Nutrition Policy Institute
Nutrition Policy Institute
Nutrition Policy Institute
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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.



December 6, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Overview of the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources 4H; Master Gardener; Master Food Preserver; and Nutrition, Family & Consumer Sciences Programs

UC ANR Statewide Programs are organized to focus research and extension on solving priority problems in the management of California agriculture, natural resources and human development. Meet the UC ANR program directors for the Master Gardener Program (Missy Gable), 4H Youth Development Program (Shannon Horrillo), and Master Food Preserver and Nutrition, Family & Consumer Sciences programs (Katie Panarella), and learn how UC ANR is working to integrate programs to support food literacy, healthy eating and improved food security for Californians. Hear the presentation and view the slides.


November 29 - December 2, 2018

Lorrene Ritchie to participate in KFLA's Global Summit on Food Security and Thriving Communities

Lorrene Ritchie will participate in the Kellogg Fellows Leadership Alliance's Global Summit on Food Security and Thriving Communities, an international, interdisciplinary gathering of more than 200 Kellogg Foundation Leadership Fellows, community leaders, changemakers, funders, and experts who will examine food as the gateway to address the complex, cross-sector challenges that communities face today.


November 29, 2018

Lorrene Ritchie invited to speak at University of Missouri

Lorrene Ritchie has been invited to speak at the University of Missouri as part of the Department of Nutrition and Exercise Physiology's fall 2018 seminar series. She will speak on Childcare Nutrition in California: Conducting Research to Inform Policy.


November 11-14, 2018

Nutrition Policy Institute at APHA 2018 Annual Meeting

The Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) will present its research on a range of topics at the APHA 2018 Annual Meeting, the largest annual gathering of public health professionals, held in San Diego this year. NPI's presentations include on November 11: Trends in Nutritional Quality among SNAP-Eligible Mothers and their Children in California  (researchers: John Pugliese, Lauren Whetstone, Wendi Gosliner, Gail Woodward-Lopez, and Sridharshi Hewawitharana); on November 13: What SNAP-Ed PSE strategies do communities use to improve health equity for low-income Californians? (researchers: Janice Kao, Gail Woodward-Lopez, Christina Becker, and Lauren Whetstone); and on November 14: both Mother-Child Differences in Nutritional Quality among Low-Income Latinos (researchers: John Pugliese, Lauren Whetstone, Wendi Gosliner, Gail Woodward-Lopez, and Sridharshi Hewawitharana) and Raising Public Awareness about Food Waste: The Development, Implementation, and Evaluation of California's Inaugural Food Waste Prevention Week (researchers: Tracy Delaney, Stephanie Caldwell, Joyce Lee, and Wendi Gosliner).


November 9, 2018

Research to Action examines child nutrition in the preschool years

The November 2018 issue of the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) Research to Action news brief examines child nutrition in the preschool years, which influences the development of food preferences, dietary patterns, and health outcomes later in life. Read about NPI’s leading research on child nutrition and find out how you can help support and improve nutrition standards for child care centers and homes.


November 8, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Reports from student summer interns

This special NPI Brown Bag will feature talks by three NPI summer interns who are Master of Public Health candidates at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health. Joyce M. Lee will talk about “Recruitment & Data Collection: Lessons Learned from the Market Match Evaluation,” Katie Bern will present her summer projects at the National Drinking Water Alliance and Melanie Colvin will discuss her work on the Healthy Beverages in Child Care project.


November 1, 2018

Suzanna Martinez begins new role as assistant professor at UCSF

Suzanna Martinez, longtime assistant researcher at the Nutrition Policy Institute, begins a new position on November 1, 2018 as assistant professor in the Department of Epidemiology and Bioststatistics at the University of California, San Francisco. Her research interests include investigating biological, behavioral, social and environmental contexts of health behavior among vulnerable child populations. Martinez, along with NPI Director Lorrene Ritchie and UC Santa Barbara’s Katie Maynard, authored the groundbreaking 2016 UC Student Food Access and Security Study that led UC to develop an action plan to address student food insecurity. Martinez has also been a presenter at several #RealCollege convenings. She will continue as an affiliated researcher at NPI, where she will collaborate with NPI Director Ritchie on a qualitative and quantitative study to understand housing insecurity and homelessness at four UC campuses: UC Santa Cruz, UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, and UC Merced.


