Improving-Louisianas-health-is-forefront-for-lawmaker

Improving Louisiana's health is forefront for lawmaker

By Naomi Englar

State Sen. David Heitmeier, D-New Orleans, is on a mission to improve the state's health this spring with help from the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC).

"As chairman of the Louisiana Senate Health and Welfare Committee, I know we need to make changes statewide if we want to become healthier," Heitmeier said. "The Tulane PRC has provided me with valuable information on best practices, resources and health statistics."
The Tulane PRC conducted research on various state-level solutions that can help improve public health and is sharing the information with the Louisiana State Legislature and other key stakeholders.

"Louisiana is among the unhealthiest states in the nation, ranking 48th in the United Health Foundation’s annual America’s Health Rankings," said Diego Rose, the Tulane PRC's lead faculty on the project. "Two of the most important indicators for this rank are the state's obesity rate and smoking rate. We can facilitate the role of individual responsibility in solving these problems if we successfully tailor our school, neighborhood and office environments so that the healthy choice is the easy choice."

The state's obesity rate is 35 percent of adults, while the smoking rate is 25 percent of adults. To address these rates and costly related diseases, like diabetes and cardiovascular disease, Sen. Heitmeier translated the Tulane PRC's research into the following policy solutions that he authored and introduced for the state's legislative session this spring:

  • State Task Forces and Committees on Obesity: Louisiana currently lacks a statewide task force or committee to coordinate efforts addressing obesity.
  • Menu-Labeling in Restaurants: While the federal government requires calories on chain restaurant menus, the state has some authority to create its own regulations for menu-labeling.
  • Complete Streets: Louisiana has the fifth highest pedestrian death rate in the country. Complete Streets require governments to consider all modes of transportation – cars, walkers, bikers, public transit riders and people with disabilities – when building or repairing roads.
  • Smoke-Free School Zones: All public schools are smoke-free campuses in Louisiana. Zones around schools would extend the smoke-free area beyond campus property.
  • Lactation Support in the Workplace: Louisiana can support working moms by creating rooms or private spaces in more state-owned buildings for mothers to express breast milk.
  • Women, Infants and Children Cash Value Vouchers at Farmers Markets: This WIC food assistance program is currently accepted at farmers markets in some states but not Louisiana.
  • Water Availability in Schools: Promoting drinking water instead of sugary drinks in schools can help improve concentration and energy levels in students and reduce the risk of obesity.
  • Joint-Use Agreements: Allowing local governing entities, like school districts, to share use of properties can help communities access places for physical activity.
  • Farm to School: Because children consume a large portion of calories at school, making local fresh fruits and vegetables part of the meals can improve their diets and help local farmers.

For more information about these strategies, visit the publications section of the Tulane PRC's website by clicking here.

(May 2014)

Topics:   obesity , nutrition , diet , physical activity , school food , built environment , food environment , sidewalks , bike lanes , community health , policy , farmers market , wic , early childhood health ,

Other Related Posts

Evaluation-finds-value-in-culinary-programming-at-school-based-gardens-

Evaluation finds value in culinary programming at school-based gardens

Food Environment Research

Published: September 06, 2018

School-based kitchen garden programs across the country are known to improve fruit and vegetable knowledge and consumption among school children, but their value has not yet been well quantified using research methods. Evaluation of Edible Schoolyard New Orleans (ESYNOLA), coordinated by the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC), sought to share how the whole school community – students, families, teachers, and neighbors – can participate in the growing, harvesting and sharing of food together as a…

Read More

Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

Core Research

Published: September 06, 2018

My message this month is a conflicted one because we have both bad news and good news. It is with a heavy heart that I have to announce the resignation of Keelia O'Malley, MPH, (pictured left) as Assistant Director of the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC). Keelia has been an energetic PRC staff person who has performed 24/7 in her role as supervisor, office manager, grants researcher, community representative and more. Keelia first came to…

Read More

Seminars-to-feature-intersections-of-health-racism-and-communication

Seminars to feature intersections of health, racism, and communication

Education & Engagement

Published: September 04, 2018

A three-part series of public seminars at Tulane is teaching attendees how to communicate about the influence of racism on health by featuring prominent local leaders. "We hope attendees will learn new ways of addressing racism in their work by hearing from leaders working in different settings to further people's health," said Shokufeh Ramirez, Assistant Director of the Tulane Center of Excellence in Maternal and Child Health (CEMCH). "The effects of racism are pervasive and,…

