Special collection of Preventing Chronic Disease spotlights policies to improve the U.S. population’s diet

How is nutrition policy being implemented across the United States? How can policies work together over time to improve the diet and health of Americans? From New York City to Cleveland-Cuyahoga County, a recent special collection published in Preventing Chronic Disease examines nutrition policies across the United States from a variety of policy levels, types, and settings. Studies in the series, many of which were authored by National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) members and contributors, use diverse methodologies to explore policy development, adoption, implementation, and transferability while tackling best practices in policy translation, communication, and dissemination. Continue reading

Influence of school architecture and design on healthy eating: Key findings from systematic review

With up to 50 percent of students’ daily energy intake occurring in the school building, schools are often the focus of targeted efforts to combat childhood obesity. Recent evidence has shown that although school-based nutrition education programs may contribute to healthier eating habits, these programs are not consistently effective on their own.

In response, an exciting area of research is emerging with a focus on the physical design of school building features, such as cafeterias, teaching gardens, or access to drinking water, and the impact it can have on healthy eating behaviors and attitudes. As this body of research expands, however, little work has been done to quantify, categorize, and analyze it.

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Elevating the impact of nutrition and obesity policy research and evaluation

Public policy can play a major role in impacting childhood obesity, yet little is known about the role of nutrition and obesity policy research in informing public policy decisions.

A supplement published in the April issue of Preventing Chronic Disease includes an essay and three articles examining the role of nutrition and obesity policy research and evaluation. The supplement was organized by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN).

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Just announced: Dietary Guidelines for Americans Summit on May 21

Register now to join The Ohio State University Food Innovation Center, The Ohio State University John Glenn College of Public Affairs, and National Geographic as they host the Dietary Guidelines for Americans Summit on May 21, from 8:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m., Eastern, at National Geographic’s Grosvenor Auditorium in Washington, DC. The Summit is free of charge and will convene nationally recognized experts to consider the role of the Dietary Guidelines in delivering relevant, practical, and actionable nutrition guidance for diverse consumers across the nation. The program features:

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NCI releases new Dietary Assessment Primer

The National Cancer Institute (NCI) part of the National Institutes of Health, a funder of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), is pleased to announce the availability of a web-based Dietary Assessment Primer. Various types of self-report instruments have been developed to assess dietary intake. Each has distinct features and strengths. The Dietary Assessment Primer: Continue reading

IOM to host webinar about increasing physical activity and physical education in schools

Almost one year ago, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) released the report Educating the Student Body: Taking Physical Activity and Physical Education to School, which offered recommendations, strategies, and action steps that have potential to increase children’s opportunities to engage in physical activity at school, including before, during, and after school. However, many barriers exist to achieving the recommended amount of physical activity in the school environment.

In recognition of the one year anniversary of the release of the report, IOM will host a webinar on May 13 (3-4 p.m.) titled, “Making it Happen: Overcoming Barriers to Increasing Physical Activity and Physical Education in Schools.” The webinar will review the recommendations of the report and ways that schools across the country are working to implement physical activity programs. The webinar will consider barriers to implementation faced by schools and highlight ways in which district and school-level administrators are working to overcome these obstacles. Continue reading

Cornell nutrition report cards show students eat healthier when their parents are watching

Jan. 21, 2014, Poughkeepsie Journal

Researchers at Cornell University have found a low-cost way to convince students to pass up cookies and desserts at lunchtime and select fruits and veggies instead: Letting them know that their parents are watching.

A pilot study for nutrition report cards was conducted two years ago in Waverly Central School District. Parents who signed up to participate were emailed the weekly report cards that listed the foods their children were selecting à la carte during lunch. The students’ choices were tracked electronically through modified cash registers.

Despite being called report cards, the students were not awarded actual grades. But simply knowing their parents were monitoring their habits was enough to get students to pick fewer sweets and flavored milk and opt for vegetables and fruits more frequently. Cookie consumption alone dropped from 14.3 percent to 6.5 percent. Continue reading

Fast food: A symptom, not the cause of childhood obesity

Jan. 21, 2014, WUNC North Carolina Public Radio

It’s easy to point the finger at fast food joints. A decade after the breakout documentary, “Super Size Me,” the cheap, un-nutritious, happy meal is a go-to candidate for public ire when it comes to childhood obesity.

But a new study by researchers at the University of North Carolina says that explanation might be too easy.

After studying nearly 5,000 children, the researchers say that fast food consumption may be indicative of dietary problems, but the greater concern lies in a child’s broader diet throughout the day. Continue reading

Minority kids may need longer support to keep weight off

Aug. 7, 2013, MedPage Today

By Cole Petrochko

A lifestyle modification program for obese minority and inner city teens effectively helped them manage body mass index and nutrition, but the benefits wore off after the program’s conclusion, researchers found.

During nine months of the behavior- and nutrition-modifying intervention, participants saw significant reductions in rates of BMI increase (0.13 versus 0.04,P<0.01), BMI percentile (0.0002 versus -0.0001, P<0.01), the percentage of overweight participants (0.001 versus -0.001, P<0.01), and in BMI z-score (0.003 versus -0.003, P<0.01), according to Jessica Rieder, M.D., of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore in New York City, and colleagues. Continue reading

New report rates food and beverage companies on their nutrition-related policies and practices

A new report released today from the Access to Nutrition Index (ATNI) rates food and beverage manufacturers on their nutrition-related policies, practices, and performance.

The report, Access to Nutrition Index Global Index 2013, seeks to stimulate greater action by the private sector to improve nutrition at a global level. The ATNI Global index rates 25 of the world’s largest food and beverage manufacturers on their nutrition-related commitments, performance and disclosure, with the aim of encouraging them to increase access to nutritious and affordable food and beverage products, as well as to responsibly exercise their influence on consumer choice and behavior.

The ATNI Methodology assesses companies against international guidelines, norms, and accepted good practices, except when such guidance was not found. In such instances, the assessment is based on guidance from a panel of experts on nutrition and the food and beverage industry in addition to recommendations drawn from stakeholder consultations. Continue reading