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Food and Nutrition
Section Newsletter
Spring 2011

Message from the Chair

Deirdra Chester, F&N Chair
We are right in the middle of a most exciting year.  I would like to update you on the activities of the Food and Nutrition Section.  First of all, I want to send out a big “thank you” for all of your hard work in planning for this year’s Annual Meeting and also for making our Section a success.

We are well under way with planning the sessions for the APHA Annual Meeting to be held Oct. 29 – Nov. 2, 2011 in Washington, D.C.  This year’s theme is Healthy Communities Promote Healthy Minds & Bodies.  The Program Committee has done an excellent job!  We will be co-sponsoring some very exciting sessions with the Physical Activity SPIG, Mental Health, Epidemiology and the Environment and Breastfeeding Forum.  Thanks to all of you who donated your time and served as reviewers for abstracts submitted to the Section.  We ask that you also consider serving as a moderator or moderator assistant for a presentation at the Annual Meeting.  If you are interested, please contact Program Chair Ann Middleton.  

We are continuing work with the Fundraising Committee.  We are embarking on a drive for funds to help support our Section.  Please check our our letter below.  Our goal is to raise $5,000 by this year’s meeting.  If you are a member and would like to donate, please go to and click on “Donate.”  Please be sure to click on the Food and Nutrition Section when making your donation.

The midyear meeting was a success.  It provided an opportunity to meet with APHA staff and discuss our activities for the fall.  We still need your expertise on our upcoming policy statements, including revising the sodium policy.  Please consider writing a policy statement in your area of expertise if you think APHA is the appropriate organization to sponsor.

Sarah Forrestal and Rachel Fisher, along with their guest co-editors, are doing a great job editing the F&N newsletter. This edition highlights articles on social media and nutrition, thanks to the efforts of guest co-editors Melinda Boyd, Sara Coulter, and Amita Toprani. If you would like to contribute to a future edition, get in touch at  The deadline for the next newsletter is Sept. 12, 2011.  The next edition will feature articles on school wellness and the work environment.

In closing, I would like you all to get involved in F&N; this is your section!  With more of us working, each one of us is working less!

Thank you all for your hard work and commitment in making our section great!

Deirdra Chester, F&N Chair

Using Social Media to Spread the Word About Nutrition

Dietitians and public health nutrition professionals need to get into social media for a number of reasons; one, it's fun, and secondly, it's the new place to hang out, like your neighbors chatting over the garden fence except your neighbors can now be anywhere all over the world. More and more folks are getting online, chatting on Facebook, reading blogs, and tweeting, often looking for health information. Nutrition professionals can be the shining light for evidence based information and be real and genuine people the public can connect with, which in turn increases respect for the profession in this arena and creates work for us. Getting into social media is also a wonderful way to network with your peers and other health professions, creating your online resume. In fact, a journalism professor recently stated you will be measured by your last tweet.


It's also fun to consider joining chats on Twitter (e.g., #RDchat on the first Wednesday of every month). Consider having a website or a blog, a Facebook page for the blog or your business, and tweeting. The key is to have fun with it, make real connections, and only do what time allows. It doesn't matter if you only blog infrequently; it is the quality of the posts and meaningful relationships built in the community, on Facebook, or on Twitter that matters. I personally love blogging and social media. I started my blog about three years ago, and I now have a strong Twitter following (@chowandchatter - and a recipe app for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch. All I have learned about social media and the support from the amazing food blogging community has allowed me to speak to dietitians on social media and even coach a few on it. The possibilities are endless. I personally don't see any cons to using social media if you are passionate about the information you want to share. It will gradually flow naturally.

Creating a Broader Network with Social Media

Think social media sites like Facebook and Twitter are just a waste of time? UBC Dietetics alumnus Gloria Tsang, RD, editor-in-chief of, disagrees. She’s using these tools to gather support from new contacts and engage with a broad, worldwide community to further a cause she’s passionate about: sharing the goodness of nutrition.


Gloria uses Twitter and Facebook to connect with people she’d never reach locally who are also passionate about nutrition. They then spread the message to friends and family, both in the real world and online, creating a growing network of friends and fans open to learning about nutrition.


To create a broader network, Gloria participates in Twitter chats – live, real-time conversations on Twitter – through which she can share the importance of good nutrition with people she has not yet connected with directly.


