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.


April 5, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Ruben Canedo on University of California Basic Needs: Impact, updates and future directions

Ruben Canedo, University of California System Basic Needs Co-Chair, will provide an update on the latest systemwide basic needs data, the impact of system and campus efforts and the next phase of these efforts. Canedo is an alumnus of UC Berkeley and a co-founder of the Undocumented Student Program at UC Berkeley. He serves as Director of Strategic Equity Initiatives for UC Berkeley's Division of Equity & Inclusion. This role allows him to serve as both UC Berkeley's Basic Needs Committee Chair (since 2013) and UC System Basic Needs Committee Co-Chair (since 2014). Ruben is also part of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation's "Truth, Racial Healing, and Transformation (TRHT)," a comprehensive, national and community-based process to plan for and bring about transformational and sustainable change to address the historic and contemporary effects of racism. TRHT seeks to unearth and jettison the deeply held, and often unconscious, beliefs created by racism—the main one being the belief in a “hierarchy of human value.”


April 4, 2018

Lorrene Ritchie speaks at UCLA policy seminar on the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

The UCLA MCH Nutrition Leadership Training Program hosts a policy seminar on the 2020-2025 Dietary Guidelines for Americans (DGA) during National Public Health Week featuring Nutrition Policy Institute Director Lorrene Ritchie PhD, RD and former Executive Director of the USDA Center for Nutrition Policy and Promotion Angie Tagtow MS, RD. According to the USDA, the 2020-2025 edition of the DGA will take a lifespan approach and include new nutrition guidance for pregnant women, infants, and toddlers up to 2 years of age, and those old than 65 years. Ritchie and Tagtow will highlight the process for developing the Dietary Guidelines; the role science plays in informing the Dietary Guidelines; actors and stakeholders engaged in the development process; and strategies we need to take to preserve and protect a significant investment in Americans’ health. In addition, the latest research on best feeding practices for infants and toddlers will be presented, including results from the WIC Infant and Toddler Feeding Practices Study.


March 26, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Anne Megaro on effectively communicating science with policymakers and government officials

Anne Megaro, UC ANR's Government & Community Relations Director, will talk about the importance of communicating science with non-scientists to affect science-based policymaking and how this can most effectively be accomplished. Megaro earned her B.S. in Animal Science and Management from UC Davis and her Ph.D. in Animal Science from Cornell University. Her doctoral research focused on bioactive fatty acids in milk and their impact on human health. Upon graduation, in an effort to pursue goals of serving as a liaison between scientists, consumers, and government entities on issues involving agriculture, nutrition and food safety, Anne was competitively selected to participate in the AAAS Congressional Fellowship in Washington, D.C. Upon completion of the fellowship, Anne moved back to California and was hired to be the consultant to the California State Senate Committee on Agriculture. In this position, she was responsible for writing clear, comprehensive, and non-partisan analyses for all bills that came before the committee; designing and organizing committee oversight and informational hearings; and collaborating with legislators, stakeholders, government agencies and the public to resolve concerns or issues related to bills or policies. Currently, Megaro guides UC ANR employees in nurturing relationships with government officials and community members.


March 22, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Zubaida Qamar on Recruitment and Retention Strategies - Lessons Learned from the MASALA Study

Dr. Zubaida Qamar, research project manager for the Mediators of Atherosclerosis in South Asians Living in America (MASALA) Study at University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), will provide a brief overview of the various community-based recruitment and retention strategies that have been successfully implemented for the participants of the MASALA Study. She will also describe some of the unique recruitment and retention challenges faced by the MASALA participants residing in and around the Bay Area and the approaches used to overcome these barriers. Such strategies could provide guidance to the recruitment and retention efforts of community-based intervention and disease-prevention studies for underserved groups, moving in the direction of eliminating health disparities.


