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

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Nutrition Policy Institute researches present at the American Society for Nutrition's first-ever all-virtual conference

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the American Society for Nutrition will host Nutrition 2020, their annual conference, virtually for the first time ever. The conference will take place online on June 1-4, 2020, and is completely free for attendees, who can join from anywhere in the world. Two Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) researchers will present their latest research as part of the virtual offerings. Marisa Tsai, NPI data analyst, will present two virtual abstracts titled 'Dimensions of School Food Environments and Their Association with Anthropometric and Dietary Outcomes in Children: The Healthy Communities Study' and 'Healthy Default Beverages in Kids' Meals: Evaluating Policy Adherence and Impact in California'. Hannah Thompson, NPI epidemiologist and an affiliated researcher with the UC Berkeley School of Public Health, will present an abstract titled 'The impact of a district-wide chocolate milk removal policy on secondary students' milk purchasing and consumption'. Dr. Thompson's abstract will also have an on-demand virtual presentation available. There is no set time schedule for the virtual abstract presentations. The abstracts will be available through the meeting's online schedule planner and mobile app. Individuals interested in attending Nutrition 2020 can register for free online

Posted on Monday, June 1, 2020 at 10:00 AM

New study from Nutrition Policy Institute affiliated researchers shows higher retail prices for sugar sweetened beverages after excise taxes

Oakland and San Francisco, Calif. became the first large, western U.S. cities to pass excise taxes on sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB) in November 2016 with the goal of reducing SSB consumption and raising revenues for public health education. Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) affiliated researchers examined how much the excise taxes increased retail pricesforSSBs in Oakland and San Francisco. In their latest study, they found that retail pricesofSSBs significantly increased by approximately the amount of the excise taxes–1 cent per fluid ounce–within four to 10 months of implementation. The prices of beverages that were not taxed–water, milk, and 100% juice–were unaffected. The study was published online on May 21, 2020 in the American Journal of Public Health by lead author Jennifer Falbe with the University of California (UC), Davis Department of Human Ecology. The study was conducted in collaboration with Scott Kaplan of the UC Berkeley Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics, Alberto Ortega Hinijosa of IMPAQ International, Kristine Madsen of the Berkeley Food Institute and UC Berkeley School of Public health, and Matthew Lee and Nadia Rojas of UC Berkeley School of Public Health.

Posted on Thursday, May 28, 2020 at 11:00 AM

Nutrition Policy Institute study suggests that obesity prevention programs and policies should be implemented in multiple settings to be most effective

Nutrition Policy Institute's director and cooperative extension specialist Lorrene Ritchie and colleagues published a new study suggesting that efforts to prevent childhood obesity may be more effective when community programs and policies are both intensive and are implemented in multiple settings in which children live, learn, and play. This finding has important implications for practitioners, suggesting that to be effective communities need to plan a sufficient number of programs and policies of higher intensity (i.e. longer duration, fuller reach, and greater strength of strategies) among multiple settings where children can be exposed to these interventions. The study was published in Preventing Chronic Disease on May 7, 2020 by lead author Vicki Collie-Akers from the University of Kansas Medical Center along with co-authors Stephen Fawcett, Jerry Schultz, Kandace Fleming and Rebecca Swinburne Romine also from the University of Kansas, as well as Edward Frongillo from the University of South Carolina, and Sonia Arteaga from the National Institutes of Health. Study data were collected in 2013-2015 from 130 communities across the United States as part of the in the cross-sectional Healthy Communities Study, a six-year observational study funded by the National Institutes of Health.

