Archive for Policy

Corner shops in deprived areas to get dedicated fridges for f&v

UK corner shops in deprived areas are being asked by ministers to sell more fruit and vegetables.

Fridges will be given to the convenience stores to allow them to stock fresh produce and help the battle against obesity.

In return, the shops must agree to move healthy foods to more prominent spots and appoint an employee as their ‘fresh food champion’.

A pilotstudy showed that sales of fresh fruit and veg increased on average by 40 per cent, with around a third of shoppers saying they will buy more fruit and veg from their local store in future. Not bad. But it is difficult to believe this can really be roled out nationwide without strong government funding. This was not mentioned, but a new partnership with the Association for Convenience Stores, an organisation which represents more than 28,000 retailers and suppliers in England, including well known franchises such as NISA Local, SPAR and Landmark was mentioned. I wonder if all 28,000 retailers will be offered this program including new Fridges.

Read more here or here.

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Smaller chocolate bars to be standard under new controversial UK Government plan

A bar of Cadbury Dairy milk, currently 49g, should also be sold in 40g sizes, while a Mars Bar and Twix, both 58g, should be made in 50g portions, the Food Standards Agency has recommended. And cans of fizzy drinks, currently 330ml, should be sold in a significantly smaller size of 250ml.

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Sundhed skaber velfærd

De norske sundhedsmyndigheder har fået lavet en interessant rapport:

Skapes helse, skapes velferd
– helsesystemets rolle i det norske samfunnet

Helsedirektoratet ønsker med rapporten bl.a. at påpege sammenhængen mellem helsesystemet, folkesundheden og velstandsudviklingen og synliggøre nogen af de overordnede udfordringer i det norske sundhedsystem.

Du finder rapporten her.

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Weight of the Nation

A highly interesting conference was held in Washington DC in July 2009 to provide a forum to highlight progress in the prevention and control of obesity through policy and environmental strategies.

Program Objectives:
1. Highlight strategies that overcome barriers to the primary prevention of obesity for youth and adults in communities,
medical care, schools, and workplaces.
2. Provide economic analysis of obesity prevention and control efforts.
3. Share promising, emerging, and best practices for setting specific policy and environmental initiatives
impacting obesity.
4. Highlight the use of law-based efforts to prevent and control obesity.

Program highlights:
Report on Cost Burden of Obesity
Improving Health Outcomes: Integrating Obesity Prevention in Health Reform
Nexus between Transportation and Obesity Prevention
Nexus between Food Systems and Obesity Prevention
Collaboration Fosters Healthy Places and Healthy People
Innovative Policy Initiatives at the Local Level
Focusing State Health Departments on Obesity Prevention
Improving Access To Healthy Places and Healthy Foods – Impact of Federal Legislation on Obesity Prevention and Control

Find the program including speaker names here.

From August 14’th a webcast from this event will be available here.

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Food Inc opens this Friday

The documentary “Food, Inc.” opens in the United States on Friday and portrays these purported dangers and changes in the U.S. food industry, asserting harmful effects on public health, the environment, and worker and animal rights.

Big corporations such as biotech food producer Monsanto Co., U.S. meat companies Tyson Food Inc. and Smithfield Foods, and poultry producer Perdue Farms all declined to be interviewed for the film.

But the industry has not stood silent. Trade associations across the $142-billion-a-year U.S. meat industry have banded together to counter the claims. Led by the American Meat Institute, they have created a number of websites, including one called SafeFoodInc.org saying ‘We are proud of our safe, affordable and abundant products and we aren’t afraid to stand up and say so’.

Montesano stated on their dedicated site:

  • Demonizes American farmers and the agriculture system responsible for feeding over 300 million people in the United States.
  • Presents an unrealistic view of how to feed a growing nation while ignoring the practical demands of the American consumer and the fundamental needs of consumers around the world.
  • Disregards the fact that multiple agriculture systems should – and do – coexist.