November 1, 2018

NPI researchers publish study assessing diet quality of low-income 7-to-24-month-old children

In a national study of more than 2,000 low-income children, NPI researchers assessed diet quality in 7-to-24-month-old children. The study, just published in The Journal of Nutrition, found that children are doing well on some dietary components, such as eating iron-rich cereals, but there is room for improvement in consuming more fruits and vegetables, reducing intake of sugary drinks and breastfeeding through 12 months of age. Findings from the study may be used to inform the next Dietary Guidelines for Americans, which currently do not include this important age group.


October 21, 2018

Lorrene Ritchie speaks on WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study at FNCE

As part of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics 2018 Food and Nutrition Conference and Expo (FNCE), Lorrene Ritchie speaks as part of a discussion on New Perspectives on WIC: An Evidence-Based Examination of Early Childhood Dietary Behaviors.  Ritchie is an author of the WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study-2, and in early 2018, results from the study’s first two years were published.The discussion will cover: 1) how the WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study-2 expands prospective research on early childhood feeding practices; 2)  a comparison of the dietary intakes of children in WIC to the current standards for pediatric nutrition; and 3)  a discussion of how the food, activity and weight trends of low-income children on WIC impact nutrition education and counseling.


October 19, 2018

Wendi Gosliner selected to participate in the 2019 UC Women's Initiative for Professional Development

Nutrition Policy Institute project scientists and unit director Wendi Gosliner DrPH, RD, has been selected to participate in the 2019 UC Women's Initiative for Professional Development, an experiential professional development program offered to mid-career women, faculty, academic personnel and staff who demonstrate the potential to advance their careers at UC. The UC Women's Initiative is sponsored by the Systemwide Advisory Committee on the Status of Women (SACSW) and the UC Office of the President. The UC Women's Initiative  for Professional Development won the 2018 Brandon Hall Group Excellence Gold Award for the “Best Advance in Women’s Leadership Development.”


October 11, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Claire Cullen on how survey methods affect measurement

Claire Cullen, previously an economist at the Australian Agency for International Development, is a PhD student at the University of Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government, a visiting student researcher at UC Berkeley’s Department of Economics and a consultant at the World Bank Gender Innovation Lab. She will discuss how survey methods affect measurement. In a recent paper, she analyzed the magnitude and characteristics of misreporting on intimate partner and sexual violence using self-reported survey data from Rwanda and Nigeria. She compared women's reports of experiencing emotional, physical or sexual violence using three different survey methods: an indirect method (list experiment) and two direct survey methods (face-to-face questions asked by an enumerator, or audio-assisted self-administered survey on an electronic tablet). She found that women's reports of intimate partner and sexual violence in Rwanda are double when measured using the indirect list method compared to the two direct methods currently used in most surveys.


October 4, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Lauren Au on her English Channel swim

Demonstrating her commitment to physical activity and health, Nutrition Policy Institute Assistant Researcher Lauren Au completed her inspiring 28.1 mile English Channel swim in 11:01 hours this past summer. Au will share her exciting journey, including what foods she ate to keep nourished during the swim, her first meal post-swim, the marine life she encountered, lessons learned and what she has planned next. The presentation will include photos, videos and Q&A. 


September 29, 2018

Suzanna Martinez presents at #RealCollege 2018

During the #RealCollege 2018 convening, Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) Assistant Researcher Suzanna Martinez will partner with Aydin Nazmi, associate professor at California Polytechnic University, to give a presentation titled “Measuring food insecurity on your campus.” With increasing focus on college food insecurity, accurate assessment of food insecurity prevalence is crucial. Martinez and Nazmi’s session will highlight key concepts in college food security research, critically evaluate study design and assessment methods, and describe best-practice methods for conducting research related to food security in college environments. Martinez, along with NPI’s Lorrene Ritchie and UC Santa Barbara’s Katie Maynard, authored the groundbreaking 2016 UC Student Food Access and Security Study that led UC to develop an action plan to address student food insecurity.


September 28, 2018

USDA Food and Nutrition Service publishes final report on WIC Nutrition Education Study; NPI was team member on the study

National data have been limited regarding delivery of WIC nutrition education and the impact of WIC nutrition education on WIC participants’ nutrition and other behaviors. To address this data gap, the USDA Food and Nutrition Service contracted with RTI International and its team members—Altarum Institute and researchers from the University of California, Agriculture and Natural Resources, Nutrition Policy Institute—to conduct the WIC Nutrition Education Study. This study consisted of two phases. Phase I provided a comprehensive, nationally representative description of WIC nutrition education policies, practices, and features in 2014, based on surveys of local WIC agencies and sites and in-depth interviews with a subset of these sites (USDA, FNS, 2016). Phase II was a methodological study, conducted in six sites during 2015–2016, to test an approach to determine its feasibility for a national evaluation. The Phase II study included (1) a process evaluation that characterized the delivery of WIC nutrition education and (2) an impact evaluation that used a longitudinal, exposure-response design to assess the influence of WIC nutrition education on participants’ nutrition and physical activity attitudes and behaviors. The Phase II study was intended to determine if this approach could be used in a national evaluation study. Results indicate that a national study may not be feasible, but that other approaches may achieve similar goals on a smaller scale.


