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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NCCOR Connect & Explore: Evaluating Health Care-Community Collaborations: Community-Based Programs

The health care sector is working toward engaging communities to directly address population health, including childhood obesity prevention. The Affordable Care Act of 2010 stipulates that non-profit hospitals and health systems must engage in activities to improve the health of the communities they serve. Exploring the integration of clinic-community programs is vital for moving childhood obesity prevention efforts forward.

This month, NCCOR is hosting a Connect & Explore webinar on “Evaluating Health Care-Community Collaborations: Community-Based Programs.” The webinar will feature two case studies highlighting strategies used by clinics to engage communities in addressing childhood obesity. Presenters will discuss efforts to assess the reach, effectiveness, adoption, impact, and maintenance of programs at the community level.

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USDA releases updated SNAP-Ed Toolkit

The third edition of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) Toolkit includes more than 80 interventions and 20 resources categorized by target behavior, intervention or resource type, and setting.

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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

USDA awards funding for regional centers of excellence in nutrition education and obesity prevention

Oct. 17, 2014, U.S. Department of Agriculture

On Oct. 17 the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) awarded $4 million in grants to establish four regional centers of excellence for research on nutrition education and obesity prevention, as well as a coordinating center, which will develop and test innovative nutrition education and obesity prevention interventions for underserved, low-income families.

“Nearly one in three children today is overweight or obese, and nutrition promotion strategies, including education, public policies, health systems, and environmental changes, are the key to reversing this trend,” said Sonny Ramaswamy, Ph.D., National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA) director. “These grants provide the opportunity to improve the health of our next generation and ensure that all children have access to the tools they need to improve their nutrition and physical fitness.” Continue reading

SNAP-Ed toolkit adds 30 new resources

In 2013, the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) helped the U.S. Department of Agriculture compile the first edition the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program-Education (SNAP-Ed) toolkit. The toolkit includes comprehensive, evidence-based, obesity prevention resources and interventions, as well as nutrition and physical activity strategies that can be readily adopted by SNAP-Ed agencies and states.

In May 2014, NCCOR and USDA released an updated version of the toolkit which includes 30 additional resources and interventions, and highlights those interventions with helpful designations: “research-tested,” “practice-tested,” or “emerging.” Continue reading

SEC Symposium focuses on obesity prevention

According to recently released data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, there has been a decline in childhood obesity rates across some communities in the United States. However, much work remains to reduce the estimated two-thirds of adults and 33 percent of kids and teens who are overweight or obese. The 2014 Southeastern Conference (SEC) Symposium hopes to be part of the solution to this public health challenge by identifying ways to reduce obesity in America through prevention. Continue reading

NIH presentation about community-academic partnerships to address obesity among middle school students

On Thursday, March 20, Dr. Laura Bogart will be discussing the development and results of Students for Nutrition and eXercise (SNaX), a five-week middle school-based obesity prevention intervention that combines school-wide food environmental changes, multimedia, encouragement to eat healthy school cafeteria foods, and peer-led education.

She will describe the formation and maintenance of the partnership with the participating school district, the Los Angeles Unified School District, as well as relevant community stakeholders; review the results of the randomized controlled trial; and discuss the policy impact of the research and program dissemination activities. Dr. Bogart is associate professor of pediatrics, Harvard Medical School, and research director of the Division of General Pediatrics at Boston Children’s Hospital. Continue reading

Focus on developmental approach to obesity in children and adolescents

Oct. 22, 2013, Medical Xpress

New studies of factors affecting the risk of obesity in children and adolescents—as well as promising approaches to prevention and treatment—are assembled in the special October Journal of Developmental & Behavioral Pediatrics (JDBP), the official journal of the Society for Developmental and Behavioral Pediatrics (SDBP).

The special issue emphasizes a developmental viewpoint on the crucial problem of childhood obesity, including studies with a cultural focus contributed by professionals across a wide range of disciplines. Highlighting the SDBP’s mission and values, the papers present “a developmental framework for understanding pediatric obesity and informing interventions that work,” according to Guest Editors Carolyn E. Ievers-Landis, Ph.D., and Elissa Jelalian, Ph.D. 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