Friday, August 26, 2011

School's daily PE, fresh fruit set kids on a healthy path


The school board said, "Make health a priority."

With that directive, Cheryl McIntire began the next phase of her career three years ago, as principal of Northeast Elementary Magnet School in Danville, Illinois.

This summer, she flew to New York to receive the first Gold Award given to an elementary school by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which has been working with schools since 2006 to fight childhood obesity.

Certain things at Northeast Elementary really stand out. During class, the teachers lead students through a physical activity break, where they do yoga or some simple stretching. They have PE class every single day, and snack on fresh fruits like strawberries, grapes and blueberries.

The Alliance, founded by the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association, currently partners with about 12,000 of the nation’s 99,000 elementary and secondary schools to offer free guidance on improving school environments.

Of those 12,000 schools, only three have received the Gold Award.

“If we can measure that we have stopped the rise of young children who are obese and chronically overweight and that it’s going back down, and if we can see a reversal in the number of young people who developed type II diabetes,” former President Bill Clinton tells Dr. Sanjay Gupta, “then I think you will see that will have enormous ramifications through the health care system.”

In the halls of Northeast Elementary, a banner announces the school’s Gold Award status, but the real impact, say administrators, is felt well beyond the campus walls.

“One of the things on our parents' survey is how excited they were about the exposure that our children have had to fruits and vegetables that they have never tasted before,” says McIntire, “and how much they’ve encouraged their parents when they’re grocery shopping to buy those things at home.”

Online link to the article

Thursday, August 25, 2011

The ABC'c of PCIPs

As kids go back to school, families are balancing a lot, from shopping for school supplies to scheduling vaccinations and sports physicals. Fortunately, one thing that families no longer have to worry about is accessing health coverage for children with pre-existing conditions. Insurance companies can no longer limit or deny coverage for kids up to age 19 because of a pre-existing condition – a health problem, disease or disability that the child developed before their parents applied for health coverage. And starting in 2014, individuals of all ages cannot be denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition. In the meantime, Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plans are available for those who have been denied coverage because of a pre-existing condition and who have been uninsured for at least six months. To learn more, read about the ABCs of PCIPs or check out your state page for details.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Study: Boston Public Schools’ Sugary Drink Ban is Working


A new study indicates that the Boston public schools’ ban on sugary drinks has paid off, with high school students drinking less of such beverages even when they’re not at school.

The study funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation tracked 9th through 12th graders for two years after the ban began. It found sugar-sweetened beverage consumption, inside and outside school, fell from 1.71 average servings per day in 2004 to 1.38 servings in 2006, according to results released Tuesday. That’s roughly 45 fewer calories daily.

Please click here for more information.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Some exercise is better than none. More exercise is even better to reduce heart disease risk! As little as 2.5 hours of moderate intensity physical activity per week can lower the overall risk of heart disease by 14 percent!

New FTC Reports Show Tobacco Companies Still Spend Huge Sums on Marketing


On Friday, the Federal Trade Commission released its most recent reports on cigarette and smokeless tobacco marketing for the years 2007 and 2008. While spending is down for cigarette marketing since 2006, smokeless marketing is up substantially (although smokeless marketing remains a small fraction of cigarette marketing), and tobacco marketing still dwarfs (by a ratio of 20 to 1), state spending on tobacco prevention and cessation. Current tobacco marketing also still represents a 50 percent increase since the year of the 1998 tobacco settlement.

The cigarette companies continue to spend the bulk of their marketing dollars on price discounting (72%) and other point of sale and price promotions (coupons, etc.).

