Linking a Child’s Environment to Obesity

[vc_row][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_column_text]There is a global childhood obesity epidemic and researchers in the United States are working toward solutions, including prevention. Compared to adults, there has been relatively little research linking a child’s environment to their weight. This report, published in The Obesity Journal on August 23,2018, is a continuation of findings from the Neighborhood Impact on Kids (NIK) study and focuses on both physical activity and nutrition environments, two  factors that can affect a child’s weight. Behavioral factors were also considered, like daily energy intake and sedentary behavior.

A team of researchers gathered data twice over a two year span, in four types of different metropolitan neighborhoods in two large cities. They looked at several factors, like the age of the parents and the proximity of a quality park, then compared these data for each child to the child’s BMI. A favorable neighborhood in the study had a supermarket nearby with good nutrition and a quality park within walking distance of the child’s home. Less favorable neighborhoods had fast food easily accessible, no supermarkets nearby and nowhere for the children to play within a 1/2 mile. The findings looked at whether the neighborhood characteristics predicted the children outcomes going forward over the two years of the study.

The results of the study showed that children living in less favorable neighborhoods were 41% to 49% more likely to be overweight, and that these effects were found across two years. City planners and developers can use this evidence when designing neighborhoods that support healthy families.

Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH, a co-author on the study, noted “This study is unique and important in that it allowed us to make clear comparisons between ‘healthier’ and ‘less healthy’ food and activity environments over multiple years. The findings underscore how important environments can be in shaping behaviors and the health of children.”

Neighborhoods Impact on Kids (NIK) is an observational study, evaluating cross-sectional and longitudinal associations of neighborhood-level activity and nutrition environments with children’s weight status and obesity. The study is led by Dr. Brian Saelens, currently at Seattle Children’s Hospital.[/vc_column_text][vc_btn title=”Read the study” link=”url:https%3A%2F%2Fdoi.org%2F10.1002%2Foby.22247||target:%20_blank|”][/vc_column][vc_column width=”1/2″][vc_single_image image=”2293″ img_size=”full” onclick=”img_link_large” css=”.vc_custom_1536245556069{border-radius: 2px !important;}”][/vc_column][/vc_row]

Evaluating Healthy Vending Policies for Youth in Four Cities – Report Now Available

Evaluating Healthy Vending Policies for Youth in Four Cities

Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH and her team recently conducted an evaluation of healthy vending policies and initiatives affecting youth in four cities: Chicago Parks District in Chicago, Illinois; Mecklenburg County, North Carolina; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; and Springdale, Arkansas.

Vending machines are a common source for low nutrient, energy-dense snacks and beverages and youth can easily access vending machines at many public spaces such as parks, recreation centers, and swimming pools. Increasing the availability of healthier options in vending machines is one way to influence healthier snacking behaviors and is aligned with the CDC recommendation for communities to make healthier food and beverage options more readily available in public venues.

Many cities are beginning to adopt healthy vending policies in public areas, but evidence regarding best practices for developing, implementing, and evaluating these healthy vending polices is limited.

This study used a mixed-methods, multiple case study design and included semi-structured interviews with multiple stakeholders from each city; site visits at each city, which included intercept surveys with adults using the vending machines and observations of the available products in vending machines; and a review of documents including nutrition standards, policies, requests for proposals (RFPs), vending contracts, sales data, and any existing evaluation tools were collected from each site.

The research findings are summarized in this report and describe the major similarities and differences across four cites/counties implementing healthy vending initiatives and emphasize the major facilitators and barriers to developing, implementing, and evaluating healthy vending policies and initiatives.


This research was supported by Healthy Eating Research, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.

 

Evaluating Healthy Vending Policies for Youth in Four Cities

Karen Glanz, PhD, MPH; Julie Bromberg, MHS; Yasaman Mirafzali; Sarah Green, MPH

Download the full report here.

 

Is it dementia? Dr. Jason Karlawish helps you identify the signs

Aging happens differently for everyone and forgetting some details for daily tasks is not always cause for alarm. But there are signs that you or a loved one are showing signs of dementia or other diseases, like Alziemer’s. Dr. Jason Karlawish published an article with AARP as part of their Disrupt Dementia campaign.

Dr. Karlawish a researcher on the Healthy Brain Research Network and the Cognitive Aging Communication Project, both funded supplements to the UPenn Prevention Research Center. He also serves as the director of the Penn Memory Center.  Dr. Karlawish writes about what to look for and the risks involved with allowing the disease to progress without intervention.

Read about the signs to look for and his personal experience with an aging parent here. Tweet about your experiences, using the hashtag #DisruptDementia and tag @AARP and @jasonkarlwish.

Community Scholars In-Residence

 

Applications are now being accepted for the Community Scholars-in-Residence program which will be focused on cancer prevention and control research.

Please contact Jill McDonald at jillmcd@upenn.edu  for more information and a program application.

 

Through this program, scholars will develop relationships with a community research partner of their choosing, identify research opportunities, and co-develop research projects during a one to two-year tenure with a community partner organization.

Eligibility: Standing pre/post docs with an interest in conducting community-engaged health research Project Topics: Projects must focus on cancer prevention and control research, and must be co-developed with a community partner Program Duration: 12-24 months Funding: Each Scholar/Community Organization team will receive up to $5,000 for their project Program Start: September 2018. Application Deadline: June 1, 2018 EXTENDED THROUGH JUNE!

Program Structure:

Faculty Mentorship: Scholars will identify a mentor from qualified faculty in the area of cancer prevention and control research. Mentors will guide the development, implementation and evaluation of the project. Scholars are expected to meet with their mentor on a monthly basis. Mentors will receive $500 (for discretionary funds) for their support.

Community Partner Organization: The community partner organization should be identified by the scholar and can include any community organization that provides, plans for, coordinates, organizes, pays for, or regulates health/public health services or impacts health outcomes in the community.

Time Commitment: Scholars will devote an average of 4-6 hours per week to this program and it is expected that a majority of the time will be spent with the community partner.

Formal Training: Scholars will participate in a one-day kick-off workshop that will cover key community-engaged research skills and participate in regular meetings and trainings that will provide opportunities for sharing personal experiences and lessons learned. Representatives from the community partner organizations will be invited to participate in the meetings.

Funding: Scholars will develop a project and submit a proposal for funding (up to $5,000 per project). We suggest building in a minimum of $500 for your host organization.

 

Funding for this program comes from Community Engagement and Research Core in the Penn CTSA and the UPenn Cancer Prevention and Control Research Network (CPCRN).

A Tobacco-Free Penn Campus

The Student Health Service/Campus Health department at the University of Pennsylvania created videos to accompany their tobacco-free campus campaign. Watch their video, supported by the University of Pennsylvania Prevention Research Center (UPenn PRC), to learn more about their plans to improve health and create a more beautiful and sustainable campus.

 

 

Visit their website for more information on this ongoing project and look for the signage that alerts students and staff that Penn is Tobacco Free. Student Health Services has also provided a Tobacco Cessation Resources brochure to help students quit smoking.