Legislative-Briefs-Government-actions-on-obesity

Legislative Briefs: Government actions on obesity

New director of New Orleans Health Department takes up mission to become a fit city
The New Orleans Health Department's new Director Charlotte Morgan Parent, a longtime nurse and public health practitioner, is leading local government toward the goal of becoming a top ten fittest city by 2018.
Parent took the leadership position earlier this year after former Director Karen DeSalvo accepted a Presidential appointment at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). Parent previously served as deputy director of the New Orleans Health Department.
Parent has been a leader of the transformation of the New Orleans Health Department from a direct service provider to a true public health entity. In recognition of its success, the Department received the 2013 Robert Wood Johnson Roadmaps to Health Prize for its transformational work. The department has also organized the citywide Fit NOLA initiative, a partnership of 100 local organizations all focused on health and fitness.
"The Health Department is on a great trajectory, and I'm excited to have the opportunity to continue moving us toward becoming the healthy city we envision," Parent said. "Promoting physical activity and healthy eating through Fit NOLA continues to be a major priority. It is wonderful to work with such dedicated and talented partners, and we continue to welcome new partners to the table who want to be a part of this inspiring movement. Together, we'll reach our goal of becoming a top ten fit city."
Parent is a registered nurse who specializes in healthcare management with a focus on maternal and child health. She received her diploma in nursing from Charity Hospital School of Nursing, a bachelor's of science degree in nursing from Loyola University New Orleans and a master's degree in healthcare management from the University of New Orleans.
Among her previous accomplishments, Parent served as the Program Director for Healthy Start New Orleans, Director of Maternal and Child Services at Touro Infirmary in New Orleans, an adjunct professor of Nursing at Loyola University in New Orleans, and currently serves on the board of the National Healthy Start Association.
The city's Fit NOLA partnership will hold its Spring Forum on May 30. For information, visit www.facebook.com/FitNOLA or call 504-658-2564.

New Orleans explores bike-share program to promote biking
City officials are studying how a bike-share program could be established in New Orleans. To gather feedback, the city held a series of meetings this spring with representatives from community-based organizations, public health practitioners, healthcare providers, bike advocates and transportation planners.
Bicycle share is a network of bicycles either on their own or at automated kiosks that allows users to make short trips conveniently and affordably. Bicycle share is in over 100 European and 23 American cities, according to the local advocacy group Bike Easy.
Information from the meetings, as well as other research and transportation data, will be used to create a feasibility study. A team of consultants hired by the Office of Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the Regional Planning Commission will produce the study in early summer 2014. The study will look at what type of bike share program will work best in New Orleans, what areas of the city could have a successful bike share program, how to market and promote it, as well as other considerations. The city will use this study to decide whether to move forward with implementing bike share, and if so, more public outreach and input will occur.

Louisiana launches Well-Ahead campaign
Schools, businesses, hospitals and restaurants are the focus of a new statewide initiative to improve health in Louisiana. In April, Governor Bobby Jindal and the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals (DHH) Secretary Kathy Kliebert launched the Well-Ahead Louisiana initiative, which will designate healthy places, called WellSpots, around the state that voluntarily champion and embrace health and wellness.
"Louisiana is a special place, one with incredible festivals, food and music," Gov. Jindal said in a news release. "We love our way of life here, and I want each and every one of us to be able to live longer, healthier, happier lives so that we can cherish and celebrate our culture for years to come."
Well-Ahead Louisiana, a voluntary designation program, encourages organizations and individuals to make healthy lifestyle changes to the spaces where Louisiana residents spend most of their time. Well-Ahead establishes healthy living designation criteria for organizations to follow, such as breastfeeding friendly policies, tobacco-free environments, employee wellness and consistent healthy food offerings.
“Approximately 1.6 million or one in three Louisiana residents are obese," said DHH Secretary Kathy Kliebert in the news release. "We must raise awareness on how Louisianians can improve their wellbeing.”
In 2013, Louisiana spent an estimated $28 billion on the treatment and economic costs of primary chronic diseases, like heart disease, obesity and diabetes.
For information about the campaign, visit www.WellAheadLA.com.

(May 2014)

Topics:   obesity , diet , nutrition , physical activity , built environment , food environment , policy , community health

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