Nutrition Policy Institute
Nutrition Policy Institute
Nutrition Policy Institute
University of California
Nutrition Policy Institute
NPI Vision Statement

News Brief Sign-Up

Be sure to sign up to receive Research to Action, the Nutrition Policy Institute's news brief providing information on research, policy, news, announcements, events, articles and action items focused on nutrition and healthy communities.



July 15–18, 2019

10th Biennial Childhood Obesity Conference to take place in Anaheim, California

The 10th Biennial Childhood Obesity Conference will take place July 15 to 18, 2019, at the Anaheim Marriott Hotel in Anaheim, California. The Biennial Childhood Obesity Conference is the nation’s largest, most influential collaboration of professionals dedicated to combating pediatric obesity/overweight. Nearly 2,000 attendees from across the country are expected to attend to share and discuss emerging research, best practices, community-based efforts and effective policy strategies that promote and sustain healthy eating and physical activity practices for children, adolescents and their families. This year’s theme is Beyond Obesity: Tackling Root Causes. Keynote speakers, presenters and panel moderators from UC Agriculture and Natural Resources / Nutrition Policy Institute include Glenda Humiston, Lorrene Ritchie, Pat Crawford, Christina Hecht, Gail Woodward-Lopez, Lauren Au, Hannah Thompson, Laura Vollmer, Sridharshi Hewawitharana, Carolyn Rider and Danielle Lee. Conference hosts include the California Department of Public Health, the California Department of Education, Nutrition Policy Institute of the University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, The California Endowment and Kaiser Permanente.


July 11, 2019

NPI Brown Bag: Lori Dorfman on the digital frontiers of junk food marketing that targets kids of color

Lori Dorfman DrPH, director of Berkeley Media Studies Group, a program of the Public Health Institute, will describe how the era of Big Data and mobile marketing has transformed the food marketing landscape that ensnares children and youth today, especially children and youth of color. She will describe key features marketers use; explore how they depart from traditional forms of advertising, marketing and retail operations; and offer suggestions for research strategies and public health interventions. For more information, please see the following publications: Health equity & junk food marketing: Talking about targeting kids of color and Big Data and the transformation of food and beverage marketing: undermining efforts to reduce obesity?


June 25, 2019

NPI Brown Bag: Mahasin Mujahid and Moira O'Neill on Rethinking School Lunch Oakland

Since 2009 more than 70 percent of Oakland Unified School District’s (OUSD) students have qualified for free or reduced-price lunch—well above the national average. Recognizing that persistent risk of hunger and poor health outcomes impact educational outcomes, OUSD with the Center for Ecoliteracy, launched Rethinking School Lunch Oakland (RSLO). RSLO is comprehensive systems change approach to school meal reform that requires, among other things, infrastructure and equipment investment to improve the quality of school food. Mahasin Mujahid, Associate Professor and Chancellor's Professor of Public Health at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, and Moira O'Neill, Associate Research Scientist in the Institute of Urban and Regional Development, and a Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Law, Energy, and the Environment at UC Berkeley, lead a discussion on RSLO, its implementation and its impact on student eating, particularly in schools where food insecurity appears prevalent.


June 24, 2019

Suzanna Martinez and Lorrene Ritchie publish new study showing the impact of food insecurity on health outcomes among college students

The Nutrition Policy Institute's affiliated researcher, Suzanna Martinez, and NPI director, Lorrene D. Ritchie, published a new study in the journal Nutrients showing the relationship between food insecurity and health-related outcomes in college students. Data collected from over 8,700 graduate and undergraduate students at the University of California 10 campus system in 2015 show that students who experienced food insecurity had decreased sleep and decreased physical activity which was related to increased body mass index and poor health as measured by student self-report. Students experiencing food insecurity also had fewer daily servings of fruits and vegetables which was related to poor health. Findings from this study highlight the importance of food security for a healthy college experience. Martinez and colleagues published previous work on college student food insecurity, including a 2017 report on University of California student food and housing security, a 2018 study exploring the psychosocial effects of food insecurity in college students, a 2018 study exploring the relationship between college student food insecurity and lower academic performance, a 2017 study identifying factors associated with college student food insecurity, and another 2017 study identifying ways in which universities can work to address student food insecurity. 