The CTFK statement on the new reports is below, following by links to the actual FTC reports and FTC press release:

FTC Reports Show Tobacco Companies Still Spend Huge Sums on Marketing – Cigarette Marketing Declined, but Smokeless Tobacco Marketing Doubled in Recent Years

Statement of Matthew L. Myers

President, Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids

WASHINGTON, DC (August 1, 2011) – The Federal Trade Commission on Friday reported that cigarette marketing expenditures in the United States declined from $12.5 billion in 2006 to $10.9 billion in 2007 and $9.9 billion in 2008. The FTC also reported that smokeless tobacco marketing increased from $354.1 million in 2006 to $411.3 million in 2007 and $547.9 million in 2008. When measured from 2005, smokeless tobacco marketing has more than doubled (from $250.8 million to $547.9 million).

While it is a positive step that cigarette marketing has declined, the tobacco companies continue to spend huge sums to market their deadly and addictive products. Counting both cigarette and smokeless tobacco marketing, the tobacco companies spent $10.5 billion on marketing in 2008 – nearly $29 million each day and 52 percent more than they spent at the time of the 1998 settlement of state lawsuits against the industry, which was supposed to curtail tobacco marketing.

Tobacco companies in 2008 spent 20 times more to market tobacco products than the states currently spend on programs to prevent kids from smoking and help smokers quit (the states spent $517.9 million on such programs in fiscal year 2011). This huge mismatch between how much tobacco companies spend to encourage tobacco use and how much states spend to discourage it is a major contributing factor to the slowing of smoking declines in recent years.

It is especially troubling that smokeless tobacco marketing more than doubled from 2005 to 2008 and increased by 277 percent since 1998. This has contributed to a 36 percent increase in smokeless tobacco use among high school boys between 2003 and 2009 (from 11 to 15 percent reporting smokeless tobacco use in the past month, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).

Much of smokeless tobacco marketing in recent years has been aimed at enticing kids to start and at discouraging smokers from quitting, undermining efforts to reduce tobacco use. Tobacco companies continue to aggressively market traditional smokeless tobacco products, often in kid-friendly candy and fruit flavors (such as vanilla, cherry and apple Skoal). They have also introduced an array of new smokeless tobacco products, many like R.J. Reynolds’ Camel Sticks, Strips and Orbs that appeal to kids because they look, taste and are packaged like candy and are easy to conceal. Increasingly, manufacturers have marketed smokeless tobacco as a complement to cigarettes in the growing number of places where smoking is not allowed. Marketing for R.J. Reynolds’ Camel Snus has used the slogan “Pleasure for wherever,” specifically encouraging use of the product in offices, bars, airplanes and concerts. Similarly, advertising for Philip Morris’ Marlboro Snus stated, “So next time smoking isn’t an option, just reach for your Snus.” These products and marketing campaigns clearly discourage smokers from quitting – and truly protecting their health.

The continuing high level of tobacco marketing show why we need aggressive action by all levels of government to stop the tobacco epidemic. The Food and Drug Administration must effectively exercise its new authority over tobacco products and marketing, while the Administration and Congress should fund and implement the federal government’s new Tobacco Control Strategic Action Plan. The states must pick up the pace of their efforts to increase tobacco taxes, enact smoke-free laws and fund tobacco prevention and cessation programs.

Tobacco use is the nation’s number one cause of preventable death, killing more than 400,000 people and costing $96 billion in health care bills each year. These deaths and costs are entirely preventable if elected officials at all levels fight tobacco use as aggressively as the tobacco companies market their deadly products.

2011 Children's Food Environment State Report

A recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention shows that Oklahoma can do more to improve access to healthy food – one piece of the puzzle in fighting childhood obesity. The 2011 Children’s Food Environment State Indicator Report notes that Oklahoma falls above the national averages in the percentage of schools that offer less healthy competitive foods and that allow advertising of less healthy foods.

To view the full CDC report visit

In Oklahoma 65.4% of middle and high schools allowed advertising of less healthy foods to students. This is above the national average of 49 percent. In relation, 59.8% of schools offer less healthy competitive foods. This is also above the national average of 51.4%.

The American Heart Association has been working with lawmakers in our state to improve the food environment in our schools. You can help advance our message by forwarding this report to your lawmakers.


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