Public Health
Public Health is the science of protecting and improving the health of communities through education, promotion of healthy lifestyles, and research for disease and injury prevention. (What is Public Health? Association of Schools of Public Health )

Five Minutes Or Less For Health


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The Exercise Cost of Soda and Juice
When people think about sugar calories in terms of physical activity, they choose well.

By James Hamblin 

What if nutrition labels told people exactly what calories meant, in practical terms? A bottle of Coke could dole out specific exercise requirements. The calories herein, it might say, are the equivalent of a 50-minute jog. The decision to drink the Coke then becomes, would you rather spend the evening on a treadmill, or just not drink the soda?
Some would say that’s a joyless, infantilizing idea. The implication that people can’t understand calorie counts is unduly cynical. Have a Coke and a smile, not a Coke and a guilt-wail. Others would protest on grounds that it’s impossible to make this kind of exercise requirement universal to people of all ages, body sizes, and levels of fitness. Everyone burns calories at different rates. But Sara Bleich, an associate professor at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, is not among these people. She describes these labels as her dream.

For the past four years, translating nutrition information into exercise equivalents has been the focus of Bleich’s increasingly popular research endeavor. Her latest findings on the effectiveness of the concept are published today in the American Journal of Public Health. In the study, researchers posted signs next to the soda and juice in Baltimore corner stores that read: “Did you know that working off a bottle of soda or fruit juice takes about 50 minutes of running?” or “Did you know that working off a bottle of soda or fruit juice takes about five miles of walking?” (And, long as those distances and times may seem, they may even underestimate the magnitude of the metabolic insult of liquid sugar.)
The signs were a proxy for an actual food label, but they made the point. They effectively led to fewer juice and soda purchases, and to purchases of smaller sizes (12-ounce cans instead of 20-ounce bottles). Bleich also saw learned behavior; even after the signs came down, the local patrons continued to buy less soda and juice.
"The problem with calories is that they’re not very meaningful to people," Bleich told me. "The average American doesn’t know much about calories, and they’re not good at numeracy."
(More from The Atlantic)

The Exercise Cost of Soda and Juice

When people think about sugar calories in terms of physical activity, they choose well.
How School Lunch Became the Latest Political Battleground
By Nicholas Confessore
The lunch ladies loved Marshall Matz. For more than 30 years, he worked the halls and back rooms of Washington for the 55,000 dues-paying members of the School Nutrition Association, the men and still mostly women who run America’s school-lunch programs. They weren’t his firm’s biggest clients — that would have been companies like General Mills or Kraft — but Matz, wry and impish even in his late 60s, lavished the lunch ladies with the kind of respect they didn’t always get in school cafeterias. Many of the association’s members considered him a dear colleague. “He would tell everybody: ‘You are a much better lobbyist than I am. You are how we get things done,’ ” said Dorothy Caldwell, who served a term as the association’s president in the early 1990s. “And people liked that.”
Matz often told the lunch ladies they were front-line warriors in the battle for better eating, and they liked that too. Every school day, they dished out more than 30 million lunches, all of which were subsidized by taxpayers. They also served about 13 million subsidized breakfasts. Many students got more than half their daily calories at school. Few workers, inside the government or out, did more to shape the health of children.
(More from The New York Times)

How School Lunch Became the Latest Political Battleground

By Nicholas Confessore

The lunch ladies loved Marshall Matz. For more than 30 years, he worked the halls and back rooms of Washington for the 55,000 dues-paying members of the School Nutrition Association, the men and still mostly women who run America’s school-lunch programs. They weren’t his firm’s biggest clients — that would have been companies like General Mills or Kraft — but Matz, wry and impish even in his late 60s, lavished the lunch ladies with the kind of respect they didn’t always get in school cafeterias. Many of the association’s members considered him a dear colleague. “He would tell everybody: ‘You are a much better lobbyist than I am. You are how we get things done,’ ” said Dorothy Caldwell, who served a term as the association’s president in the early 1990s. “And people liked that.”

Matz often told the lunch ladies they were front-line warriors in the battle for better eating, and they liked that too. Every school day, they dished out more than 30 million lunches, all of which were subsidized by taxpayers. They also served about 13 million subsidized breakfasts. Many students got more than half their daily calories at school. Few workers, inside the government or out, did more to shape the health of children.

