Nutrition and Physical Activity

Two cities in California—San Francisco and Berkeley—will be presenting voters with soda-tax initiatives in the upcoming November election. Soda and sugar-sweetened drinks such as sports drinks and energy drinks would be taxed, although infant formula, nutritional drinks, and diet drinks would not be taxed. Michael F. Jacobson, the executive director of the Center for Science in the Public Interest, said in an article in the New York Times that the soda industry has spent over $117 million since 2009 to combat soda taxes in the United States and is now paying attention to San Francisco and Berkeley.

The New York Court of Appeals in June 2014 overturned New York City's highly publicized soda ban that limited purchases of fountain drinks to 16-ounce cups in an attempt to reduce constituents' consumption of soda.  Most states have levied taxes on soda purchase intending to influence consumer choices, promote public health and generate revenue. 

As part of Senate Majority Leader Mark Norris' initiative as CSG Chairman, the Tennessee Nutrition Caucus was launched during Ag Day on the Hill late last month.  “This is a bi-partisan team of state legislators who understand that one’s quality of life depends on the necessities of life,” said Norris.  Part of the impetus to create the caucus is the current status of Tennessee's children and overall population.  According to Feeding America, 25.1% of Tennessee's children and 17.6% of the state's general population are unaware of where they will find their next meal.

The United States Food and Drug Administration released data of 13,000 public school districts to determine the use of local foods and nutritional education under the Farm to School Program. The program was created under the Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010.

NOW, THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED, that The Council of State Governments urges the 50 state and provincial legislatures, health departments, and other state agencies and institutions to make the prevention and treatment of obesity a top priority and to work to reduce obesity, as well as medically-related costs, while improving the health and wellness of all persons.

Results from the Healthy Incentives Pilot (HIP), a United States Department of Agriculture program, shows financial incentives for targeted fruits and vegetables increased consumption of these healthful foods.

When Molina Healthcare of Michigan noticed the poor immunization rates in the state’s children, it took action. The company, a leading health care provider for financially vulnerable families, launched “Shots for Shorties” to improve the rates of immunization among African-American children, primarily those from low-income families. The program offers a variety of necessary vaccinations, programs and educational materials full of strategies to increase immunization rates for African-Americans. 

Since 2008, as a condition of doing business, the city of Minneapolis requires corner stores to sell perishable produce. The current requirement is to sell five varieties of fresh produce and for stores that are certified by the Women, Infants and Children program (WIC) 7 varieties and 30 pounds in total stock are required. According to Governing magazine, Minneapolis is the first city to move from incentives to requirements.

According to a recent study, exercise, while generally associated with improved health, may be linked to an increased risk of heart disease.

How walkable is the area where you work or live? Walkability, the term used to evaluate the ease of walking in a location, is an important item to be considered in deciding where you live. Communities with inadequate walkable structures such as sidewalks, proper lighting, and bicycle paths have higher rates of chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.