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.



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.


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 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 or 9100 Purdue Road, Suite 200, Indianapolis, IN 46268.


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.


Please see additional news items in our News section

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