March 16, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: John Reich on funding research to enhance the economic and environmental resilience of our food supply

John Reich PhD, Scientific Program Director of the Foundation for Food and Agriculture Research (FFAR), will speak about FFAR's work and funding opportunities. FFAR brings together leading experts to identify and investigate the researchable questions whose answers have the potential to enhance the economic and environmental resilience of our food supply. FFAR funds research in two broad categories—more productive/sustainable agriculture and better health through food—and seven Challenge Areas including: Food Waste and Loss, Protein Challenge, Water Scarcity, Innovation Pathway to Sustainability, Healthy Soils/Thriving Farms, Urban Food Systems, and Making My Plate Your Plate. 


March 5, 2018

Nutrition Policy Institute partners to launch inaugural California Food Waste Prevention Week

The Nutrition Policy Institute collaborates with Governor Jerry Brown and other California officials and agencies to announce March 5-9, 2018, as Food Waste Prevention Week in the State of California. The unprecedented collaboration grew out of a meeting held in February 2017 in which the Public Health Alliance of Southern California and the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute jointly convened state agencies delivering nutrition education programming to discuss the impacts of food waste and strategize solutions the agencies could advance together. The planning group identified an opportunity to generate and issue shared messaging during National Nutrition Month, a goal that has evolved into California’s inaugural Food Waste Prevention Week, a coordinated multi-sector effort to raise awareness about the economic, environmental and social impacts of food waste in California. Stay tuned to the Nutrition Policy Institute's Twitter page and UC ANR's Twitter and Facebook pages for shareable resources, tips and ideas during the week, and join the Food Waste Reduction Hero Photo Challenge.


March 2, 2018

Healthy Communities Study paper published in Pediatric Obesity

The national epidemic of childhood obesity is well-recognized, yet the effect of community-based programs and policies on childhood obesity prevention is less well understood. This Healthy Communities Study paper, just published in Pediatric Obesity, examined the longitudinal relationship between the intensity of community-based programs and policies in 130 communities over 10 years and the body mass index of resident children. The study also examined whether these relationships differ by key family or community characteristics. The results indicate that over time, more intense community-based programs and policies are related to lower childhood body mass index, and that there are disparities by sociodemographic characteristics of families and communities, such as child grade, race/ethnicity, family income and parental education, as well as community-level race/ethnicity. Nutrition Policy Institute Director Lorrene Ritchie is an author of the study.


March 1, 2018

Research to Action highlights inaugural California Food Waste Prevention Week

The March 2018 issue of the Nutrition Policy Institute’s Research to Action focuses on the inaugural Food Waste Prevention Week, a weeklong campaign to raise awareness about the economic, environmental and social impacts of food waste in California. This unprecedented collaboration, spearheaded by the Nutrition Policy Institute and the Public Health Alliance of Southern California, is supported by the Governor, the Secretary of Agriculture, the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, and many other agency leaders in public health, natural resources management, nutrition and other sectors.


March 1, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Laura Rubin discusses Kaiser Permanente's 10-Year HEAL Zone findings

Laura Rubin MPH will share findings from the last round of Kaiser Permanente’s 10-year Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) Zone Initiative, which ended in June 2017. The initiative funded place-based collaboratives to work across multiple strategies and sectors to increase access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity. Rubin will review the population-level findings, share stories of the successes and lessons learned, and share a short video and reflections from the sites. 


February 28, 2018

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 26, 2018

Lorrene Ritchie and Ken Hecht present at National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference

Lorrene Ritchie will be speaking and Ken Hecht will be moderating a session at the National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference in Washington, D.C., on Monday, February 26, 2018. The session is on "Brand New Research to Help You Make a Success of New Child and Adult Care Food Programs (CACFP) Meal Patterns" and will provide the most recent research and insight on CACFP programs and provider practices and strategies. The National Anti-Hunger Policy Conference, co-sponsored by the Food Research & Action Center (FRAC) and Feeding America, and in cooperation with the National CACFP Forum, draws anti-hunger and anti-poverty advocates; federal, state and local government officials; child advocates; representatives of food banks and food rescue organizations; sponsoring organizations and nutrition and anti-obesity groups.