 

Posted on Thursday, May 14, 2020 at 3:30 PM

New book ‘Bite Back: People Taking on Corporate Food and Winning’ features chapter written by NPI’s Wendi Gosliner and Kristine Madsen

Industrial diets—rich in processed, refined foods and beverages high in fat, salt and sugar and low in nutrient density—have proliferated in the U.S. and across the world. A new book titled Bite Back: People Taking on Corporate Food and Winning, edited by Saru Jayaraman and Kathryn De Master from the University of California, Berkeley, describes how the industrial diet and the systems supporting it emerged and how they retain dominance. The book features a chapter written by Wendi Gosliner, senior researcher and policy advisor at the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI), in collaboration with Kristine Madsen, associate professor at the UC Berkeley School of Public Health and faculty director of the Berkeley Food Institute. Gosliner and Madsen describe how the food industry worked to exploit human biology and physiology by engineering hyper-palatable irresistible food and beverage products, flooding our physical and social environments with these products and cues to consume them, then using their profits to wield political power to reinforce the policies and systems that make these products less expensive and more convenient than healthier alternatives. The chapter also provides examples of how people can collaborate to counteract this dominance. The first edition book was released in May 2020 by University of California Press, and is recommended for college courses on food policy and food, environment & society.

 

Posted on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 5:00 PM

Grantee experiences from the CDFA Healthy Stores Refrigeration Grant Program captured in new NPI report

Wendi Gosliner, Senior Researcher and Policy Advisor at the Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI), with Marisa Tsai and Elsa Esparza, examined experiences among umbrella organization grantees of the California Department of Food and Agriculture (CDFA) Healthy Stores Refrigeration Grant Program. The Healthy Stores Refrigeration Grant Program provides energy-efficient refrigeration units for corner stores in low-income areas to stock California-grown fresh produce, nuts and minimally processed foods. Findings from the participants, who were primarily composed of organizations operating healthy retail programs, shed light on ways in which the program is working well, as well as opportunities for improvement. The full report is available online.

Posted on Wednesday, May 13, 2020 at 3:00 PM

Nutrition Policy Institute study suggests that child care sites participating in CACFP offer more fruits and vegetables to infants

Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) researchers' new study of 297 licensed California child care providers that care for infants suggests that those participating in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) offered fruits and vegetables more often and sweetened yogurt less often to infants in their care compared to sites that did not participate in the CACFP. Additionally, more CACFP participants compared to those that did not participate in CACFP were in alignment with the current recommendations to not offer cow's milk to infants prior to their first birthday. However, the study also showed that CACFP participants were less likely to usually provide breastmilk to infants, suggesting the need for additional support and recommendations for CACFP participants on breastfeeding resources for providers and families. The study was conducted in 2016 prior to updates to the CACFP nutrition standards which went into effect in October 2017. Results from the study were published online ahead of print on April 29, 2020 in the Maternal and Child Health Journal. The state-wide child care study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Healthy Eating Research Program, and was conducted by NPI's Lorrene Ritchie, Danielle Lee, Klara Gurzo (currently with Stockholm University Department of Public Health Sciences), and Lilly Nhan (currently with University of California, Los Angeles Fielding School of Public Health) in collaboration with Elyse Homel Vitale of the Child Care Food Program Roundtable (previously with California Food Policy Advocates) and Sallie Yoshida of Social Policy Research Associates (previously with Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health Research & Evaluation).

Posted on Tuesday, May 5, 2020 at 11:00 AM

New flyers on the safety of eating produce and help buying fresh produce for those in need during COVID-19

In collaboration with the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine Center for Community Health and ideas42, the Nutrition Policy Institute's Wendi Gosliner and Ron Strochlic developed new flyers to help address concerns about produce safety during the coronavirus pandemic. The flyers also include information on what help is available to help people in need buy fresh produce, highlighting CalFresh, school meals, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC), food distribution sites, senior meals, and the nutrition incentive program which allows low-income shoppers to match their food dollars on fruits and vegetables at participating farmer's markets. The flyers are available in both English and Spanish.