Read More

Legislative-Updates

Legislative Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: September 04, 2018

New Orleans Mayor appointments new city health chief In July, two months after taking office, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell named Jennifer Avegno, MD, to serve as the Director of the New Orleans Department of Health. A New Orleans native, Avegno previously served as the Director of the Division of Community Health Relations & Engagement at LSU Emergency Medicine. She also served in overlapping capacities as an academic faculty member and staff physician throughout New…

Read More

Community-Partner-Updates

Community Partner Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: September 02, 2018

See what our Community Advisory Board (CAB) members and partners have been up to recently! Click on the photo for a gallery of pictures, and read below for related updates. To find out more about our partners, click here to visit our Community Partners page. Bike Easy (Pictures 1-3) This September, Bike Easy and a coalition of partners are working with the City of New Orleans to install a 3-month “pop-up” demonstration of a connected,…

Read More

Walk-Bike-Places-international-conference-features-Tulane-PRC-mobile-workshops

Walk Bike Places international conference features Tulane PRC mobile workshops

Physical Activity Research

Published: September 01, 2018

In September, more than 1,000 professionals and advocates of walking, biking, and place-based improvements will visit New Orleans for the international conference Walk Bike Places. The Tulane Prevention Research Center will participate in the meeting by leading two morning bike-tour mobile workshops: Monday, Sept. 17, 2018: Neighborhood Storytelling Projects of New Orleans Bike Tour, featuring the Tulane PRC's community-based health promotion program Movin' for LIFE Tuesday, Sept. 18, 2018: New Orleans Healthy Food Retail Bike…

Read More

Tulane-alum-takes-helm-of-international-food-and-cooking-education-nonprofit

Tulane alum takes helm of international food and cooking education nonprofit

Education & Engagement

Published: September 01, 2018

Recent Tulane graduate Robert Palestina has his sights set on taking The Cookbook Project, an international nonprofit based in New Orleans, to the next level. Palestina, Tulane SPHTM '18, took over as executive director this summer, after completing a 300-hour internship with the nonprofit in 2017. The internship was facilitated by the Tulane Prevention Research Center's Health Promotion Practicum Program, which matches community partners with public health interns. One of his responsibilities was helping the…

Read More

Team-Spotlight

Team Spotlight

Education & Engagement

Published: September 01, 2018

We had a productive summer thanks to our two outstanding graduate research assistants Emily Szklarski and Rosemary Kovacic. Emily Szklarski (pictured left) joined our staff in March 2018 as our Graduate Communications Research Assistant to work on our e-newsletters – Fitting New Orleans and Healthscaping – as well as maintaining our social media accounts and communications locally and nationally. This summer Emily collaborated with the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine’s Nutrition Section…

Read More

Tulane-PRC-teams-up-with-Blue-Bikes-to-promote-university-discounts

Tulane PRC teams up with Blue Bikes to promote university discounts

Education & Engagement

Published: September 01, 2018

The Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) is teaming up with New Orleans' bike-share program this September to encourage the use of short-term bike rentals and overall bike safety. Blue Bikes, the city's bike-share system, has created a special rate for university faculty, staff, and students. In order to promote this special rate, the Tulane PRC and Tulane Office of Sustainability are hosting a tabling event on Tulane's downtown campus. Local bike advocacy nonprofit Bike Easy…

Read More

Tulane-PRC-surveys-people-using-and-crossing-Lafitte-Greenway-linear-park

Tulane PRC surveys people using and crossing Lafitte Greenway linear park

Education & Engagement Physical Activity Research

Published: June 30, 2018

As New Orleans moves toward 'complete streets', organizations are taking a closer look at non-motorized transportation. More bicycle lanes and walking paths are being installed throughout the city so it is important that pedestrians, cyclists and motorists interact with each other safely. Over the past year, a Tulane team of faculty, staff, and students, have been studying safety and use along the Lafitte Greenway, one of these multi-use paths. The Lafitte Greenway is a 2.6-mile…

Read More

canary