Thursday, November 10, 2011

Healthy Communities Update

  • Given the enormity of the childhood obesity problem, preventing the marketing of unhealthy food and beverage products to children has become increasingly important. Three different methods marketing can have negative impacts on children: marketing that encourages parents to purchase unhealthy products for their children; ‘pester power’ marketing, which encourages children to persuade their parents to purchase unhealthy products for them; and marketing that encourages children to purchase unhealthy products for themselves. Two new Public Health Advocacy Institute (PHAI) resources, Major Findings from 50-State Survey of State Consumer Protection Law to Limit Junk Food Marketing to Children and Reigning in Pester Power Food and Beverage Marketing, provide context for these three types of food marketing and summarize state-level tactics to counter them. PHAI has also published a 50-state clickable map linking to food marketing state consumer law summaries.
  • Additionally, despite industry pledges to market fewer unhealthy beverages to children, a new report from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity finds that there is more—not less—advertising for sugary drinks overall. The report is the most comprehensive assessment of sugary drink nutrition and marketing ever conducted. Study Examines Marketing Practices of 14 Companies, Nutritional Content of Nearly 600 Products.
  • As schools reassess the school wellness policies and school environment to comply with the federal Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act of 2010, advocates have a unique opportunity to incorporate Communities Putting Prevention to Work goals through school wellness policy. Join the American Heart Association and the Public Health Law Center, for a presentation designed to provide an overview of school policies, explain the importance of a school health council, and outline key tools to make school policy change a reality. Using School Wellness Policies to Advance Policy Change, Nov. 16, 2011, 1:00 – 2:30 p.m. EST. Click here for registration information.
  • The Colorado Food Systems Advisory Council (COFSAC) website is now available: If you are a member of a local or regional group and would like to be listed in the directory (it’s simple!), please visit and send in your information.
  • Amid budget cuts and testing pressures, some New York teachers and principals have stretched money, space and time to prioritize movement during the school day. Read this great article from the New York Times, Fitting In Exercise, Between Math and English by Fernanda Santos, about how some teachers make it work.
  • Wondering how to identify your best opportunities to grow Farm to School (FTS), whether from your own school gardens or nearby farms? This webinar on Thursday, November 17, 2 - 3 p.m will focus on Colorado Farm to Schools’ "Choose Your Own Farm to School Adventure" tool, created to assist school districts in gathering information relevant to implementing a Farm to School program. During the webinar, you'll get an overview of the tool, how districts can use it, and discuss opportunities for follow-up technical assistance from Colorado Farm to School.Click here to register. View the Choose Your Own Farm to School Adventure Tool here.
  • By requiring store owners who sell tobacco to obtain a tobacco retailer license, local governments have a powerful tool at their disposal to enforce a host of tobacco-related laws. In this webinar, we'll take that strategy to the next level with ways to adopt a strong licensing program or to expand an existing one. November 8, Register here.
  • In recent years, a growing number of companies have been encouraging workers to voluntarily improve their health to control escalating insurance costs. And while workers mostly like to see an employer offer smoking cessation classes and weight loss programs, too few are signing up or showing signs of improvement. Read this article, Firms to Charge Smokers, Obese More for Healthcare, by Jilian Mincer, to see the arguments on both sides of this issue.
Mental Health and Substance Abuse
  • Through its Behavioral Health Initiative, the Department of Health Care Policy and Finance is working to advance the diagnosis and treatment of depression for clients on Medicaid and CHP+. Medicaid now covers depression screening for adolescents aged 11-20, using a screening tool (questionnaire) at the child’s periodic well child visits. This screening gives health professionals an indication of a possible problem and a reason to do further evaluation either by the primary care provider or a mental health specialist. More than one million teens in the U.S. suffer from depression, yet less than one-third of those teens receive help. If you would like more information, please contact Lisa Waugh,
  • Join Strategic Alliance and Latino Health Access for a dialogue on Wednesday, November 16 from 11:30 am – 1:00 pm MST, about the importance of community engagement to improve the places where people live, work, learn and play. Community engagement enlists the perspectives, talents, and skills of community residents to create safer, healthier and more equitable communities. Meaningful community engagement presents a real opportunity for planners, developers and public health professionals to create vibrant neighborhoods; improve access to healthy food and safe places for physical activity; increase neighborhood safety; and foster sustainable and genuine leadership. Register today!
  • The Department of Health Care Policy and Financing and the Department of Human Services submitted a legislative report to the Joint Budget Committee regarding the possible relocation of the Division of Developmental Disabilities, the State Unit on Aging and the Children's Residential Habilitation Program from the Department of Human Services to the Department of Health Care Policy and Financing.  This move is being considered now in order to leverage federal health care reform dollars, to streamline our Long Term Care system and to improve services to clients.  The departments are seeking your input on this proposal at the first of several community forums and will be held on November 16th, 9am - 11am at the Fort Logan Auditorium. Please RSVP to Cecilia Duran at by November 14th.
