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

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

Resilience-building-is-transferable-in-communities-after-a-disaster

Resilience-building is transferable in communities after a disaster

Education & Engagement

Published: June 30, 2018

Many recent high profile natural disasters have increased the urgency of need for successful examples of how to address behavioral health concerns in recovering communities. That's exactly what a diverse team of community health researchers recently examined in Case Study of Resilient Baton Rouge: Applying Depression Collaborative Care and Community Planning to Disaster Recovery. The article, e-published in the June issue of International Journal of Environmental and Public Health illustrates how in the context of…

Read More

Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

Core Research Education & Engagement

Published: June 30, 2018

By September 30th of this year, we will begin the final year of funding for the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) in this 5-year cycle. It is difficult to believe that so much time has gone by so fast. It seems like just yesterday that all of the PRC faculty and staff were frantically involved in the preparation of the grant proposal for funding for the current cycle. We have done so much and made…

Read More

Community-Partner-Updates

Community Partner Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: June 30, 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. Brinton Family Health and Healing Center Photo 1-6 Tulane School of Medicine's Brinton Family Health and Healing Center has been staying busy with their regular wellness programming, including Krewe de…

Read More

Legislative-Updates

Legislative Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: June 30, 2018

Tulane PRC goes to DC Jeanette Gustat, Tulane PRC faculty and Royliene Johnson, Community Service Director at Caffin Avenue Seventh-day Adventist Church and Tulane PRC partner, took a trip to D.C. and met up with representatives from Dartmouth University and University of North Carolina's Prevention Research Centers to educate policymakers and national stakeholder groups on the value of the PRC network."We [PRCs] serve as the link between research and communities, clinics and communities. It is…

Read More

Staff-Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Education & Engagement

Published: June 30, 2018

Keelia O'Malley, MPH, is the assistant director at the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC). Her responsibilities include supervision of PRC staff, coordination of programs and relationships with community advisory board members and partner organizations, and assisting the director in identifying and implementing PRC activities within all of the key elements of the center. Keelia is a graduate of Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine where she received her Master in Public Health…

Read More

Active-Steps-5-Exercises-to-Keep-You-Active-While-Beating-the-Summer-Heat

Active Steps: 5 Exercises to Keep You Active While Beating the Summer Heat

Education & Engagement

Published: June 30, 2018

Summer means warm, humid temperatures that make being outside for more than a few minutes sometimes unbearable. Staying active is important year-round, so regardless of the summer heat, finding ways to keep moving and stay active is key. If it's too hot outdoors to get moving, try doing these 5 exercises indoors. These exercises can be performed outside as well. Regardless of being indoors or outdoors, remember to stay hydrated and always listen to your…

Read More

Nutrition-Bites-Summer-Food-Safety

Nutrition Bites: Summer Food Safety

Education & Engagement

Published: June 30, 2018

Summertime is a season full of outdoor fun and picnics! Barbecues are a popular way to celebrate the season. Even though eating outside is a nice way to take advantage of warmer weather, it is also when bacteria thrive and are more likely to contaminate food. The most common ways that food becomes infected with bacteria at picnics is by leaving food out uncovered, not cooking food to the proper temperatures, and cross-contamination of raw…

Read More

NOLA-LEADs-finds-positive-results-from-citizen-training-program-

NOLA LEADs finds positive results from citizen-training program

Education & Engagement Special Interest Projects (SIPs)

Published: April 10, 2018

Anyone can be a health leader and improve their community, if given the right tools and skills. That’s what the Tulane Prevention Research Center's two-year NOLA LEADs (Leadership Education & Action on health Disparities) citizen-training project has found since completing its work. Keeping with the project's goal of helping all who are concerned about improving the lives of their neighbors and the conditions of their communities, the team has put together a one-page summary to…

Read More

Closing-the-policymaking-gap-Tackling-barriers-to-improving-public-health-in-Louisiana

Closing the policymaking gap: Tackling barriers to improving public health in Louisiana

Education & Engagement

Published: April 08, 2018

When attempting to address Louisiana's consistently low rankings in national health reports, public health professionals can have a positive influence on the policy-making process through research and education, according to recently published work from the Tulane public health researchers. From 2013 to 2014, a team of faculty and staff at the Tulane Nutrition Program and Tulane Prevention Research Center explored strategies for improving public health in Louisiana by conducting policy research and educating lawmakers. The…

Read More

canary