Nutrition Policy Institute
Nutrition Policy Institute
Nutrition Policy Institute
University of California
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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.

 

News

March 21, 2019

NPI Brown Bag: Hannah Thompson on the impact of litigation on physical education and student fitness in California

Hannah Thompson PhD, MPH is a research scientist at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and an affiliated researcher at the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute. Her expertise is in the evaluation of programs related to physical activity and obesity. Her research focuses on identifying best practices to improve health outcomes, with a focus on children in communities at highest risk for inactivity and poor health. In this talk, she will discuss the benefits and limitations of using litigation to change educational practices and improve student health. Litigation has recently been used in California in an attempt to increase physical education (PE) provision in schools; several lawsuits have been filed against 129 school districts found to be noncompliant with state PE law.  Thompson will cover findings from two Robert Wood Johnson Foundation-funded studies examining 1) districts’ and schools’ perceptions of the lawsuits' impact on PE quantity and quality, as well as the unintended consequences of a litigious approach, and 2) the impact of these lawsuits on students' cardiorespiratory fitness. 

 

March 7, 2019

NPI Brown Bag: Suzanne Rauzon on trends in obesity and school prevention interventions

Suzanne Rauzon directs community-based prevention research projects that have a policy and environmental focus, particularly in schools. She is the study director of the Thriving Schools Initiative evaluation for Kaiser Permanente. In this talk, she will look at the recent trends in obesity, a decade of achievements in school interventions in obesity preventions, and what’s next. Suzanne holds degrees and credentials in communication technology, human nutrition and exercise physiology and has a masters in public health from the University of California, Berkeley. She is credentialed with the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics and the American Academy of Sports Medicine.

 

March 1, 2019

Nutrition Policy Institute authors lead new study examining the contribution of WIC-eligible foods to the diet of toddlers

A new national observational study examines commonly consumed foods and estimates the proportion of WIC-eligible foods in the diet of 13- and 24-month-old toddlers. The study also assesses nutritional differences by WIC participation status at 24 months. Nutrition Policy Institute authors Lauren Au and colleagues Lorrene Ritchie, Klara Gurzo and Kaela Plank led the study. The results showed that at 13 and 24 months, most (60% and 63%, respectively) of the commonly consumed foods were eligible for purchase as part of the child WIC food package. WIC-eligible foods provided more than 40 percent of calories and close to 50 percent or more of other nutrients, and the contribution of WIC-eligible foods to overall micronutrient intake increased between 13 and 24 months. Children still on WIC at 24 months obtained a larger proportion of calories and most other nutrients from WIC-eligible foods than children no longer on WIC. The study concluded that WIC-eligible foods could contribute to the overall diet of toddlers enrolled in WIC prenatally or in early infancy. Further, there may be additional nutritional benefits of staying on the WIC program through 24 months.

 

February 28, 2019

NPI Brown Bag: Erica Gunderson on pregnancy and lactation: an early window into women's cardiometabolic health

Erica Gunderson PhD, MS, MPH, RD is a senior research scientist and epidemiologist in the Division of Research, Kaiser Permanente Northern California. She conducts longitudinal studies to better understand the relationship of pregnancy and lactation to the development of obesity-related metabolic diseases and cardiovascular disease in women. Her research focuses on gestational diabetes mellitus and modifiable risk factors to prevent progression to type 2 diabetes during midlife. She has led numerous studies based on the multi-center NHLBI NGHS and the CARDIA cohorts of young black and white women.

 

February 21, 2019

Kristine Madsen and Jennifer Falbe publish new study showing that soda consumption in Berkeley declined 52 percent after soda tax