September 27, 2018

Webinar: From Policy to Plate: Increasing fruit and vegetable intake through accessibility, affordability and demand

On Thursday, September 27, at 10 a.m. PT (1 p.m. ET), join this webinar to learn about the impact of health laws and policies on increasing fruit and vegetable intake and making food accessible and affordable. This is the first in a series of webinars about the role of law and policy in helping to achieve Healthy People 2020 objectives. The webinar is based on a recent report co-authored by the Nutrition Policy Institute’s Pat Crawford. You’ll learn key findings about using law and policy interventions to increase fruit and vegetable intake from the report authors and hear how a large city used business regulation to improve availability of staple foods—including fruits and vegetables—in retail settings. The goal of the Healthy People Law and Health Policy project is to highlight how evidence-based legal and policy interventions and strategies can facilitate progress toward Healthy People objectives by improving community health and well-being. In addition to reports and webinars, the project includes “Bright Spots,” or success stories, that highlight successful policy interventions that have led to improved health outcomes. Join the discussion and learn how policy efforts improve health. The project is a collaboration between the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP), the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the CDC Foundation and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Learn more and register for the webinar.


September 27, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Lilian Autler on the Equitable Food Initiative & Nathalie Marin-Gest on Fair Trade USA

The Equitable Food Initiative (EFI) is a multi-stakeholder program that partners with growers and retailers in the produce industry to create a more transparent food chain, safer food and healthier places to work. Lilian Autler of the EFI Workforce Development team will provide an overview of the results of EFI’s 2017 impact evaluation report with a focus on EFI’s positive impact on the lives of farmworkers. Fair Trade USA is the leading certifier of Fair Trade Certified products, working with producers and workers in more than 50 countries. Nathalie Marin-Gest, director of Fair Trade’s produce and floral program, will speak about that program, including a review of agricultural issues on all sides of the border and related impact from the more than 1.5 billion pounds of produce sold on Fair Trade terms that has generated significant improvements in the lives of farmers and workers. Watch the recording and view the slides of Autler and Marin-Gest's presentation.


September 25, 2018

Lorrene Ritchie featured in Healthy Communities Study webinar

Nutrition Policy Institute Director Lorrene Ritchie will be featured in a webinar titled "The Healthy Communities Study: How Community Programs and Policies Are Related to Children's Health." Hosted by the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), the webinar will provide a brief overview of the Healthy Communities Study, the results of which suggest that targeted investments in community programs and policies can contribute to the improved nutrition and physical activity of children. The webinar will also highlight several findings from the Healthy Communities Study recently published in Pediatric Obesity. The host of the webinar, NCCOR, brings together four of the nation's leading research funders—the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH), Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), and U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)—to address the problem of childhood obesity in America.


September 21, 2018

Research to Action examines school nutrition programs

The September 2018 issue of the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) Research to Action news brief examines school nutrition programs. School lunch and breakfast, together with the other child nutrition programs, make a key contribution to students’ success at school and play an indispensable role in their health and development. Read about NPI’s leading research on school nutrition programs and find out how you can help support these important programs.


September 13, 2018

Pat Crawford co-authors seminal Healthy People 2020 report identifying innovative strategies for increasing fruit and vegetable consumption

The Nutrition Policy Institute’s Pat Crawford DrPH, RD, is one of four authors (with Lauren Dunning JD, MPH; Manel Kappagoda JD, MPH; and Jean C. O’Connor JD, MPH, DrPH) of a seminal Healthy People 2020 report, The Role of Law and Policy in Achieving the Healthy People 2020 Nutrition and Weight Status Goals of Increased Fruit and and Vegetable Intake in the United States. The report was released today by the Healthy People 2020 Law and Health Policy Project, a collaboration between the CDC Foundation, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The report highlights the state of laws and policies related to the Healthy People nutrition and weight status topic area, specifically increasing the intake of fruits and vegetables. Healthy People 2020 is a national initiative supported by the HHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion that provides science-based, 10-year objectives to improve the health of all Americans. Healthy People 2020 serves as a tool for the federal government, states, communities and many other public- and private-sector partners to use in setting strategies to address health challenges and improve health.


