Journal of Physical Activity and Health Publishes Special Issue on Youth Energy Expenditure

Since 2012, NCCOR has sponsored a Youth Energy Expenditure (YEE) workgroup to support research efforts to achieve consensus on methods and measures for establishing youth energy expenditure values. This is important for efforts to reduce childhood obesity because standardized measures to quantify the amount of energy children expend during physical activity have been lacking. These measures are vital for comparing the effects of physical activity interventions and for cost and benefit research.

Until recently, researchers studying children and adolescents have relied on the Adult Compendium of Physical Activities to translate the energy cost of various physical activities into standardized values. However, the energy costs of physical activity change as children grow and mature, making adult values inappropriate for youth.

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NCCOR Childhood Obesity Declines – New RWJF Signs of Progress Data

In 2013, NCCOR formed the Childhood Obesity Declines Workgroup, to better understand reported declines in childhood obesity. An expert panel convened to start assessing how U.S. cities and counties are developing and operationalizing obesity reduction interventions, initiatives, and strategies. Four communities were identified to be studied: New York City (NY), Philadelphia (PA), Granville County (NC), Anchorage (AK) in order to examine the reasons behind the change in obesity rates and exploring, more generally, how communities can address childhood obesity. The Site Summary Reports for the NCCOR sites can be accessed on the Childhood Obesity Declines Project Page.

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USDA releases new guide for SNAP-Ed evaluation

Since 2012, NCCOR has worked with USDA to promote evidence-based and actionable tools consistent with the context and policies of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).

SNAP-Education (SNAP-Ed), the nutrition education and obesity prevention arm of the SNAP, aims to increase the likelihood that SNAP-Ed eligible households will make healthy diet and physical activity choices within a limited budget. SNAP-Ed is central to USDA efforts to improve nutrition and prevent or reduce diet-related disease and obesity among SNAP recipients. As a result of the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, changes in policies, systems, and environments (PSEs) were to be layered with direct nutrition education and marketing to enable, promote, and support healthy behaviors among low-income people and their communities.

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IPEN study reports that daily physical activity is related to where we live

Is the amount of physical activity we achieve each day related to where we live? A new research study published in The Lancet provides evidence that the answer is yes. The study from the International Physical Activity and Environment Network (IPEN), which included 6822 adults aged 18–66 from 14 cities in 10 countries found that individuals who live in the most activity friendly neighborhoods achieved as much as 90 more minutes of physical activity each week compared to those individuals living in the least activity friendly neighborhoods.

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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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NCCOR’s 2014 Annual Report highlights new frontiers in childhood obesity

In 2014, NCCOR made strides in exploring new frontiers in childhood obesity. NCCOR’s recently released Annual Report 2014 explores three emerging and important childhood obesity research topics at the center of these efforts: healthy food incentives; lessons learned from global efforts; and childhood obesity declines.

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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

New USDA report explores healthy food incentives for SNAP users

A new U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) report, “Approaches for Promoting Healthy Food Purchases by SNAP Participants,” examines healthy eating incentives for Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) users.

Allison Karpyn, Ph.D., Associate Director of the Center for Research and Education and Social Policy at the University of Delaware co-authored the report and was interviewed on WBEZ’s Afternoon Shift program. Listen to The Food Trust’s Dr. Karpyn below.

The project and report was guided by a research question: How can nutrition labeling systems be used to direct, encourage, or incentivize healthier food choices by SNAP participants in retail food settings?

As such, the research project had three main objectives:

1. To develop a plan for how FOP and shelf-labeling systems could be applied to identify healthy choices across all food categories (packaged, bulk, frozen, fresh) and could be used as a basis for incentivizing healthy choices for SNAP participants.

2. To develop theory-based approaches that leverage front of package (FOP) and shelf-labeling systems to promote healthier food purchases by SNAP participants in a manner that is consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

3. To identify two approaches that warranted further exploration, describing a step-wise study design for implementing and testing the impact of each approach through a future pilot study.

Check out the full USDA report.

Learn more about the NCCOR Healthy Food Incentives project.


New resources from Bridging the Gap and CDC highlight local school wellness policies

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Bridging the Gap program, in collaboration with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), recently released a new set of resources highlighting opportunities to support wellness policies through evidence-based strategies. These briefs provide an assessment of policies across school districts nationwide, related to seven wellness policy components. They also highlight areas of opportunity for state agencies, school districts, and schools to strengthen wellness policy components. See all seven topic area briefs plus a methods document below. Continue reading

The long-term returns of obesity prevention policies

April 2013, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimates the costs of proposed federal legislation over a 10-year timeframe. For policies and programs that have a long-term impact, the 10-year timeframe can account for many of the costs, but miss out on the savings.

This report from the Campaign to End Obesity concludes that widening that window to 75 years, which the CBO has done in other instances, could better account for all of the costs and savings attributable to various obesity prevention efforts. Because such programs would prevent obesity and related chronic conditions in the long run, they can help save money by reducing health care costs and increasing wages. The report identifies billions of dollars in potential savings that are attributable to four specific obesity prevention strategies, finding the highest potential for savings among women. The savings highlighted below are specific to women: Continue reading