Visit film website

Watch the trailer on YouTube

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New report: British retailers are committed in the fight against obesity

british retailing: a commitment to healthThe British Retail Consortium (BRC) just published a substantial catalogue of evidence from its major food retailing members. It shows they are responding to customer demand in the UK’s highly competitive grocery market and delivering healthier choices, food information and actual change in what customers buy – more comprehensively than legislation ever could.

From reducing salt, fat and sugar to portion size options, promotions and on-pack labelling, BRC members are enabling healthier choices which are being taken up by customers.

What we’re seeing is responsible retailers enthusiastically putting their resources and reputations firmly behind making their contribution to healthier diets.

The report covers a string of current food-retailing issues including: Labelling, Reformulation and Portion sizes.

Increasing consumption of healthy foods is really happening.  One step that has made a real difference has been running price promotions on fruit and vegetables and the introduction of ranges of highly nutritious but lower cosmetic quality produce.

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Assessment of organizational readiness for health promotion policy implementation

The current study attempted to model determinants of organizational readiness (goals, resources, obligation, opportunities) in supporting health policy implementation prospectively. Twenty qualitative interviews with representatives of organizations from different policy sectors, levels of government and organizational legal entities were conducted at the beginning of a project for the promotion of physical activity among women in difficult life situations. Organizational support in developing, implementing and disseminating the project was documented over 36 months.

Results indicated that in most organizations, determinants were not favorable for health promotion policy action for physical activity among women in difficult life situations. Six organizations did not report any favorable determinant, and two organizations reported four. The other 12 organizations reported positive results for some of the determinants. Project work received support from 6 out of the 20 organizations. A case study of three organizations indicated that engagement or disengagement of organizations in health promotion policy actions might be partly explained by the theoretical model. The prospective assessment of organizational readiness in implementing health promotion policy is highly relevant for health promotion. Considering the proposed theoretical framework may aid in advancing our understanding of factors that are related to organizational engagement in health promotion actions.

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Soda is the next tobacco

“I believe soda is the next tobacco,” said Barry Popkin, director of the University of North Carolina’s Interdisciplinary Obesity Center and author of The World is Fat, published this year. Soda drinkers haven’t achieved pariah status like smokers before them, but proposed sugar taxes and social pressure to be healthy can put a damper on drinking softdrinks — and even some in the growing ranks of diet pop drinkers are feeling soda shame.

According to Popkin, Americans are consuming up to 300 more calories per day now than they were 25 to 30 years ago, and two-thirds of that increase is from caloric beverages like soft drinks, sports drinks, energy drinks, fruit juice and milk. While milk has important vitamins and minerals, the sugary beverages “have no health benefits,” Popkin said. And studies show people who drink caloric beverages don’t compensate by cutting out other food, so the calories add up, he said.

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Can the private sector improve public health?

Policy interventions to encourage healthy eating in European member states have included prohibitions on advertising certain foods to children, promotion of fruit and vegetable consumption, nutrition labelling, dialogue with the food industry to improve food product composition, regulation of school meals and public sector canteens to ensure healthy food offerings. To date, these have not been systematically evaluated.

It is becoming increasingly apparent that there is a clear rationale for further government involvement in food choice. Obesity, driven partly by food choice, now accounts for between 5 and 7% of total health care costs in the EU. In addition to its contribution via obesity, poor dietary quality directly contributes to a range of preventable diseases that raise health care costs.” Obesity has been estimated to cost the EU some €70 billion annually through health care costs and lost productivity.

The new 3 year 2.5 million euros European research project, EATWELL, led by the University of Reading, will, for the first time, catalogue these interventions, evaluating what has worked well and why. It will investigate how the public sector can effectively market promising dietary interventions to the population, and what attitudinal barriers may be faced in implementation in the range of countries.

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After-Hours Use of Public School Property

Schools and local governments can help prevent childhood obesity by  opening school buildings and facilities—such as gymnasiums, playgrounds, fields, courts, and tracks—to public use after school hours. School officials may be reluctant to do so, however, because of concerns about liability in the event of injuries.

Legal advise is now avaliable for free here: Read more

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