus toward changing food environments. Continue reading

NCCOR hosts March 2 seminar to explore ‘Bridging the Food Industry-Public Health Divide’

Join the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation (HWCF), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and Hudson Institute for the first seminar in a quarterly series: “Articulating the Food Industry Context: Potential Frameworks for Profiting Health.” The first event, “Bridging the Food Industry-Public Health Divide: A Guide to More Effective Engagement and Policies,” will be led by Hank Cardello, Director of Hudson’s Obesity Solutions Initiative, and will be hosted by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR). Cardello will be joined by panelists Wendy Johnson-Askew, Vice President, Corporate Affairs, Nestle and Richard Black, Vice President, Global Nutrition, PepsiCo.

The seminar will be held March 2, 1:30-3:30 p.m. at FHI 360, 1825 Connecticut Ave. NW, 8th Floor, Vista Room, Washington, DC. Continue reading

NCCOR publishes white paper to complement Healthy Eating Index photo series

By visualizing the quality of the American diet and exploring findings from the Healthy-Eating Index-2010 (HEI-2010), researchers and the public can both benefit, according to a new white paper.

“Visualizing Diet Quality at Multiple Levels of the Food Stream” uses HEI-2010 – a scoring metric developed by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and National Cancer Institute (NCI) – to assess diet quality in relation to the Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA). It is the latest installment in a series of communication products developed by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research in conjunction with NCI.

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Kids eat more healthful foods during longer, quieter school lunch

Nov. 27, 2014, The Washington Post

It’s hard to get kids to eat healthful foods, especially at school. But a new study suggests that, by changing the lunch environment, schools can encourage kids to make better choices without even changing their menus.

This study, conducted by the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health in Baltimore, found that students buying school lunches select a fruit or vegetable only about half the time, and even then most don’t eat even a single bite. Continue reading