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

Movin-for-LIFE-brings-residents-together-for-active-healthy-fun

Movin' for LIFE brings residents together for active, healthy fun

Core Research

Published: December 18, 2017

Providing ongoing opportunities for healthy living and community building is a major focus for the Movin' for LIFE program, a community-engaged health promotion program of the Tulane Prevention Research Center. (Click on the photo to see a slideshow of photos from Movin’ for LIFE activities in 2017). "The Movin' for LIFE activities have the potential to positively impact behaviors that can prevent many chronic diseases, such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancer," said Dr. Carolyn…

Read More

Twitter-chats-can-be-effective-engagement-tools-new-study-says

Twitter chats can be effective engagement tools, new study says

Education & Engagement

Published: December 15, 2017

Conversations on Twitter can lead to engaged, two-way communication about health, according to a new study published by the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) and its partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The study, published online in the Journal of Medical Internet Research (JMIR) Public Health and Surveillance, examined the communication between public health entities and their audience during a live chat on Twitter, hosted by the Tulane PRC and the city…

Read More

Photo-exhibit-focuses-on-neighborhood-health-needs

Photo exhibit focuses on neighborhood health needs

Core Research

Published: December 15, 2017

Empty streets, community gardens and abandoned buildings were some perspectives captured by 25 New Orleans residents participating in a photovoice project led by the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC). The photovoice project is part of PRC's Movin' for LIFE campaign, during which local residents in the Upper and Lower Ninth Wards and New Orleans East met in small groups to discuss the needs of their community. Each meeting focused on a health topic, and participants…

Read More

Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

Education & Engagement

Published: December 15, 2017

This has been and continues to be a busy time for the staff and faculty of the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC). I would like to say we are busy with holiday stuff, but actually we are busy with work – and that's a good thing. Our staff and faculty recently attended the annual conference of the American Public Health Association in Atlanta, GA, in November. Jeanette Gustat gave a presentation involving data from the…

Read More

Tulane-University-recognizes-PRC-staffer-for-excellence

Tulane University recognizes PRC staffer for excellence

Core Research

Published: December 13, 2017

The Tulane Prevention Research Center is proud to announce Revonda Darensbourg, Program Manager of the PRC's Movin' for LIFE program, received a Tulane University President’s Staff Excellence Award in December 2017. University President Mike Fitts surprised Darensbourg with the award at work and brought a caravan of university administrators and mascot Riptide the Pelican to help celebrate the event. To view a video of the surprise visit, click here. "I don't want to embarrass you,…

Read More

Legislative-Updates

Legislative Updates

Education & Engagement

Published: December 13, 2017

New Orleans food policy group launches new website, plans for future The New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee (FPAC) met regularly over the past year. Results from their food policy assessment will be published along with their strategic plan in the days to come. Among the assessment's key findings, FPAC has identified a need for greater access to capital, closing information gaps, considering food in all policies, and strengthening the food network. The Tulane Prevention…

Read More

Team-Spotlight

Team Spotlight

Education & Engagement

Published: December 13, 2017

This issue's team spotlight is on Linda Ellis-Johnson, co-chair of the Tulane Prevention Research Center's Community Advisory Board (CAB). Linda is a retired educator previously employed by Computer Science Corporation in Indianapolis, Indiana, Indianapolis Public Schools, Orleans Parish Schools, and Jefferson Parish Public Schools. Linda holds an Associate of Arts Degree, Bachelors of English Degree, and a Masters in Guidance and Counseling. In addition to leading the Tulane PRC's CAB, she presently serves as President…

Read More

PRCs-gather-for-Annual-Grantee-Meeting

PRCs gather for Annual Grantee Meeting

Education & Engagement

Published: December 12, 2017

Collaboration and moving research into practice were the focus of the 2017 Prevention Research Centers (PRC) Program Grantee Meeting, Nov. 8-9, 2017, at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta, Ga. The meeting brought together academic faculty, staff, and community representatives from the 26 PRCs across the country. During the meeting, attendees learned more about best practices to disseminate and translate their research and products and identified next steps for doing that to…

Read More

Nutrition-Bites-Food-Safety-for-the-Holidays

Nutrition Bites: Food Safety for the Holidays

Food Environment Research

Published: December 11, 2017

The holidays are a joyful time with lots of giving and sharing. One thinks of the presents, time with friends and family, and sharing a delicious holiday meal together. Over the holidays, there is one thing that should not be shared: food poisoning. Food poisoning is caused by food-borne illnesses caused by bacteria. Symptoms of food-borne illnesses may include vomit, diarrhea, fever, sweating, cramps, nausea, and fatigue. The good news is there are lots of…

Read More

Active-Steps-Staying-Fit-through-the-Holidays

Active Steps: Staying Fit through the Holidays

Physical Activity Research

Published: December 11, 2017

Although physical activity is not the first thing that comes to mind when thinking about the holiday season, it is actually an ideal time to be active! Staying active is important during this time of year to help maintain body weight as well as help keep blood sugars stabilized from decadent foods. Being active can be a great form of stress relief from all the time spent with family or busy shopping malls. While this…

Read More

canary