  • The Environmental Protection Agency, Region 8, and the Health Resources and Services Administration, Region VIII, have organized, in collaboration with other Federal partners, a one-year-long webinar series titled Improving Children’s Health through Federal Collaboration, on the second Thursday of every month from 2PM to 3:30PM MST. Webinars include, beginning on November 10, 2011 topics like Children Grow Best in Healthy Environments; Coordinated School Health: Clean, Green and Healthy Schools; Obesity Prevention; Affordable Care Act; Communities Working Together for Better Health; and Healthy Homes, among others. For additional information about each of the webinars, including registration information, please visit:
  • Communities are transformed when the whole community comes together to create something new. This grassroots effort grows from people recognizing their own collective capacity and aligning their vision for what their community can be.  This work begins with bringing together stakeholders around issues of possibility, commitment, and accountability. But how do we find those stakeholders and create space for real engagement? Engagement that might include dissent... Join CYFERnet Community for an online learning opportunity, Community Engagement: Not Taking the Easy Path on Monday, November 21st at 1:30pm EST. Register here:
  • The Draft 2012 HHS Environmental Justice Strategy introduces the vision of "a nation that equitably promotes healthy community environments and protects the health of all people." HHS recognizes that disproportionate exposure to environmental hazards with negative health effects persists in minority and low-income populations and Indian tribes and that coordinated Federal action is needed to eliminate these disparities. The 2012 HHS Strategy is intended to provide clear direction of goals, strategies and actions to address environmental justice in minority and low-income populations and Indian tribes. The Draft 2012 HHS Environmental Justice Strategy is open for public comment. Submit comments on the Draft 2012 HHS Strategy to The 60-day public comment period opens on Tuesday, October 4, 2011 and ends at 11:59pm EDT on Saturday, December 3, 2011. The final 2012 HHS Strategy will be released in February 2012. Draft 2012 HHS Environmental Justice Strategy link:
  • Advancing the Movement and its partner organizations have announced the launch of the beta version of the Community Commons suite of tools and resources.  The Commons will allow users to quickly find and share data, maps, stories, videos and other information about the number, scope, and results of community-related prevention and health-related programs in numerous geographic areas. It has hundreds of searchable profiles of community initiatives with promising strategies, stories, and impacts.
  • The Department of Health Care Policy and Finance implemented a new eligibility process called Express Lane Eligibility – School Lunch, effective October 14, 2011. The process begins when a family applies for Free/Reduced Lunch benefits at a participating school district. If the school determines the child is eligible for Free or Reduced Lunch using the Free/Reduced Lunch application, the school will provide the application information to an eligibility site, and a Family Medicaid/ CHP+ application will be initiated. This process will streamline applications for children who may be eligible for Medicaid and CHP+ but are not enrolled. If you would like more information about the new streamlining processes, please click here.
  • A recent Gallup poll found that U.S. businesses suffer $153 billion in annual lost productivity due to chronic diseases, including those resulting from lack of access to healthy food and opportunity for physical activity. Only 1 in 7 workers suffers from no chronic illness and is of a normal weight. 
Social Determinants of Health
  • The Housing and Community Development Services Division administers the Community Development Block Grant program, which are entitlement monies received by Arapahoe County through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development. These funds help low to moderate income individuals and areas of the County, and are used to build or improve community facilities and furnish needed community services. County invites non-profits and other agencies to apply for 2012 Community Development Block Grants. Eligible projects serve low to moderate income residents of Arapahoe County and may include, but are not limited to: non-profit building improvements, property acquisition, housing, infrastructure improvements or public services. Instructions to Apply  Application Checklist  Application Form. All applicants are strongly encouraged to attend an informational workshop prior to submitting an application at 10 a.m., Tuesday, November 8 or 1 p.m., Tuesday, November 15, 2011. The submission deadline is 4 p.m., Friday, December 9, 2011. For more information, please contact: Yvonne Duvall, 303-738-8061,
    Community schools are a proven strategy for integrating existing school and community resources to remove barriers to learning and ensure that more young people graduate from high school ready for college and a career. 
  • Community schools stay open after the bell rings and provide a range of services to students and their families, from afterschool programs and tutoring to health services and adult education. Register for this webinar, November 30 at 12:30 MST, to hear from local leaders in two cities who are working to bring countywide and district-wide community schools strategies to scale.  The webinar will draw upon lessons and promising practices from a new CCS guide, Scaling Up School and Community Partnerships: The Community Schools Strategy.

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