September 13, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Sri Hewawitharana and Shelly Mandel on data management

This training will discuss elements of data management to keep in mind while designing study protocols involving data collection, as well as a brief look into initial data management steps to take once data has been collected. Topics will include: ID creation, data security, an overview of the strengths and weaknesses of a variety of data collection methods, data validation, variable naming conventions, codebook creation and an overview of some descriptive statistics used to check data quality.


September 6, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Hilary Seligman on Food Insecurity and Health: Addressing a Complex Social Problem Through Programs, Policies and Partnerships

Hilary Seligman MD, one of the nation's foremost experts on the health implications of food insecurity, discusses how to address a complex social problem through programs, policies and partnerships. Emerging evidence supports the long-held contention that food insecurity impacts health. Dr. Seligman will review this evidence and new insights into its economic implications. She will then examine the concept of strategic science and how it can be used to make research more impactful, using examples from her own work developing food security programs (such as EatSF), examining policies that support food security (such as SNAP) and partnering with community-based organizations who share these goals (such as Feeding America).


September 3, 2018

Isabel Rangel’s NPI-funded research is featured in Politico article 

An NPI-funded study by UC Berkeley graduate student Isabel Rangel is featured in a Politico article by Helena Bottemiller Evich. The article focuses on immigrants who are turning down federal food aid because they fear the Trump administration could bar them from getting a green card if they accept the aid. Rangel’s research is mentioned in the article, which quotes her: “She said they described dealing with ‘constant anxiety,’ even when they've decided to keep using programs like WIC, Medicaid and food stamps. They're worried that their documentation status will be somehow be jeopardized by participating in these health programs. They say: 'I can't stop using these programs because my children need them, but I know I'm risking my future and the future of my children.'" Rangel has been exploring how the current anti-immigrant climate is affecting the ways that mixed-status families, composed of at least one undocumented parent and one documented child, are accessing health and nutrition programs in California. Rangel received her MPH from UC Berkeley and is a graduate of UCLA where she majored in Anthropology and minored in Public Health and Labor and Workplace Studies. Her passion for addressing Latinx health inequities stems from her experiences of being raised in rural farmworker communities both in Mexico and in California’s Central Valley.


September 1, 2018

Childhood Obesity publishes NPI-led special issue 

Childhood Obesity has published a special issue on policies, programs and best practices in early care and education settings that was developed by Nutrition Policy Institute Director Lorrene Ritchie and coordinated by Ritchie and Danielle Lee. Published on September 1, 2018, the issue includes 12 articles as well as a remembrance of Susie Nanney, who worked to improve children's and family health in underserved and rural communities, including in early care and education settings. In addition to leading the development of the special issue, Ritchie co-authored a paper in the issue with Danielle Lee, Klara Gurzo, Sallie Yoshida, Elyse Homel Vitale and Ken Hecht: Compliance with the New 2017 Child and Adult Care Food Program Standards for Infants and Children before Implementation.


August 30, 2018

Nutrition Policy Institute fact sheets outline how CalFresh benefits California's counties

The Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), known as CalFresh in California, is the nation’s most important anti-hunger program. CalFresh provides critical support to low-income families while strengthening the local economy. The Nutrition Policy Institute has created a series of fact sheets that show how CalFresh benefits each of California's 58 counties.


August 23, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Isabel Rangel on health and nutrition programs accessed by mixed-status families in an anti-immigrant climate: Perspectives from Mexican parents living in California

Isabel Rangel will present the results from her capstone project exploring how the current anti-immigrant climate is affecting the ways that mixed-status families, composed of at least one undocumented parent and one documented child, are accessing health and nutrition programs in California. Rangel received her MPH from UC Berkeley and is a graduate of UCLA where she majored in Anthropology and minored in Public Health and Labor and Workplace Studies. Her passion for addressing Latinx health inequities stems from her experiences of being raised in rural farmworker communities both in Mexico and in California’s Central Valley.


August 2, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Tia Shimada and Lorrene Ritchie on research to policy

Tia Shimada, director of programs at California Food Policy Advocates, and Lorrene Ritchie, director of the Nutrition Policy Institute and UC Cooperative Extension specialist, discuss how research can—and should—shape public policy. They will draw on years of partnership between advocates and academic researchers to share lessons learned about designing, conducting and disseminating policy-focused research. They will also talk about how advocates work with researchers of all stripes—from tenured faculty to think-tank data wonks—to advance state and federal policy.


Please see additional news items in our News section

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