June 18, 2019

Evan Talmage, Sara Brizendine and Nutrition Policy Institute restaurant kids meal healthy default beverage research team members win UC Agriculture and Natural Resources Staff Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) Award

UC Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) Staff Appreciation and Recognition (STAR) Award Program recognizes and rewards outstanding staff individual and/or team performance. Recipients of the 2019 STAR Award include Nutrition Policy Institute’s researcher Evan Talmage, contracts and grants manager Sara Brizendine, and the restaurant kids meal healthy default beverage research team members including Sara Brizendine, Temika Green, Phoebe Harpainter, Sridarshi Hewawitharana, Danielle Lee, Meirong Liao, Rochelle Mandel, Anna Martin, Kaela Plank and Evan Talmage. Recipients of the STAR Award were recognized by ANR leadership at a special event in Davis, Calif. on June 18.


June 8–10, 2019

Nutrition Policy Institute researchers present at Nutrition 2019 Conference

Nutrition Policy Institute researchers will present on several topics at the American Society for Nutrition’s 2019 Annual Meeting (#Nutrition2019) in Baltimore, Maryland.

  • Kaela Plank, NPI evaluation specialist, presents on Saturday, June 8 from 8 to 10 a.m. in a session on Food Security, Nutrition and Health on Household Food Insecurity Is Associated with Higher Adiposity Among U.S. Schoolchildren Age 10-15 Years.  
  • Danielle Lee, NPI policy analyst, presents on Sunday, June 9 from 12:45 to 1:45 p.m. on an Evaluation of an Interactive, Online Training for Child Care Providers on Healthy Beverages for Young Children.
  • Sridharshi Hewawitharana, NPI data analyst, presents on Sunday, June 9 from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. on Utilization of the California Nutrition Incentive Program Among CalFresh Shoppers and Its Association with Food Security Status.
  • Kaela Plank also presents on Monday, June 10 from 1:45 to 2:45 p.m. on Duration of WIC Participation Is Associated with Higher Dietary Quality and 24 Months.


June 5, 2019

Lauren Au presents on school nutrition, WIC infant and toddler feeding practices, at international conference in Prague

Nutrition Policy Institute Assistant Researcher Lauren Au will give two presentations at the International Society for Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity during the group's annual conference in Prague. Au's talks include "School Nutrition Successes and Opportunities for Improvement Post Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act: The Healthy Communities Study" and "Diet Quality of U.S. Infants and Toddlers 7-24 Months Old in the WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study-2."  


June 2, 2019

In memoriam: Leann Birch

We remember Leann L. Birch, whose research led to new insights on childhood nutrition and obesity. Her pioneering research brought developmental psychology to the study of nutritional issues involving young children, moving the science of nutrition beyond a focus on foods and nutrients to consider why children eat and how eating habits are developed early in life. She was the chairwoman of several committees on childhood obesity and published more than 200 scholarly articles. Her research findings repeatedly made news over the years.


May 31, 2019

Nutrition Policy Institute CalFresh fact sheet for Monterey County cited in Salinas Californian

The Nutrition Policy Institute CalFresh fact sheet for Monterey County was cited in The Salinas Californian, in an article about CalFresh benefits becoming newly available to people who receive Supplemental Security Income/State Supplemental Payments (SSI/SSP) benefits. The article noted:  "About 45,000 Monterey County residents rely on CalFresh and more than $72 million is directly returned annually into the county's economy, according to the Nutrition Policy Institute. In total, over one in 10 residents use CalFresh monthly, per U.S. Census data."  


May 16, 2019

UC ANR and UC NPI seek UC Global Food Initiative Fellow

The University of California Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (UC ANR) and the UC Nutrition Policy Institute (UC NPI) seek outstanding UC students to apply for the 2019-20 UC Global Food Initiative Fellowship in Communications/Outreach. The UC ANR GFI Fellowship in Communications/Outreach focuses on community outreach and education, specifically: 1) educating the public through written, visual, and online communications about food policy, nutrition policy, food security, federal food programs, food waste prevention, childhood obesity prevention and other nutrition and food policy topics, and 2) educating the public through written, visual, and online communications about UC ANR’s impact on the above topics. The application deadline is Friday, May 24, 2019. For more information and application instructions, please see the UC ANR GFI Fellow in Communications info sheet.