Nutrition Policy Institute affiliated researchers Kristine Madsen and Jennifer Falbe have published a new study in the American Journal of Public Health showing that soda consumption in Berkeley declined 52 percent after the soda tax was implemented. The researchers' study is generating a lot of interest. KNEB, an ABC News Radio affiliate, quoted Madsen on the dangers of sugar-sweetened beverages: “Sugar-sweetened beverages are the single dietary item [that has been] shown to cause obesity.” Quoted by NPR, Madsen said, "It's a pretty high bar for public health to be able to say that something is causing a major epidemic," she says. "We can do that for sugar-sweetened beverages." UC Berkeley News also quoted Madsen: “This just drives home the message that soda taxes work. Importantly, our evidence comes from low-income and diverse neighborhoods, which have the highest burden of diabetes and cardiovascular disease, not to mention a higher prevalence of advertising promoting unhealthy diets.” She went on to say: “I really want to push back against this idea that taxes are the sign of a nanny state. They are one of many ways to make really clear what we value as a country. We want to end this epidemic of diabetes and obesity, and taxes are a form of counter-messaging, to balance corporate advertising. We need consistent messaging and interventions that make healthier foods desirable, accessible and affordable.”

 

February 21, 2019

Lauren Au provides update on the Farm Bill at Nutrition Leadership Network meeting

The Nutrition Policy Institute's Lauren Au provides an update on the Farm Bill and how it will affect nutrition assistance programs and the Registered Dietitician profession. Her talk is part of the Western Maternal Child Health Nutrition Leadership Network Meeting. The purpose of the Nutrition Leadership Network is to provide leadership training, support, technical assistance and opportunities for collaborative learning so that the practice of public health nutrition is strengthened across the western states. Learn more about Au's presentation.

 

February 20, 2019

Research to Action shares lessons learned from the Healthy Communities Study

The February 2019 issue of the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) Research to Action news brief examines the Healthy Communities Study, a 10-year National Institutes of Health-funded study investigating the impact of community-based nutrition and physical activity programs on childhood obesity. Learn more about the largest national study of its kind and how it helps to inform future efforts to improve child diet and physical activity.

 

February 15, 2019

Lorrene Ritchie honored by Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior as Gold Author

In recognition of her many manuscripts published in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior (JNEB) during the last ten years, Lorrene Ritchie has been honored as a Gold Author. “We truly appreciate the excellent manuscripts you send,” Susan Pollock, managing editor of JNEB, noted.

 

February 14, 2019

NPI Brown Bag: Lauren Au on demystifying the grants process

Lauren Au, assistant researcher at the Nutrition Policy Institute, will lead an interactive grants workshop that will showcase examples from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the National Institutes of Health (NIH). She will cover the following topics:

  • Where do you find information about grants?
  • How do you choose which grants to apply for?
  • What is the scoring/funding level for RWJF or NIH grants?
  • What is an example timeline for grants to be funded?
  • What skillsets are important for successfully securing grant funding?

 

February 7, 2019

UC Global Food Initiative Healthy Vending Work Group publishes UC Healthy Vending Policy; NPI’s Janice Kao is co-chair of work group

The Nutrition Policy Institute is part of the UC Global Food Initiative Healthy Vending Work Group, which aims to improve access to healthy food and beverage options sold in vending machines for students and employees throughout the entire UC system. NPI’s Janice Kao is co-chair of the work group. Through research of existing healthy vending policies and extensive outreach with stakeholder groups throughout UC, the work group has developed the UC Healthy Vending Guidelines and a Best Practices Implementation Toolkit. See the UC Healthy Vending Policy section of our Resources page for more information.

 

January 31, 2019

NPI Brown Bag: Susan Watson on the evolution of CA4Health: From community transformation to community of practice

Susan Watson MPH, program director for both the CA4Health community of practice to advance chronic disease prevention and health equity across California, and the California Adolescent Health Collaborative that works to improve the wellness of youth across California, presents a special brown bag. She will discuss how CA4Health leveraged its role as a community transformation grantor focused on rural and smaller communities to become an inclusive statewide community of practice advancing chronic disease prevention and health equity across California. CA4Health did this by building capacity, increasing intersectional awareness and advocacy, and highlighting the importance of community voice in the democratization of health. Throughout her career, Watson has prioritized working on issues related to equity, community health, and the elimination of racial and ethnic disparities. Watch the presentation and view the slides.

 

January 9, 2019

New research from Harvard and NPI: Millions of children in the U.S. could be getting too much lead in the water they drink at school

Despite an uptick in awareness of and attention to the issue of lead in drinking water, many students in the U.S. attend public schools in states where not all taps are tested for lead, according to a report released today from the Prevention Research Center on Nutrition and Physical Activity at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and the Nutrition Policy Institute at the University of California. Even among states that have a policy or program in place to test school drinking water for lead, the report finds there is notable variation in program development and protocols. The report, State Approaches to Testing School Drinking Water for Lead in the United States, describes the features of statewide initiatives in 24 states and the District of Columbia that were in operation between January 2016 and February 2018. A related research brief summarizes select characteristics of state-level policies and programs to test for lead in school drinking water. The report and research brief were funded by Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

 

January 9, 2019

U.S. Government Accountability Office releases report on college student food insecurity

U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), ranking member of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee, Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), ranking member of the Senate Agriculture, Nutrition and Forestry Committee, and Ed Markey (D-MA), released a new report from the Government Accountability Office (GAO) showing that college students around the country are struggling to afford food and basic nutrition. The report reviewed 31 studies on college student food insecurity, including studies conducted by the Nutrition Policy Institute. The report is the first time a federal government agency confirms that food insecurity is a widespread issue and recommends the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Nutrition Service (FNS) take steps to help enroll potentially eligible students in Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits. GAO also found that almost 2 million at-risk students who were potentially eligible for SNAP were not currently receiving benefits. However, because many students are ineligible for assistance under SNAP, GAO also recommends further action is taken to address food insecurity on college campuses.

 

December 19, 2018

New study contributes to understanding of how food insecurity affects college students' health and well-being

A new study authored by Anthony Meza, Emily Altman, Suzanna Martinez and Cindy Leung contributes to our understanding of how food insecurity affects students' health and well-being. Titled “It’s a Feeling That One Is Not Worth Food”: A Qualitative Study Exploring the Psychosocial Experience and Academic Consequences of Food Insecurity Among College Students, the study, published in the Journal of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, consisted of in-depth qualitative interviews with 25 undergraduate students from a large public university in California who were recruited from a campus food pantry. Students discussed several themes related to the psychosocial effects of food insecurity: the stress of food insecurity interfering with daily life, a fear of disappointing family, resentment of students in more stable food and financial situations, an inability to develop meaningful social relationships, sadness from reflecting on food insecurity, feeling hopeless or undeserving of help, and frustration directed at the academic institution for not providing enough support. Students also discussed how food insecurity affected their academic performance through physical manifestations of hunger and the mental trade-off between focusing on food and focusing on academics. These findings build on a previous study and can help inform how universities support students’ basic needs.

 

December 17, 2018

In Remembrance of Joanne Ikeda, 1944-2018

Joanne Ikeda was a Cooperative Extension nutritionist in the Department of Nutrition and Toxicology at UC Berkeley for nearly 35 years. She was highly respected for her research on the food habits of minority populations living in California. She provided guidance in nutrition education and counseling. In addition, Joanne was an early champion of a relatively new approach to weight management entitled Health at Every Size (HAES). This approach in the clinical treatment of obesity was seen as an important paradigm shift in the field of obesity.

In the HAES movement and in other ways, Joanne distinguished herself as a visionary thinker. She developed new solutions and approaches to problems. She knew how to bring her ideas to fruition. She, along with Sharon Fleming and Pat Crawford co-founded the Center for Weight and Health at UC Berkeley. This was the first Extension center of its kind in the nation. The Center facilitated interactions among researchers, policy makers and community-based providers from various disciplines and institutions concerned about weight, health and food security. The Center became known nationally for the development and distribution of culturally sensitive nutrition education materials, for innovative studies on childhood overweight and policy work to improve nutrition and reduce disparities. While the Center for Weight and Health is no longer in operation at UC Berkeley, the Center’s projects and Joanne’s mentees were foundational in the creation of a new UC ANR institute, the Nutrition Policy Institute

Joanne’s many colleagues and friends at the Nutrition Policy Institute will miss the wisdom, energy, passion and vision she had for using nutrition as a vehicle to improve people’s lives. 

Instead of flowers, Joanne requested donations in her name be made to the Society for Nutrition Education and Behavior Foundation at https://www.sneb.org/sneb-foundation/ or 9100 Purdue Road, Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46268.

 

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