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APHA Supports The National Physical Activity Plan



In October of 2012, at the 140th Annual American Public Health Association (APHA) Meeting, The Governing Council created a resolution to support the National Physical Activity Plan (NPAP), as a strategic plan to improve physical activity rates in the United States. The NPAP includes over 250 strategies for active living similar to those mentioned in the 2011 National Prevention Strategy, published by the National Prevention Council through the General Surgeon's Office. It outlines strategies that would increase physical activity in all segments of the population, with special emphasis towards the vulnerable and at-risk populations. The plan features recommendations for 8 different sectors of society, which include: Business and industry Education Health Care Mass ...

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Mayor of Los Angeles Seeks to Bring More Parks to LA Through the 50 Parks Initiative



The city of Los Angeles Parks and Recreation Department is acquiring land to provide 50 new parks in park-poor, population-dense neighborhoods. In 2009, the the city of Los Angeles conducted an assessment of it's parks and found that many low-income neighborhoods lacked sufficient park space and facilities. As a result, Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa decided to launch the 50 Parks Initiative. Now, approximately $80.9 million in funding has been secured for the acquisition, design, and construction of  50 new parks. The city of Los Angeles has been able to acquire blighted properties to create more green space, by building "pocket" parks for children living in the underserved areas of Los Angeles. According to a January 2013 NBC News 4 report, the city had already built 7 parks, and had 10 ...

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A Baltimore Supermarket Buses Shoppers out of Food Deserts and into the Store



In East Baltimore, just hopping into a car and driving to pick up apples from the grocery store is not that easy. Many residents in the area don't have cars, and grocery stores are not within walking distance. These types of areas are called food deserts, leaving residents little food choices, especially when it comes to healthy foods. One local supermarket is hoping to help. "They define food deserts by the distance that people have to walk to get to the supermarket and that distance could be as short as half a mile but they factor in poverty levels and vehicle ownership which is low in many neighborhoods in Baltimore." Santoni's Super Market Owner Rob Santoni, Jr. says. Santoni says the answer is not putting a market on every corner, but making it easier to get to the ones you have. On ...

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Mississippi Legislators Encourage Schools to Adopt Shared Use Agreements



In 2012, Mississippi legislators passed a bill to encourage the shared use of schoolyards. Soon after the legislation passed, a state Joint Use Agreement (shared use agreement) Toolkit was developed. Now schools across the state have begun to enact and implement shared use agreements, as a measure to support active living and reduce obesity, among Mississippians of all backgrounds. This slideshow presentation, "Health is Academic," describes how the use of resources can be maximized through partnerships and shared use agreements. Another slideshow presentation, "Integrating research, legal technical expertise, and advocacy to inform, shape and promote successful shared use legislation in Mississippi," shows how representatives from the  University of Florida, the Public Health Law ...

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An Elementary Classroom’s Plea for More Recess



Ms. Wells’s second grade class in Fort Mills, South Carolina, wrote a letter to the Fort Mills Times editor, explaining their desire to have a second recess period at their school. In the letter they explain that more physical activity time will improve their ability to "focus better" in their classroom. Read the letter that Ms. Wells's class sent to the editor of the Fort Mills ...

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Houston Launches ‘The Healthy Houston Initiative’ to Combat Obesity



In September 2012, Mayor Annise Parker of Houston announced the launch of The Healthy Houston Initiative to help combat obesity in the city of Houston, Texas. The initiative will work to address food deserts, improve the Houston bike share program, expand hike and bike trails, and promote avenues for more physical activity. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Uhywt4njET4 This press release from Mayor Parker's office announces the launch of the Healthy Houston Initiative which will be led by a 22 member task force.  According to this statement, in 2010, 28% of fourth graders, 17% of adolescents age 15-18 and 29% of adults in Houston/Harris County were obese. According to a news article from the Houston Chronicle, Men's Fitness Magazine once named Houston the fattest city in the nation. The ...

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Washington Schools Improving Nutrition through New Wellness Policy



Schools in Wenatchee School District, Wa., will be seeing healthier meals in their lunch rooms and an improved effort to change the way food is used throughout the school day. The District's food service director, Kent Getzin, is focusing on encouraging students to try new foods, showing students where foods come from, and changing the way food is used in the school as reward or fund raising opportunities. “It comes back to our philosophy about our kids being healthy, and eating well, and the impact that has on learning,” said Superintendent Brian Flones, in The Wenatchee World article , “Like any other life skill, kids need to learn early what’s going to be best for them. And if we’re not modeling it with what we do at school, they’re going to probably leave with a lot ...

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West Virginia Aims to Reduce Obesity Through Healthy Breakfast for All Students



Students in Mason County, West Virginia, are able to begin their school day with a healthy, nutritious breakfast. They eat with their fellow classmates and prepare their brains for a day of learning. The success of school breakfasts for all students in Mason County has lead to the passing of a bill that will require all schools in West Virginia to provide a school breakfast to every student before the day's lesson's begin. The goal of this program is to improve achievement in the state and reduce childhood obesity, which is extremely important in this state with 29% of high school students being obese. Along with requiring breakfast, this bill requires every county to set up a fund to collect private donations that will go toward other healthy initiatives like buying more fresh produce ...

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Indiana Hospital Removes Sugary Drinks



Unhealthy drinks are the source of many extra calories in kids' diets, especially among Latino children. Unfortunately  sodas and other sugary drinks are easy to find in almost every community---even in hospitals! Let's be real: hospitals and sugary drinks just don't mix! In order to encourage patients and their families to make healthy beverage options, Indiana University Heath has begun removing all sugary drinks from cafeterias, vending machines and gift shops. Starting with their downtown Indianapolis and Fishers hospitals, the hospital system plans to eventually move sugary drinks out of its about a dozen other hospitals around the state. This sort of internal policy helps patients and families make healthier choices in a place that should serve as a role model for healthy ...

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