May 10, 2019

Researchers publish findings on California SNAP-Ed leaders’ experiences planning, implementing and evaluating nutrition promotion and obesity prevention programs

A team of researchers affiliated with the Nutrition Policy Institute, the American Cancer Society and San Francisco State University have just published findings of their study Leaders' Experiences in Planning, Implementing, and Evaluating Complex Public Health Nutrition Interventions. Included in in the May 2019 issue of the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, the study found that implementing new, complex interventions to improve diet and activity environments and behaviors is both exciting and challenging for local health department leaders. They expressed a desire for additional resources and capacity-building to facilitate success, particularly related to policy, systems and environmental change programs. In addition, attention to the specific needs of rural counties is needed.


May 9, 2019

NPI Brown Bag: Dr. Carl Winter on Pesticides in Food: Residues, risks and reality

Pesticide residues in foods represent an issue of considerable public concern. How much residue is in our foods and are these amounts risky? Dr. Carl Winter, Cooperative Extension food toxicologist and vice chair of the Department of Food Science and Technology at UC Davis, will address these issues and provide answers to several popular consumer questions about food safety. Dr. Winter is a Fellow of the Institute of Food Technologists and the 2012 recipient of the Borlaug Council for Agricultural Science and Technology Communication Award. View the presentation, read the slides and hear Dr. Winter sing about food safety


May 1, 2019

Ron Strochlic collaborates with UC Berkeley Food Institute on immigrant food research

The Nutrition Policy Institute’s Ron Strochlic collaborated with the UC Berkeley Food Institute on research that sheds light on gender dynamics and fear of immigration policies as a barrier to immigrant families participating in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The research was cited in a fact sheet distributed by Protecting Immigrant Families.


April 24, 2019

Lorrene Ritchie presents on CACFP meal standards at 2019 National Child Nutrition Conference

Nutrition Policy Institute Director Lorrene Ritchie presents on Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) meal standards at the 2019 National Child Nutrition Conference. Her presentation is part of the “State Findings for New Meal Pattern Readiness” workshop on Wednesday, April 24, from 2 to 3 p.m. The workshop will cover the food environment in child care settings across four states (California, Mississippi, Georgia and Connecticut) and discuss progress on implementation of the updated CACFP meal patterns across the four states, as well as supports and barriers to implementing the updated meal patterns.


April 24, 2019

Christina Hecht presents ANR Spotlight Series Webinar on school drinking water

Nutrition Policy Institute Senior Policy Analyst Christina Hecht presents a webinar on school drinking water as part of the ANR Spotlight Series of webinars. The webinar takes place on April 24, at 11 a.m. Titled “School Drinking Water - What we should know and do,” the webinar covers negative effects on health of sugar-sweetened drinks, positive effects of drinking water, health impacts of contaminants in water and what steps you can take to make a difference. Findings from a collaborative study on testing lead in school drinking water, conducted by the Nutrition Policy Institute and the T.H. Chan School of Public Health at Harvard University, will be discussed. The Zoom webinar can be accessed at; +1 669 900 6833 or +1 646 558 8656; Webinar ID: 751 701 428.


April 3, 2019

Lorrene Ritchie quoted in Washington Post about preferred dietary guidelines for children ages 0 to 2

A recent Washington Post article, What to feed your baby? New dietary guidelines weigh in on pregnant women, infants and young children featured quotes from Nutrition Policy institute Director Lorrene Ritchie. The article focused on the upcoming 2020 version of the Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which for the first time will attempt to provide strong, evidence-based recommendations for pregnant women, infants and young children. “There was a time when we did not view 0 to 2 as a target for obesity prevention,” said Lorrene Ritchie, a nutrition and nutrition policy specialist in Berkeley, Calif. “We felt young children were much better at self-regulating. Obesity is the canary in the coal mine for health. It’s kind of like the climate change of public health.” The article continues: “It is too early to say what specific recommendations the committee will make, but Ritchie would like to see: a preference for breast-feeding over formula and beginning to transition to solid foods at around 6 months, with a focus on a diet that is mostly plant-based, low in sugar, salt and fat. Another shortcoming of current guidelines, she says, is that they give no recommendations for the consumption of water. (Most other countries include water guidelines). Even infants beginning at 6 months should be exposed to water in a cup. Optimally, the only beverages children should drink are milk and water, no other beverages artificially or naturally sweetened,” she said.


Please see additional news items in our News section

You can now contribute to the work of NPI by making a tax-deductible donation. Your gift will help reduce food insecurity, obesity and diabetes by ensuring that healthy food, beverages and opportunities for physical activity are convenient, accessible, affordable and sustainable.


Webmaster Email: