Study: Sugary Drink Taxes Linked to Decreased Obesity in Seattle


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Over the last several years, cities across the US have taxed sugary drinks to reduce the consumption of these beverages and prioritize the health of their communities.   In 2018, Seattle joined this wave of cities in placing a tax on sugary drinks.   At 1.75 cents per ounce, the tax was created to disincentivize the consumption and purchase of sugary drinks and improve community health.   But did it work?  A recent study published on the JAMA Network sought to answer this very question by comparing the health of children within the taxable area to those in neighboring areas.  This is what they found.  Sugary Drink Tax Studies  Studying the relationship between the sugary drink tax and health is nothing new.  In fact, previous studies on taxes have pointed to a ...

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Latinos to Feel More Heat Due to Bans on Protections for Outdoor Workers



With heat reaching record-breaking numbers every summer in some states, evidence points to our climate changing.  For instance, Florida saw its hottest year on record since 1895 when the surface temperatures reached 177 degrees in places. Heat indices rose to triple digits multiple days in a row in Texas, making 2023 the second-hottest summer on record.  In the wake of extreme heat, weather experts have advised people to limit their time outside when the sun is out, especially for the population’s most vulnerable people like seniors and children.  But what about those who can’t escape the heat?   Despite the weather, outdoor workers are braving the elements to provide a valuable service to support their families.   Many of these workers are Latino.  While ...

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Get Help Quitting Smoking for World No Tobacco Day on May 31!


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On May 31, you can join thousands of people who will begin their smoke-free journey on World No Tobacco Day! This annual event from the World Health Organization to "draw global attention to the tobacco epidemic and the preventable death and disease it causes." Need help quitting smoking? Enroll in Quitxt, a free English or Spanish text-message service that turns your phone into a personal “quit smoking” coach from UT Health San Antonio. To join Quitxt, text “iquit” (for English) or “lodejo” (for Spanish) to 844-332-2058. “On World No Tobacco Day, we’re excited to share Quitxt to provide real-time help with motivation to quit, setting a quit date, handling stress, and much more, all on your phone,” said Dr. Amelie G. Ramirez, director of the Salud America! ...

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How Do We Know if Complete Streets (or Any Streets) Are Meeting the Needs of Community Members?


How Do We Know if Complete Streets (or Any Streets) Are Meeting the Needs of Community Members?

We know little about which transportation investments or initiatives are reducing transportation barriers and meeting people’s transportation needs. For example, are Complete Streets policies meeting the needs of community members? As Smart Growth America releases its best practices to evaluate the success of Complete Streets efforts, we at Salud America! want to draw attention to how transportation needs and barriers have been conceptualized. Across the fields of urban planning, public health, and health care are claims about how transportation impacts health and quality of life. However, regarding these impacts, transportation is often conceptualized only in terms of physical activity, pollution, safety, and/or access to medical care. Although transportation is often ...

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7 Reasons to Do SDoH Screening in Healthcare


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Where you live can have a big impact on your health. Non-medical factors like where we are born, live, work, and age — known as social determinants of health (SDoH) — can influence health for better or worse. However, the U.S. has struggled to identify and help people with SDoH issues. That's where SDoH screening comes in. SDoH screening is a questionnaire given to patients in a healthcare setting to help providers identify non-medical barriers to health. These include issues like financial hardship, transportation, housing, food, employment, and safety. Patients can then be referred to helpful community resources. Here are seven reasons to implement SDoH screening in your healthcare system, hospital, or clinic. 1. SDoH Screening Helps Patients Speak Up SDoH ...

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USDA Limits Added Sugar and Sodium in School Meals!



School meals are getting healthier! The U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has published its final rule to improve school food nutrition standards based on the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The changes – supported by 438 Salud America! members and 74,000 people overall via public comments – include limiting added sugars (for the first time), reducing sodium, and emphasizing locally sourced fruits and vegetables. The updated rules will take effect starting July 1, 2024, but most changes will occur incrementally between fall 2025 and fall 2027. “The new standards build on the great progress that school meals have made already and address remaining challenges – including reducing sugar in school breakfasts. These updates also make it easier for schools to access ...

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Meet the Researchers Translating Science to Benefit Public Health in San Antonio



After careful consideration, the Institute for Integration of Medicine & Science (IIMS) at UT Health San Antonio and UTSA College for Health, Community, and Policy (HCaP) have announced the recipients of new Community Engagement Small Project Grants. Five grantees were chosen to lead projects covering HIV/AIDS, faith’s impact on criminal rehabilitation, artistic influence on young brain development, and more, according to a recent university news release. The grants, for one year and up to $5,000, aim to promote, develop, and expand community and scholarly research partnerships that benefit science and clinicians. Each project will meet local needs through community-engaged research or assessment, education, and distributing research results or policy implications. This ...

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How Healthcare Professionals Can Help Address Climate Change Health Effects



The summer of 2023 was one of the hottest seasons on record for some areas across the US, bringing sweltering temperatures that caused heat stroke and heat exhaustion. Experts see this as a prime example climate change endangering health. While extreme weather events like heat are nothing new, the frequency of these events is cause for concern, especially when it comes to health and well-being. To tackle some of these issues, the World Health Organization (WHO) has launched a new toolkit to help healthcare professionals arm themselves with knowledge about climate change and health. Communicating on climate change and health toolkit for health professionals discusses the ways to start difficult conversations about climate change with patients, other providers, and officials, and find ...

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USDA Approves Big Changes to Improve Nutrition in WIC Food Packages



USDA has approved a final rule to improve nutrition and support breastfeeding in food packages in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The final rule includes these changes: Require WIC-eligible whole grain breakfast cereals contain a whole grain as the first ingredient. Increase access to whole grains in breakfast cereal, bread, and grains, including "tortillas made with folic acid-fortified corn masa flour (once available in the marketplace)." Expand whole grain options to include foods like quinoa, blue cornmeal, and teff to reflect dietary guidance and accommodate individual or cultural preferences. Provide more convenience and options in the dairy category, including flexibility on package sizes and non-dairy substitution ...

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