Posted on Monday, May 4, 2020 at 10:00 AM

Nutrition Policy Institute researchers receive a grant to study the challenges faced by California families with young children on WIC due to COVID-19

Nutrition Policy Institute Director and Cooperative Extension Specialist Lorrene Ritchie received a $100,000 grant from The David & Lucile Packard Foundation to study the challenges faced by California families with young children that participate in the USDA Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program for Women, Infants and Children (WIC) during the COVID-19 pandemic. The project is in collaboration with Shannon Whaley, director of research and evaluation at Public Health Foundation Enterprise-WIC. The project will identify barriers that WIC participants in California are experiencing in using WIC food benefits. It will also identify WIC families short-term unmet basic needs, such as food and housing insecurity, as well as access to unemployment benefits, health care, and childcare, while required to remain at home. The project will also identify how California WIC agencies are implementing federal waivers and other modifications to WIC services due to COVID-19 that can be later used to inform WIC. The 12-month project will begin on May 1, 2020 with NPI researcher Nicole Vital as the project manager.  

Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 12:30 PM

New Centers for Disease Control and Prevention collaborative study with NPI researchers identifies factors associated with the intake of drinking water among US high school students

Researchers at Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, partnered with researchers at Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health, Stanford University, and Nutrition Policy Institute's Christina Hecht, investigated factors associated with the intake of drinking water among US high school students. Data on 10,698 students was obtained from the 2017 Youth Risk Behavior Survey, a nationally representative sample of US high school students. Because adolescents are the highest consumers of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), and many drink little water, the study sought to understand the associations between plain water intake and youths' demographics, academic grades and other behavioral factors. The understandings gained may inform interventions to increase consumption of water in place of SSBs among US adolescents. Almost half (48.7%) of high school students reported little plain water consumption (only two or fewer times per day) and nearly one-quarter (24.6%) drank plain water less than once per day. Analysis using logistic regression found that factors most strongly associated with low plain water consumption were regular consumption of soda (≥1 time per day) and low consumption of vegetables (report was published in the American Journal of Health Promotion on March 18, 2020. 

Posted on Thursday, April 23, 2020 at 11:30 AM

Nutrition Policy Institute submits comments to USDA in opposition of proposed rule to roll back nutrition standards for meals in child care and school

The Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) submitted on April 22, 2020 comments in strong opposition to the US Department of Agriculture's (USDA) “Simplifying Meal Service and Monitoring Requirements in the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs” proposed rule. The proposed rule would roll back nutrition standards in both the Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) and the National School Lunch and School Breakfast Programs. For nearly twenty years, researchers at the NPI and its predecessor organization have engaged in research and evaluation to improve nutrition policy in California and the nation, with special emphasis on the challenges for low-income children in accessing a healthy diet. "Today, in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, these challenges have been greatly magnified," commented NPI Policy Director Ken Hecht. "The numbers of unemployed low-income families whose children need nutrition assistance has grown exponentially at the very time when schools, the operating site for most child nutrition programs, are closed. Fortunately, Congress and the USDA have acted quickly to expand and ease access to the essential food programs. Unfortunately, the proposed rules to which these comments are addressed seem largely counterproductive to children's health and well being and unresponsive to the pandemic."

Posted on Wednesday, April 22, 2020 at 5:15 PM

Nutrition Policy Institute and UC Berkeley researchers receive grant to study impact of COVID-19 mitigation measures on economically disadvantaged Californians

Nutrition Policy Institute Senior Researcher and Policy Advisor Wendi Gosliner along with her colleagues Professor Lia Fernald at the University of California (UC), Berkeley School of Public Health and Dr. Rtia Hamad of UC San Francisco received a $10,000 grant from the Berkeley Population Center to conduct a study entitled, “EffectsofCOVID-19 Mitigation Strategies on Economically Disadvantaged Children and Families in California." They will be interviewing 30 families with young children in Alameda, Merced, and LosAngeles counties to capture the impacts of coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) mitigation strategies -- shelter-in-place orders and school closures -- as well as safety net responses -- increased CalFresh benefits for some and changes in school meals -- on families' well being and food security. The study aims to capture knowledge, perceptions, and utilization of various supports during the crisis and ways in which current and future policy response measures could better meet families' needs.