February 22, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Punam Ohri-Vachaspati examines the role of policy and environment in shaping behavior and health outcomes

Punam Ohri-Vachaspati PhD, MS, RD, professor of nutrition in the School of Nutrition and Health Promotion at Arizona State University (ASU) discusses the role of policy and environment in shaping behavior and health outcomes. Ohri-Vachaspati leads the ASU Food Environment and Policy Research Group. She teaches graduate-level courses and mentors students interested in exploring public health approaches for improving healthy food access, eating behaviors and health outcomes. In 2016-17, Ohri-Vachaspati completed the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health Policy Fellowship, working on health care and nutrition issues in Senator Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-NY) office. Ohri-Vachaspati will be speaking about her NIH-funded research projects.


February 21, 2018

Christina Hecht and Laura Vollmer present at Healthy Beverage Summit

Christina Hecht and Laura Vollmer of the Nutrition Policy Institute and the National Drinking Water Alliance will present an interactive session on "Forging a Path Ahead: Developing a Roadmap to Healthy Beverages" at the Notah Begay III (NB3) Foundation's Healthy Beverage Summit. The NB3 Foundation is a national, award-winning Native American nonprofit organization dedicated to reducing Native American childhood obesity and type 2 diabetes. Held in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the Healthy Beverage Summit brings together community members, organizations and agencies committed to reducing the consumption of sugary beverages among Native American children.


February 15, 2018

Lorrene Ritchie and Wendi Gosliner examine children’s sugary beverage and water consumption; publish findings in American Journal of Preventive Medicine

The Nutrition Policy Institute’s Lorrene Ritchie and Wendi Gosliner are co-authors of "Sugar-Sweetened Beverage and Water Intake in Relation to Diet Quality in U.S. Children" to be published in print in the March 2018 issue of the American Journal of Preventive Medicine and available online now. This study examines whether children’s sugary beverage and water intakes are associated with diet quality and total energy intake. The study concluded that children who consume sugary beverages have poorer diet quality and higher total energy intake than children who do not consume sugary beverages. The study recommended that interventions for obesity and chronic disease focus on replacing sugary beverage consumption.


February 15, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Ronit Ridberg on Wholesome Wave’s Fruit and Vegetable Prescription (FVRx) Program

Ronit Ridberg MS, PhD candidate at the UC Davis School of Nursing’s Nursing Science and Health Care Leadership Program, will share preliminary results from her dissertation research, which uses data from Wholesome Wave’s Fruit and Vegetable Prescription (FVRx) Program and asks “Does a fruit and vegetable prescription program increase household-level food security and children’s produce consumption?”


February 13, 2018

Equitable Food Initiative cites BFI, NPI work in testimony before California Senate

Equitable Food Initiative gave a presentation on creating a harassment-free culture in California to a joint hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee; Senate Select Committee on Women, Work, and Families; and Legislative Women’s Caucus. Nutrition Policy Institute's Ron Strochlic's work with colleagues at the Berkeley Food Institute was cited. Read the research: Improved Farm Labor Conditions. Hear the podcast: Harvesting Equitable Food.


February 12, 2018

Lorrene Ritchie discusses healthy lifestyles for city-dwellers in WalletHub survey

In WalletHub's survey of the healthiest and unhealthiest cities in the United States, Nutrition Policy Institute Director Lorrene Ritchie discusses healthy lifestyles for city-dwellers, emphasizing the importance of having opportunities for healthy eating and active living in your neighborhood. 


February 8, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Stutee Khandelwal on dietary interventions for clinical practice

Stutee Khandelwal MD, MPH, assistant professor of Medicine in the Department of Internal Medicine, UCSF Fresno Medical Education Program, will discuss dietary interventions for clinical practice. This is a special NPI Brown Bag seminar, in partnership with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health-Public Health Nutrition program, and the UC Berkeley-UCSF Joint Medical Program. This talk is oriented to students, medical residents and clinical practitioners, however NPI staff and NPI Brown Bag invitees are welcome and encouraged to join. We recommend attending via Zoom due to limited capacity.


