New report provides important data on health-related practices in secondary schools

Bridging the Gap has released a comprehensive report examining U.S. secondary school policies and practices related to nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention.

The report, entitled School Policies and Practices to Improve Health and Prevent Obesity: National Secondary School Results, Volume 6, focuses on students in grades 8, 10, and 12 and includes data from nationally representative samples of public middle and high schools. It provides new information from the 2013-14 school year on school meals, competitive foods and beverages, drinking water in schools, physical activity (including physical education, sports participation, and walking and biking to school), progress made in fulfilling the federal wellness policy mandate, and much more. It also includes annual trends from the 2006-07 school year forward.

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Access to places for safe physical activity on the rise

July 16, 2014, Sacramento Bee

By Ana B. Ibarra

Physical activity among adults and teens is on the rise, according to a report released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The State Indicator Report on Physical Activity 2014 revealed that 54.5 percent of youths in the country have access to parks or playground areas, recreation centers, community centers, boys’ and girls’ clubs and walking paths or sidewalks. Although this means that more than half of U.S families live in neighborhoods that support physical activity, the CDC states there is still more that can be done to increase the percentage.

The report showed that only 19.1 percent of adults in California engage in none leisure-time physical activity; lower than the national average of 25.4. The report also showed that 3.8 percent of adults in the state usually bike or walk to work; the national average was recorded at 3.4 percent. The percent of the state population that live within half a mile of a park is 58.3. Continue reading

Obesity’s death toll may be much higher than thought

Aug. 15, 2013, HealthDay

By Dennis Thompson

Researchers have vastly underestimated the number of deaths caused by obesity in the United States, a new report reveals.

Obesity accounts for 18 percent of deaths among black and white Americans between the ages of 40 and 85, according to a study published online Aug. 15 in the American Journal of Public Health. Previous estimates had placed obesity-related deaths at only 5 percent of all U.S. mortalities.

“This was more than a tripling of the previous estimate,” said study author Ryan Masters, who conducted the research as a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation scholar at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health, in New York City. “Obesity has dramatically worse health consequences than some recent reports have led us to believe.” Continue reading