Legislative-Briefs-Government-actions-on-obesity

Legislative Briefs: Government actions on obesity

Programs aim to revitalize blighted lots, build healthy communities in New Orleans
Blighted, vacant and overgrown properties are in nearly every neighborhood in New Orleans. These problematic lots often generate crime, hurt neighborhood economic activity, and can prevent residents from participating in outdoor physical activity and accessing healthy food outlets. To chip away at the number of vacant lots, multiple programs and initiatives are currently underway.
The New Orleans City Council’s Community Development Committee voted in July to recommend the council establish a “Mow to Own” program for the city. The details have not been worked out yet, but the program would allow landowners to buy next-door tax-adjudicated properties if the land owner maintains the property for at least a year.
Additionally, the New Orleans Redevelopment Authority (NORA) has several programs aimed at revitalizing blighted properties by giving them a new purpose and helping neighborhoods become safer, healthier and economically stronger. First, NORA also has the Growing Green program, which was launched in May and aims "to engage in general greening and urban agriculture projects," according to its website. NORA is also hosting the Lots of Progress competition, in which it partnered with social-entrepreneurship group Propeller to host an idea pitch competition for 15 specific vacant lots.

Louisiana Legislature ends with passage of public health policies
Bills and resolutions focusing on nutrition, physical activity and other prevention-based strategies garnered political support in Louisiana this spring. The 2014 Regular Legislative Session, which ran from March to June, led to the passage of several pieces of legislation aimed at improving the health of Louisiana residents and building environments that promote healthy lifestyles. The following is a summary of some legislation, including the author, focused on these goals.

Healthy State Buildings and Statewide Planning:

  • Act 546 (Hoffman) prohibits individuals from smoking cigars, cigarettes, pipes or other lighted smoking devices within 25 feet of entrances to state office buildings.
  • Act 580 (Heitmeier) creates the Louisiana Obesity Prevention and Management Commission, a statewide task force to coordinate obesity programs and policies and develop statewide plans for obesity prevention. The commission is slated to have its first meeting in August. SCR 21 (Heitmeier) creates a joint-legislative obesity prevention committee comprised of House and Senate members.
  • Act 681 (Heitmeier) requires the state to install 10 additional (total of 20) lactation rooms in state office buildings by July 2016. The lactation rooms must provide suitable accommodations for mothers to express breast milk.

School-Based Health and Safety:

  • Act 410 (Thompson) prohibits drivers from using cell phones in school zones during posted hours.
  • Act 450 (Nevers) establishes the Agricultural Education Commission to guide agriculture activities in public schools, as well as design and pilot an education immersion program to prepare students for future careers and leadership roles in the field of agriculture.
  • Act 581 (Heitmeier) prohibits smoking within 200 feet of public and private school property.
  • SCR 94 (Heitmeier) encourages the state's Department of Agriculture and Forestry and Department of Education to start a statewide farm-to-school program and study barriers to implementing such programs.
  • SCR 95 (Heitmeier) requests the Louisiana Department of Education to conduct a survey on the barriers that prevent schools and communities from implementing joint-use agreements, which allow for shared access to property outside of traditional school hours for physical activity opportunities.
  • HCR 114 (Williams) encourages the Louisiana Board of Elementary and Secondary Education to adopt a rule requiring schools to provide students with a lunch period of at least 20 minutes. This time should not include travel time to and from the cafeteria or the time it takes to wait in the school lunch line.

The Tulane PRC served as a resource for information to the Louisiana legislature during the 2014 legislative session by sharing research on ways to improve public health and the state's rankings in the United Health Foundation's America's Health Rankings. The PRC researched evidence-based strategies that have been shown to increase healthy behaviors, such as healthy eating, physical activity and tobacco cessation. Based on the PRC's findings, state Sen. David Heitmeier of New Orleans proposed ten pieces of legislation, including several mentioned above, in order to raise awareness of obesity and smoking in Louisiana and to promote health where Louisianians live, work, learn and play.

Topics:   community health , policy , food environment , built environment , early childhood health , school food , agriculture , nutrition , diet , physical activity

Other Related Posts

Tulane-PRC-core-project-hosts-road-race-encourages-families-to-get-movin

Tulane PRC core project hosts road race, encourages families to get movin'

Core Research Physical Activity Research

Published: November 01, 2017

Dionne Hudson was all smiles after the Movin’ for LIFE 9th Ward 5K Run/Walk on Saturday, Sept. 9. As she held her son, she looked around at three generations of family members and friends and just couldn’t contain her excitement. Just a month ago, she had no idea she’d finish a 5K. Hudson said her mother and children were riding around looking for an event, and they stumbled across an advertisement for the Movin’ for…