(More from The New York Times)

Healthier School Day
Tools for Schools: Focusing on Smart Snacks
Starting in school year 2014-15, all foods sold at school during the school day will need to meet nutrition standards. The Smart Snacks in School regulation applies to foods sold a la carte, in the school store, and vending machines. Prior to the publishing of the Smart Snacks rule, 39 States already had nutrition standards in place.
A number of tools and resources are available to help schools identify food items that meet Smart Snacks criteria. See the resources below for information about the Smart Snacks requirement, helpful tools, and ways to encourage children to make healthier snack choices that give them the nutrition they need to grow and learn.
(More from Food and Nutrition Services, FDA)

Healthier School Day

Tools for Schools: Focusing on Smart Snacks

Starting in school year 2014-15, all foods sold at school during the school day will need to meet nutrition standards. The Smart Snacks in School regulation applies to foods sold a la carte, in the school store, and vending machines. Prior to the publishing of the Smart Snacks rule, 39 States already had nutrition standards in place.

A number of tools and resources are available to help schools identify food items that meet Smart Snacks criteria. See the resources below for information about the Smart Snacks requirement, helpful tools, and ways to encourage children to make healthier snack choices that give them the nutrition they need to grow and learn.

(More from Food and Nutrition Services, FDA)

ottawahealth:

image

Residents in Vars and Hunt Club East will experience a new kind of “drive thru” this weekend as the MarketMobile aims to improve access to healthy foods in the City’s east-end. The MarketMobile is an innovative new project using a chartered bus to bring fresh and affordable vegetables and…

datarank:

Proposed FDA Rule Changes Build on Consumer Discussion & May Portend Packaged Foods Market Changes
In an ongoing effort to combat obesity and promote public health the Obama administration is promoting proposed Food and Drug Administration changes to food labeling, the first significant changes since 1993.  The agency proposed the update on February 27th as the and among the proposed changes are:
Updated serving sizes to more accurately reflect actual consumption
Larger, bolded calorie count font
New daily values which are displayed first
A new category called “added sugar”
 To see how well these changes resonated with consumer concerns DataRank analyzed consumer conversations around nutrition labels on a sample of consumer-packaged goods to see which ingredients got the most attention.
Given the large concern around calories, serving size, and sugar, the proposed changes play into consumer’s go-to indicators of health.  One area of change which has generated little discussion is “recommended daily values”, or the average amount of any vitamin, chemical, or quantity a person should consume in a day, indicates consumers rely less on these pre-tabulated measures than the raw values provided on the label. The FDA’s proposed updates and more prominent position will likely serve to bring more consumer focus to the daily values while enhancing discussion on already important indicators. Overall, the food label update is hitting consumers’ concerns. Other concerns, such as genetically modified organism labeling, are still relatively far from the FDA’s rulemaking docket regardless of activist pressure.
The nutrition label update could herald changes in both consumer and producer behavior.  Consumers, already sensitive to caloric intake and the role of sugars in their diets, may shy away from products with added sugar or become even stricter calorie-counters as the information becomes more prominent. Companies could also feel the changes as consumer preferences adjust to new information and attention is drawn to parts of the label that previously received little more than a cursory glance. Advocates of the changes argue the more prominently displayed dietary information may have just this effect, driving changes in the packaged foods marketplace. Firms may indeed feel the pressure with some companies considering changes to serving side or accelerating formula changes while well-positioned products may use their formulas as hero claims to gather disaffected consumers.
To read more about the proposed food label changes and the reasoning behind them take a look at this article at Tufts Now in the link below.

http://now.tufts.edu/articles/no-more-half-cup-servings-ice-cream
*Chart shows ranked discussion of traits by volume
^FDA insignia represent categories with proposed rule changes

datarank:

Proposed FDA Rule Changes Build on Consumer Discussion & May Portend Packaged Foods Market Changes

In an ongoing effort to combat obesity and promote public health the Obama administration is promoting proposed Food and Drug Administration changes to food labeling, the first significant changes since 1993.  The agency proposed the update on February 27th as the and among the proposed changes are:

Updated serving sizes to more accurately reflect actual consumption

Larger, bolded calorie count font

New daily values which are displayed first

A new category called “added sugar”

 To see how well these changes resonated with consumer concerns DataRank analyzed consumer conversations around nutrition labels on a sample of consumer-packaged goods to see which ingredients got the most attention.

Given the large concern around calories, serving size, and sugar, the proposed changes play into consumer’s go-to indicators of health.  One area of change which has generated little discussion is “recommended daily values”, or the average amount of any vitamin, chemical, or quantity a person should consume in a day, indicates consumers rely less on these pre-tabulated measures than the raw values provided on the label. The FDA’s proposed updates and more prominent position will likely serve to bring more consumer focus to the daily values while enhancing discussion on already important indicators. Overall, the food label update is hitting consumers’ concerns. Other concerns, such as genetically modified organism labeling, are still relatively far from the FDA’s rulemaking docket regardless of activist pressure.

