Legislative-Briefs-Government-actions-on-obesity

Legislative Briefs: Government actions on obesity

New Orleans holds first summit on childhood obesity
More than 100 health professionals, education advocates, business representatives and community leaders converged in New Orleans, all in the name of addressing childhood obesity.

Building on each others’ strengths is vital, Mayor Mitch Landrieu told the group gathered at City Park Sept. 29.

The city's first forum on childhood obesity focused on identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the area's existing resources and programs. Among the panelists and speakers was Kate Parker-Karst, assistant director of the Tulane Prevention Research Center.

Going forward, the city will hold strategic planning sessions for developing targets and measures, as well as policies and programs that support healthy eating and active lifestyles. Ultimately, the goal is to develop a shared community action agenda aimed at eliminating childhood obesity and helping families achieve healthy weight.

"Solving this public health epidemic will require personal responsibility matched with system and institutional level changes that make good, healthier choices easier," Dr. Karen DeSalvo, the City's Health Commissioner and Senior Health Policy Advisor to the Mayor, said in a news release. "The steps we took today will be the foundation of our journey to make the City of New Orleans a much healthier city."

Land use and its effect on your health
The Tulane Prevention Research Center is among several organizations educating the public and city officials as they update New Orleans' zoning law, which is a set of rules for developing land under certain categories, such as residential, commercial and industrial. The city's zoning, called the Comprehensive Zoning Ordinance, is being updated through a multi-phase process that includes community meetings and other opportunities for public input.

Several sections of the proposed zoning law already promote best practices for active living, such as increasing bicycle parking. With one out of five households in New Orleans lacking access to a private car or truck, many residents commute on bikes.

Still, more can be done to support and encourage cycling and walking. The PRC is providing model language for zoning that would increase pedestrian safety and convenience by requiring sidewalks to be well lit and visible from inside buildings.

Such rules go hand-in-hand with those that increase residents' access to healthy food and decrease access to fast food. While proposed zoning rules allow broad use of community gardens and the onsite sale of produce, the PRC is also educating planners on federal laws that require all residents, including those with disabilities, to have access to such gardens. In addition, the PRC is sharing standards for green markets to accept benefits from food aid programs like Women, Infants and Children (WIC) and Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The PRC is also providing model language for creating a "healthy food store use" to reward traditional food outlets that dedicate a specific portion of their shelf space to healthy food items.

The placement of fast-food restaurants and the convenience of drive-through service is another health-related zoning issue. The PRC is educating city planners about other governments that have required new fast-food outlets be at least 1,500 feet from public parks and youth-oriented buildings, such as community centers, child care centers, public libraries and K-12 schools. Additionally, the PRC is providing model language that bans new permits for drive-through service at fast-food restaurants.

The City Planning Commission is encouraging residents to send in their comments regarding the draft zoning law by Nov. 1 so they can be incorporated into the updated CZO draft set to be release after Mardis Gras 2012. For information about the comprehensive zoning ordinance and to submit a written comment, visit nolamasterplan.org.

State Health Department vows reforms for hospital food
Louisiana government-run hospitals will become beacons of health by serving more nutritious foods, the state's leading health official said at the Pennington Biomedical Research Center's 4th Annual Childhood Obesity and Public Health Conference on Sept. 14 in Baton Rouge.

Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce Greenstein announced his department's healthy foods environment initiative to roughly 500 conference attendees. The state is setting up a new food-service contract to revamp the nutritional content of foods served at all of its hospitals, nursing homes, behavioral health facilities, and other properties. Other public health leaders, like Pennington and state nutritionist Pam Romero, helped draft the department's food service request for proposals, which is sent to food companies for them to bid on.

"We need to lead by example," Greenstein said. "It's going to be the strongest (request for proposal) for state government in the country when it comes out."

The state is also preparing to launch Living Well Louisiana wellness guidelines and resources, such as videos and online progress tracking tools, for schools, businesses and government offices. On Nov. 15, Greenstein said, Gov. Bobby Jindal's administration will release its statewide vision for addressing the obesity epidemic, in conjunction with the release of Pennington's 2011 Louisiana Report Card on Physical Activity and Health for Children and Youth.

"We need to come together with one vision, one state strategic plan," Greenstein said.

Topics:   obesity , community health , policy , built environment , food environment

Other Related Posts

If-you-serve-it-will-they-eat

If you serve it, will they eat?