Read More

Tulane-PRC-core-project-health-fair-draws-community-into-world-of-wellness

Tulane PRC core project health fair draws community into world of wellness

Core Research Education & Engagement

Published: November 01, 2017

With music playing and children testing their hula hoop skills, Delores Price walked from table to table at the Movin’ for LIFE 9th Ward Family Health Fair at St. Mary of the Angels Church Gym on Saturday afternoon. The New Salem Baptist Church member saw a flier at her church advertising the health fair and gathered other members to learn more about healthful eating, to sample flavorful healthy foods and engage in activity courses. “This…

Read More

Tulane-assists-in-state-healthy-vending-initiative

Tulane assists in state healthy vending initiative

Food Environment Research

Published: November 01, 2017

Vending machines on Louisiana state property are about to get healthier, thanks to efforts by Tulane University nutrition experts. Tulane staff led by Diego Rose, professor and head of the Nutrition Section at the Tulane School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine and a faculty co-investigator at the Tulane Prevention Research Center, and Brittany Kovacs, MPH, nutrition program manager, are working with state officials to implement new nutrition standards in snack and beverage vending machines…

Read More

Great-Expectations-webinar-focuses-on-healthy-weight-during-pregancy

Great Expectations: webinar focuses on healthy weight during pregancy

Education & Engagement

Published: October 31, 2017

Please join the Tulane PRC for a free webinar titled “Great Expectations: The importance of optimal maternal metabolic health during gestation” featuring: Donna Ryan, MD – Professor Emerita and interim Executive Director, Louisiana State University's Pennington Biomedical Research Center Leanne Redman, PhD – Associate Professor and Director of the Reproductive Endocrinology Lab at Pennington Biomedical Research Center Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. CT / 12:30 p.m. to 2 p.m. ET This…

Read More

Making-health-more-accessible-is-focus-of-Tulane-interns-practicum

Making health more accessible is focus of Tulane intern's practicum

Education & Engagement

Published: October 31, 2017

Interning with one of New Orleans' premiere health ambassadors, Tulane public health student Marcus Vizzutti learned the importance of community medicine and how to make healthcare and wellness more accessible and understandable for everyone. This past summer, Vizzutti, a graduate student in epidemiology, interned with the Doc Griggs Foundation and its Get checked. Get fit. Get moving!(TM) program. The internship involved Vizzutti working as a research assistant for Doc Griggs and his team which included…

Read More

Staff-Spotlight

Staff Spotlight

Education & Engagement Food Environment Research

Published: October 27, 2017

This newsletter's spotlight is on Elisa Munoz-Miller, a sub-contractor at the Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) and co-chair of the New Orleans Food Policy Advisory Committee (FPAC). Elisa is working with the Tulane PRC through a grant from the W. K. Kellogg Foundation to support the work of FPAC to increase healthy eating opportunities for children and families. The Tulane PRC is a founding member of FPAC, established in 2007 to address post-Katrina food access…

Read More

Tulane-PRC-presentations-at-APHA-2017

Tulane PRC presentations at APHA 2017

Core Research Special Interest Projects (SIPs)

Published: October 27, 2017

The role of spaces for physical activity and training community members in leadership and skills to address structural causes of health inequity are the topics that will be presented by Tulane Prevention Research Center (PRC) staff and faculty at the upcoming American Public Health Association's Annual Meeting. The meeting, held Nov. 4-8 in Atlanta, Ga., will draw more than 12,000 public health professionals, community members, researchers, and advocates from across the country and world. The…

Read More

Message-from-the-Director

Message from the Director

Food Environment Research

Published: October 18, 2017

Thanksgiving is right around the corner, and as soon as I think of Thanksgiving, I think of healthy eating. How is that possible? What's the connection? Well, I think about all of the foods associated with Thanksgiving that I love and that I'm NOT SUPPOSED TO EAT. Like, all kinds of pies that always seem to have a lot of sugar. Plus, the amount of food that we put on the table at Thanksgiving is…

Read More

Active-Steps-Find-Your-Motivation

Active Steps: Find Your Motivation

Education & Engagement

Published: October 17, 2017

One of the hardest parts of creating a consistent workout routine is motivation. Staying motivated during the cold winter months, during busier times in our lives, or on a day-to-day basis can be a struggle. What are some tips for staying motivated when the last thing you want to do after a long day of work is work out? Here are some tips that should help even the most unmotivated among us. 1. Only 20…

Read More

Nutrition-Bites-Healthy-Harvest

Nutrition Bites: Healthy Harvest

Education & Engagement

Published: October 17, 2017

The air has cooled, fall festivals are in full swing, and Thanksgiving is right around the corner. The opportunities to indulge in amazing food are seemingly endless, which can make it difficult to choose healthier options. Fortunately, there are many fruits and vegetables that come into season this month, which means there will be a large selection of affordable, fresh produce. Some of the vegetables that are currently in season include pumpkins, sweet potatoes, Brussels…

Read More

canary