Posted on Tuesday, April 21, 2020 at 5:30 PM

Nutrition Policy Institute's Christina Hecht is keynote speaker at CSU Northridge Public Policy Day on April 20

Christina Hecht, senior policy advisor for the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute, was the keynote speaker at the California State University, Northridge (CSUN) Food and Nutrition Public Policy Day. The all-day event was hosted online on Monday, April 2020 by the CSUN Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics. The theme was 'Legislation for All', and attendees learned from a variety of experts about the critical food and nutrition issues affecting California communities as well as how to make an impact through advocacy and public policy.

Posted on Monday, April 20, 2020 at 12:00 PM

Nutrition Policy Institute researcher Lauren Au receives 2020 Tufts University Friedman Rising Star Award

Nutrition Policy Institute associate researcher, Lauren Au, is the honored recipient of the 2020 Tufts University Friedman Rising Star Award for making significant contributions to the nutrition field and demonstrating a continued commitment to effect change. Lauren is described as “an exceptionally capable researcher, mentor, and colleague, who has consistently demonstrated her commitment to the pursuit of a research career”. Lauren graduated with her PhD in Food Policy and Applied Nutrition from Tufts in 2013.

Posted on Saturday, April 18, 2020 at 10:00 AM

Lorrene Ritchie quoted in YubaNet article on access to healthy food during COVID-19

Lorrene Ritchie, director and cooperative extension specialist of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute, was quoted in an April 16, 2020 article on YubaNet.com titled "Urban ag supplies fresh fruits and vegetables, part of a healthy diet". The article discusses the importance of healthy eating during the COVID-19 pandemic and highlights efforts to ensure local residents have access to fresh fruits and vegetables. Dr. Ritchie is quoted, “Eating fruits and vegetables is known to benefit our overall health and help our immune system. At a time when we need to be especially vigilant about staying healthy, eating healthy is essential.” The article also featured timely information on how to access local food resources from University of California Cooperative Extension advisors and specialists. YubaNet.com covers local news for readers in Nevada City, Grass Valley, and Truckee – the three biggest towns in Nevada County, California.

Posted on Friday, April 17, 2020 at 11:00 AM

New study from Nutrition Policy Institute shows beverages improve in child care after California's 2010 Healthy Beverages in Child Care Act

Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) researchers' latest study of 680 licensed child care providers across California evaluating adherence to California's 2010 Healthy Beverages in Child Care Act (CA AB2084) suggests that nearly half were adherent to the policy in 2016, an increase from about one quarter shortly after the policy was implemented in 2012. The study was published in Preventing Chronic Disease. California's AB2084 policy requires licensed child care sites to (1) serve only lowfat or nonfat milk to children two years of age or older, (2) limit juice to not more than one serving per day of 100-percent juice, (3) serve no beverages with added sweeteners, either natural or artificial, and (4) make clean and safe drinking water readily available and accessible for consumption throughout the day. These requirements align with the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) nutrition standards. Providers participating in CACFP and child care centers were found to be more compliant than those not participating in CACFP and family child care homes, respectively. In 2016, providers were most adherent to the sugar-sweetened beverages (97%) and 100% juice (91%) requirements, while fewer were adherent to the requirements on drinking water (77%) and milk (65%). To support increased adherence to the beverage policy, NPI collaborated with Abbey Alkon from the UC San Francisco School of Nursing and California Childcare Health Program to develop a free online training in English and Spanish for California child care providers, funded by the UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources. The statewide child care study was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Healthy Eating Research Program, and was conducted in collaboration with Elyse Homel Vitale of the Child Care Food Program Roundtable (previously with California Food Policy Advocates) and Sallie Yoshida of Social Policy Research Associates (previously with Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health Research & Evaluation).