Food Environment Research Special Interest Projects (SIPs)

Published: June 13, 2017

When it comes to healthy eating for kids, public health experts often look to schools for answers because children spend much of their time and consume much of their calories there. And thanks to national childhood obesity initiatives over the past several years, salad bars are showing up in schools across the country. But do they work? In New Orleans, the national Let's Move! Salad Bars to Schools initiative donated salad bar structures to 43…

Read More

Shopping-at-farmers-markets-and-preparing-food-at-home-are-key-in-healthier-diet

Shopping at farmers markets and preparing food at home are key in healthier diet

Core Research Food Environment Research

Published: June 08, 2017

When residents of two New Orleans neighborhoods tended to shop at a farmer's market or prepare food at home, they also tended to eat more fresh fruits and vegetables, according to a recently published study by the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC). The study was published in the journal Preventive Medicine Reports in June 2017, and study authors included partners from the project's steering committee. (Click the picture above to see the committee members who…

Read More

Tulane-PRC-receives-grant-to-support-long-standing-local-committee-for-healthy-food-access

Tulane PRC receives grant to support long-standing local committee for healthy food access

Food Environment Research Special Interest Projects (SIPs)

Published: June 08, 2017

Building on its history to improve the availability of fresh, healthy foods in New Orleans, the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) was recently awarded funding from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to support the work of the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee to increase healthy eating opportunities for children and families. "FPAC is grateful for the opportunity to continue our work to guide New Orleans toward a healthier, more sustainable food system," said Elisa…

Read More

Tulane-graduate-student-works-with-community-to-enhance-greenway-

Tulane graduate student works with community to enhance greenway

Education & Engagement

Published: June 05, 2017

As New Orleans continues to roll forward new initiatives to create a more active and healthy community, one Tulane graduate had the opportunity to support one – the city's longest linear public park – as part of Tulane Prevention Research Center’s (PRC) Health Promotion Practicum program. The Lafitte Greenway is a 2.6-mile multi-use trail that allows both pedestrians and cyclists to travel from Mid-City to the French Quarter while connecting neighborhoods, green spaces, and recreation…

Read More

Staff-Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Education & Engagement

Published: June 02, 2017

Megan Knapp, MPH, is a doctoral student and research assistant at the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC). She supervises data entry and assists with PRC activities that aim to reduce or prevent overweight and obesity in the Greater New Orleans area. As a PhD student at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine, she is studying under the Department of Global Community Health and Behavioral Sciences. She is a graduate of Emory University…

Read More

PRC-network-hosts-Food-and-Obesity-Symposium

PRC network hosts Food and Obesity Symposium

Education & Engagement Food Environment Research

Published: June 02, 2017

More than 100 people gathered in Philadelphia this spring to discuss the availability and marketing of healthy and unhealthy food in their communities. The University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center (UPenn PRC) hosted the day-long symposium "Accelerating Policies & Research on Food Access, Diet, and Obesity Prevention" on April 28. The meeting brought together prevention health researchers and public health advocates to discuss today's food environment and focus on future directions for this important health…

Read More

Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

Education & Engagement

Published: June 02, 2017

Lots of exciting stuff coming up. The Tulane Prevention Research Center is hosting two community events and we look forward to seeing you there. The Movin' for LIFE 9th Ward Family Health Fair will be held at St. Mary of the Angels Church Gym, 3501 N. Miro St., New Orleans LA, on Saturday, August 12, 2017, from 10 am to 3 pm. Movin' for LIFE is encouraging families to come and have fun, learn about…

Read More

Community-Partner-Updates

Community Partner Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: June 02, 2017

See what our Community Advisory Board (CAB) members and partners have been up to! Click on the photo for a gallery of pictures and read updates below. To find out more about our partners, click here to visit our Community Partners page. PHOTO 1: This spring the New Orleans Health Department announced a partnership with bike advocacy nonprofit Bike Easy and the New Orleans Police Department to train PE teachers and crossing guards at 10…

Read More

Tulane-and-City-of-New-Orleans-launch-bike-share-surveys

Tulane and City of New Orleans launch bike share surveys

Education & Engagement

Published: June 02, 2017

The Tulane University community and residents across the city of New Orleans are being asked to voice their opinions and thoughts about bike share in two separate surveys. What is bike share? In Fall 2017, the City of New Orleans will launch a bike share system, powered by Social Bicycles (SoBi). Bike share technology offers online and on-the-spot opportunities to reserve and rent a bike that will take you where you need to go. At…

Read More

Nutrition-Bites-Making-Smart-Food-Choices-at-Festivals

Nutrition Bites: Making Smart Food Choices at Festivals

Education & Engagement

Published: June 01, 2017

As the summer months approach, so do a wide variety of food and music festivals. The summer includes French Market Creole Tomato Festival, ESSENCE Festival, Satchmo SummerFest, and the list goes on and on. With so many delicious food and drink options to be found, it can be tough to make healthy choices. Below are some simple tips on how to enjoy the festivals throughout the season without packing on the extra pounds. Keep portions…

Read More

canary