The nutrition label update could herald changes in both consumer and producer behavior.  Consumers, already sensitive to caloric intake and the role of sugars in their diets, may shy away from products with added sugar or become even stricter calorie-counters as the information becomes more prominent. Companies could also feel the changes as consumer preferences adjust to new information and attention is drawn to parts of the label that previously received little more than a cursory glance. Advocates of the changes argue the more prominently displayed dietary information may have just this effect, driving changes in the packaged foods marketplace. Firms may indeed feel the pressure with some companies considering changes to serving side or accelerating formula changes while well-positioned products may use their formulas as hero claims to gather disaffected consumers.

To read more about the proposed food label changes and the reasoning behind them take a look at this article at Tufts Now in the link below.

http://now.tufts.edu/articles/no-more-half-cup-servings-ice-cream

*Chart shows ranked discussion of traits by volume

^FDA insignia represent categories with proposed rule changes

aljazeeraamerica:

FDA proposes new food nutrition labels

Packaged foods sold in the United States would display calorie counts more prominently and include the amount of added sugar under a proposal to significantly update nutritional labels for the first time in 20 years, as health officials seek to reduce obesity and combat related diseases such as diabetes.
The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Thursday its proposal would also ensure that the amount of calories listed per serving reflects the portions that people typically eat. That change may result in per-serving calorie counts doubling for some foods such as ice cream.

Read more
(Photo: FDA/AP Photo)

aljazeeraamerica:

FDA proposes new food nutrition labels

Packaged foods sold in the United States would display calorie counts more prominently and include the amount of added sugar under a proposal to significantly update nutritional labels for the first time in 20 years, as health officials seek to reduce obesity and combat related diseases such as diabetes.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) said Thursday its proposal would also ensure that the amount of calories listed per serving reflects the portions that people typically eat. That change may result in per-serving calorie counts doubling for some foods such as ice cream.

Read more

(Photo: FDA/AP Photo)

Eating Better on a Budget: 10 Tips to Help you Stretch your Food Dollars(From the US Department of Agriculture)
Jazz up your elementary school menus and encourage healthy choices with these graphics from Team Nutrition.

A brave kid filmmaker goes undercover to reveal the truth about the food service program at his elementary school.


Zachary is a fourth grader at a large New York City public elementary school.   Each day he reads the Department of Education lunch menu online to see what is being served.  The menu describes delicious and nutritious cuisine that reads as if it came from the finest restaurants.  However, when Zachary gets to school, he finds a very different reality.  Armed with a concealed video camera and a healthy dose of rebellious courage, Zachary embarks on a six month covert mission to collect video footage of his lunch and expose the truth about the City’s school food service program.

This short documentary provides a fun and spirited insider’s perspective on the elementary school lunch room.

(From http://www.yuckmovie.com/index.html)

New healthy snack rules aim to rid nation’s schools of junk foods, could be in place next year
WASHINGTON — High-calorie sports drinks and candy bars will be removed from school vending machines and cafeteria lines as soon as next year, replaced with diet drinks, granola bars and other healthier items.
The Agriculture Department said Thursday that for the first time it will make sure that all foods sold in the nation’s 100,000 schools are healthier by expanding fat, calorie, sugar and sodium limits to almost everything sold during the school day.
That includes snacks sold around the school and foods on the “a la carte” line in cafeterias, which never have been regulated before. The new rules, proposed in February and made final this week, also would allow states to regulate student bake sales.
The rules, required under a child nutrition law passed by Congress in 2010, are part of the government’s effort to combat childhood obesity. The rules have the potential to transform what many children eat at school
(From The Washington Post)

New healthy snack rules aim to rid nation’s schools of junk foods, could be in place next year


WASHINGTON — High-calorie sports drinks and candy bars will be removed from school vending machines and cafeteria lines as soon as next year, replaced with diet drinks, granola bars and other healthier items.

The Agriculture Department said Thursday that for the first time it will make sure that all foods sold in the nation’s 100,000 schools are healthier by expanding fat, calorie, sugar and sodium limits to almost everything sold during the school day.

That includes snacks sold around the school and foods on the “a la carte” line in cafeterias, which never have been regulated before. The new rules, proposed in February and made final this week, also would allow states to regulate student bake sales.

The rules, required under a child nutrition law passed by Congress in 2010, are part of the government’s effort to combat childhood obesity. The rules have the potential to transform what many children eat at school

(From The Washington Post)