Posted on Wednesday, April 15, 2020 at 12:00 PM

New study from Nutrition Policy Institute highlights more nutritious foods and beverages for children at child care sites participating in the Child and Adult Care Food Program

Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) researchers' latest study on the quality of beverages, meals and snacks served to young children in licensed child care settings in California suggests sites that participate in the federal Child and Adult Care Food Program (CACFP) are more likely to provide nutritious foods and beverages compared to sites that do not participate in CACFP. The study is available online ahead of print in the Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior. The CACFP is a program of the United States Department of Agriculture that reimburses child care institutions and family child care home providers for providing nutritious meals and snacks to the children in their care aged birth up to twelve years old. The project was funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Healthy Eating Research Program, and was conducted in collaboration with Elyse Homel Vitale of the Child Care Food Program Roundtable (previously with California Food Policy Advocates at the time of the study) and Sallie Yoshida of Social Policy Research Associates (previously with Sarah Samuels Center for Public Health Research & Evaluation. 

Posted on Monday, April 13, 2020 at 5:00 PM

Nutrition Policy Institute welcomes Sibani Michael Bose as new Chief Business Officer

The UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute welcomed Sibani Michael Bose to our team on April 6, 2020 to serve as our new Chief Business Officer. Bose is a higher education administrator who spent 13 years working at the University of California, Berkeley after obtaining her bachelor's degree there. She comes to us very skilled in contracts and grants administration as well as human resources management and strategic planning. Bose relocated from the Los Angeles region where she was Business Manager at the City of Hope National Medical Center. She brings extensive experience working with academics, staff, and students.

Posted on Monday, April 6, 2020 at 9:30 AM

Collaborative Nutrition Policy Institute study sheds light on challenges of increasing school lunch participation

Nutrition Policy Institute (NPI) and UC Berkeley School of Public Health researchers published a new study in partnership with the San Francisco Unified School District (SFUSD) on the impact of a multi-component intervention to increase students' lunch participation in SFUSD public middle and high schools. The study, titled "The Impact of a Multipronged Intervention to Increase School Lunch Participation among Secondary School Students in an Urban Public School District" was published in Childhood Obesity by UC Berkeley researchers Hannah Thompson and Kristine Madsen; NPI's Wendi Gosliner and Lorrene Ritchie; UC Berkeley doctoral alumna Annie Reed; and SFUSD's Orla O'Keefe and Kate Wobbekind. Data are from a 3-year quasi-randomized study among 24 secondary schools, half of which received an intervention including cafeteria redesign, additional school lunch points-of-sale (mobile carts and vending machines), and teacher education. This research was funded by USDA's Agriculture and Food Research Initiative (AFRI) program.

Posted on Friday, April 3, 2020 at 1:30 PM

Lorrene Ritchie quoted in New York Times article on stockpiling food during the COVID-19 pandemic

Lorrene Ritchie, director and cooperative extension specialist of the UC ANR Nutrition Policy Institute, was interviewed for a March 31, 2020 article in The New York Times, Don't Overdo the Coronavirus Stockpiling. The article discusses how to shop for food responsibly, without overstocking your pantry, and why you should only buy what you need. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends individuals and families stock up to two-weeks of food at home during the pandemic. “Presuming you get sick and all your family's going to be quarantined, then only that amount of food is what you need," said Dr. Ritchie in the article. This article was also featured in a UC ANR news article, Empty store shelves are not a sign of impending disaster

Posted on Wednesday, April 1, 2020 at 12:00 PM

An update on COVID-19 and the Nutrition Policy Institute

To mitigate the spread of COVID-19 in California, University of California (UC) campuses, the UC Office of the President, UC Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources (ANR) and the Nutrition Policy Institute are working to protect our community by issuing guidance to minimize face-to-face interactions, reduce commuting and travel, and enable social distancing. On March 16, six San Francisco Bay Area counties announced shelter-in-place orders, and the UC Office of the President in Oakland extended their telecommute date through least April 7 to align with county directives. Nutrition Policy Institute has also adjusted the proposed end date for our telecommuting and limited on-site operations status to April 7 in order to align with UC Office of the President. For more information on how UC is responding to the COVID-19 pandemic, please visit this link. To contact any of us at NPI, please visit our NPI staff page online.

Posted on Wednesday, March 18, 2020 at 10:30 AM

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