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Prevention Institute

September 8, 2011

Strategic Alliance Newsletter
August/September 2011

Legislative Round-Up

Governor Signs Safe Routes to School Legislation!

Today, Governor Brown announced that he has signed AB 516 (M. Perez) Safe Routes to School. AB 516 will help ensure underserved communities are able to bring Safe Routes to Schools programs to their local schools. The bill requires the use of public participation processes, resulting in input from parents, teachers, local agencies, the business community, key professionals, and others, in the development of funding proposal. The success of AB 516 is a significant step forward in advancing safe, equitable physical activity opportunities in communities around the State.

In addition to AB 516, this legislative season has been an eventful period for many other physical activity and nutrition bills in the California State Legislature.
Click here for a round-up of key bills that are moving through the legislature.

Physical Activity Spotlight

Parks and Soda Don't Mix

Physical activity infrastructure, like parks, trails, and playgrounds, are being seriously threatened by budget cuts and a lack of political will: it is critical for advocates to partner with education, transportation, parks and recreation, and safety organizations  to  preserve and promote opportunities for safe and accessible play and recreation. Companies like Coca-Cola are now targeting state and local parks agencies in campaigns like “America is Your Park,”  which awards cash prizes to nominated parks. As Marice Ashe - Executive Director of Public Health Law & Policy, a Strategic Alliance Steering Committee member - points out in the Bay Citizen, “We know that our parks are in desperate need of cash, and it really feels like industry is taking advantage of a really vulnerable place in our economy right now for their own economic and PR gain".

In tough economic times, communities in California must work together to protect public  funding and preserve parks and open spaces. Join activity and health advocates in endorsing Safe Places to Play and Be Active, a sign-on declaration that establishes a shared vision for equal and accessible physical activity opportunities for all, and delineates recommendations to improve activity environments for California communities.

Apply Now for Safe Routes to School Mini-Grants

The National Center for Safe Routes to School is now accepting applications for 25 $1,000 mini-grants. Applications are due Wednesday, October 19, 2011.

Click here for more information.

Eye on Industry

Rudd Center Study Reaffirms - Nutrition Claims on Packaged Foods are Misleading

A new study from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity, published in the August issue of the journal Public Health Nutrition, is adding to the growing body of evidence that nutrition-related claims on packaged foods are misleading. The study builds on the findings of Prevention Institute’s Claiming Health: Front-of-Package Labeling of Children’s Food, released by Strategic Alliance last January.

Click here to read more.

Interagency Working Groups’ Proposal on Food Marketing to Kids Does Not Violate the First Amendment

Nearly 40 legal scholars have joined together to speak out against the industry effort to thwart new federal nutrition recommendations for food and beverages marketed to children.

In response to the recommendations put forth in the Interagency Working Group’s draft nutrition principles, the food industry has worked tirelessly to block the proposed standards, claiming that the recommendations violate the First Amendment. 

In a letter sent to the FTC, FDA, CDC, and USDA, a group of legal scholars assert that the voluntary draft nutrition principles are just that: voluntary. They are analogous to the USDA’s new MyPlate dietary guidelines, or the National Institutes of Health’s call for limiting youth exposure to smoking in movies, and “do not pose any threat to any rights guaranteed by the First Amendment.” 

Click here to read more.

Just Released

Legal Strategies in Childhood Obesity Prevention – Workshop Summary

The summary from a workshop convened by the Institute of Medicine in October, 2010, is now available. The workshop brought together stakeholders to discuss strategies to combat childhood obesity at the national, state, and local levels. Drawing on past public health efforts that utilized legal strategies – including seatbelt requirements and smoking restrictions – speakers explored the potential for existing and future legal strategies to decrease chronic disease related to unhealthy eating and physical inactivity.

Read the full report here.

New Breastfeeding Initiation Data Released

The California Department of Public Health's (CDPH), Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Division and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Division has just released the latest data for California’s 2010 in-hospital breastfeeding initiation rates. The data indicate 90.8% of California’s mothers want to breastfeed entering the hospital, but only 56.6% leave the hospital exclusively breastfeeding.

Click here to access the updated data.

Parks, Pools, & Pop: An Analysis of Vending Offerings at City Parks and Pools in Los Angeles County  

California Center for Public Health Advocacy’s recently released study examined beverage vending at city parks and pools in the twenty largest cities in LA County and found that more than two-thirds of beverages for sale were unhealthy. However, a handful of cities across California require healthy beverages in park vending machines, and since March of this year, five additional cities in L.A. County (South El Monte, La Puente, El Monte, Huntington Park and Bell Gardens) have adopted policies requiring that 100 percent of beverages in vending machines at city parks and pools be healthy.

Read the full study here.

Upcoming Events

International Walk to School Day
October 5, 2011
Learn more.

FoodMed 2011 Conference
October 18-19, 2011
Seattle, WA
Registration is now ope

Policylink's Equity Summit 2011
Healthy Communities, A Prosperous America
November 8-11, 2011
Detroit, MI
Register here.

Industry Misses Opportunities to Promote Healthful Diets

Two studies released by Strategic Alliance, Where's the Fruit? and Claiming Health, were cited in a recent study by the American Journal of Preventive Medicine. The report examined industry's progress in marketing healthful diets to children and adolescents. The conclusion? Industry can do better. Food, beverage, and restaurant companies have made only moderate progress in meeting the Institute of Medicine's recommendations to promote a healthful diet. Read the full study here.

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