February 7, 2018

Suzanna Martinez speaks at CSU Basic Needs Initiative Conference

Nutrition Policy Institute Assistant Researcher Suzanna Martinez PhD, MS presented a talk on "College food security research: State of the science” on February 7 at the California State University “Addressing Basic Needs in the CSU: Supporting Student Success" conference, held at Sacramento State University. Co-presenting with Martinez was Cal Poly’s Aydin Nazmi. The conference featured a variety of speakers and breakout sessions to help equip campuses with knowledge to successfully develop and deliver basic needs services to their students.


February 1, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Daniel A. Rodríguez on the role of transportation and land use in obesity

Daniel A. Rodríguez, Chancellor's Professor in the Department of City and Regional Planning at UC Berkeley, will discuss his research, which focuses on the relationship between transportation, land development, and the health and environmental impacts that follow. His most recent work focuses on the health and equity impacts of urban transportation policy. A majority of Professor Rodríguez’s work is driven by practical problems and finding solutions for planners and policy-makers. Working within the health, nutrition, economics, engineering, geography and public policy disciplines, he has examined how changes to the physical attributes of the environment, such as the location of bus routes, rail lines, supermarkets and trails, are related to changes in physical activity.


January 25, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Carmen Byker Shanks discusses contributors to fruit and vegetable consumption in diverse food environments

Carmen Byker Shanks PhD, RD, associate professor of Food, Nutrition and Sustainable Food Systems at Montana State University and Food and Health Lab principal investigator, presented her research examining disparities in availability, affordability, quality and desirability of fruits and vegetables in rural versus urban food environments as measured by observational surveys, consumer sensory testing and total phenolic concentration. Her findings indicate that fruits and vegetables were significantly lower in quality and desirability in all three measures on the basis of rurality and that intervention strategies should aim to increase fruit and vegetable quality and desirability in rural food environments to promote consumption. Watch a video of this NPI Brown Bag.


January 9, 2018

NPI Brown Bag: Jenny Mulholland-Beahrs discusses the California Outdoor Engagement Coalition

Jenny Mulholland-Beahrs, director of the California Outdoor Engagement Coalition, will provide an overview of the coalition’s vision, mission, priorities, partnerships and projects, and then lead a discussion. Through cross-sector partnerships, the coalition expands transformational experiences in the outdoors for youth who reflect the overall demographics of California. Partners include the National Park Service, California State Parks, the Sierra Club, Latino Outdoors and OutDoor Afro.


December 29, 2017

No joke: The reality of the starving student and what UC is doing to help

The Nutrition Policy Institute has published a blog post on the UC ANR Food Blog detailing UC's work to identify and combat student food insecurity and housing insecurity, both of which threaten students' health as well as their academic achievements. Titled "No joke: the reality of the starving student and what UC is doing to help," the blog post traces the history of UC's involvement in the issue, from the first Student Food Access and Security Study authored by the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute's Lorrene Ritchie and Suzanna Martinez and UC Santa Barbara's Katie Maynard, to the most recent report, Global Food Initiative: Food and Housing Security at the University of California, which included NPI’s Ritchie and Martinez as contributors.


December 20, 2017

UC Global Food Initiative publishes new food and housing security study and strategies for addressing basic needs security

Food and Housing Security at the University of California, a new report and executive summary, has been published by the UC Global Food Initiative. The new report builds on the initial Student Food Access and Security Study, conducted by the Nutrition Policy Institute’s Lorrene Ritchie and Suzanna Martinez, which found that 48 percent of the university’s undergraduates and 25 percent of its graduate students experience some level of food insecurity, and led to UC actions to help students regularly access nutritious food on campus and off. The new report, which included NPI’s Ritchie and Martinez as contributors, provides information on the university’s latest data collection efforts and strategies for addressing basic needs (food and housing) security. The Global Food Initiative also published a summary of UC's efforts to address student food and housing security since the Global Food Initiative was launched. 


December 19, 2017

Research to Action highlights support for rural food banks

The December 2017 issue of the Nutrition Policy Institute’s Research to Action focuses on the critical role that regional and rural food banks and their affiliated food pantries play in distributing emergency food to low-income households and suggests ways we can help support these food banks.


Please see additional news items in our News section

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