“I was invited by #foodchat to talk about healthy eating in January,” Gloria said. “Through that chat, I connected with many farmers, both small and large, and learned about issues I would not have heard about in any other setting.”


She also regularly joins #RDChat to connect with RDs from around the world and discuss issues relevant to nutrition and the RD profession.


Also, Gloria uses LinkedIn Events to connect with fellow conference attendees before arriving at an event. A brief pre-event meet-up with these connections allows Gloria to build a solid base of contacts that will help her spread her nutrition message – before she even hits the conference room.


Gloria just released her first book, Go UnDiet. For more information Gloria’s work, go to, or connect with her on Twitter and LinkedIn.

Early Childhood Obesity Prevention in Public Health

Early childhood health is foundational to health throughout the life course. The rising incidence of obesity poses a significant challenge to those who work with and care for young children and their families.  Mounting evidence points to the importance of focusing on intrauterine life, infancy and the preschool years to establish long-term regulation of energy balance.


The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PedNSS) is a nationally compiled obesity surveillance system. In the U.S. population, the prevalence of obesity for children 2 to 5 years of age is 13 percent.  Findings from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey revealed that the obesity rate increased from 5.0 percent to 10.4 percent in children aged 2-5 years,  and from 6.5 percent to 19.6 percent among those aged 6-11, from 1976-80 to 2007-2008. Identifying effective interventions encompassing behavioral, environmental and policy strategies is key to addressing and preventing the growing problem of childhood obesity.


Several risk factors are associated with preventing childhood overweight and obesity. However, there is little guidance on effective, comprehensive approaches to address this growing problem. This article provides a very brief summary of the factors associated with early childhood obesity and reviews current guidelines and best practices for assessment, treatment and prevention of obesity, with special focus on the child care sector.


Three studies funded by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment contributed to and provided the foundational inputs for early childhood obesity research: Medical Provider Scan (2007, Dr. Kathryn Bird); Staff Perceptions Survey and Interviews (2008, Dr. Laura Bellows, survey of child care providers); Child Care Provider Environmental Scan (2009, Dr. Cynthia Gillette Dormer). Building upon these foundational studies, CDPHE and M. Colleen Domer, MS, RD, conducted a two-phased early childhood obesity prevention project. Phase One included a comparative analysis of the Colorado Child Care Champions Best Practices and other national recommendations and guidelines, and a thorough review of research-based literature. Phase Two included the findings from Phase One in a survey of state and local programs in Colorado to inventory activities related to early childhood obesity prevention.


For Phase One, summary statements, quality, consistency, quantity, impact, ability to generalize and grade of evidence for each research question were summarized onto a worksheet to determine evidence grade.  Factors were grouped by category (Figure 1. Prenatal, Lifestyle, Infant Feeding Practices, Energy Intake, Energy Output, and Family and Community).


The results of Phase One led to activities in Phase Two. For Phase Two, two survey tools were developed to inventory early childhood obesity prevention efforts in Colorado.


A large, dynamic body of evidence exists regarding early childhood obesity prevention, providing a strong foundation for this work. The strongest grade level of evidence (I-II) for preventing early childhood obesity relates to the following areas and factors:  pre-pregnancy body mass index, gestational weight gain, birth weight, weight gain 0-2 years and sleep. Survey results suggest that current efforts may be focused on factors that have a lower grade level of evidence (e.g., child care, lifestyle, etc.), rather than those factors identified as grade level I or II. As previously mentioned, the research on early childhood obesity prevention is vast and growing.  In this review, levels of evidence for some factors rated lower due to inconclusive or limited research.  Additional research is needed and new research must be monitored in order to continue to inform obesity prevention efforts.



Fiestas de Salud: A Healthy Way to Connect with the Latino Community

Families, friends, fun and food. These are the ingredients for the Fiestas de Salud, a popular nutrition program for Latinos in Hennepin County, Minnesota.


Led by Latina community health workers (promotoras), families and friends gather in homes and churches to learn about healthy eating. As they acculturate into the United States, Latino residents find their diets become higher in fat, salt and calories, leading to diet-related health concerns. Promotoras provide nutrition information using games and a color-coded diet message to make the information simple and memorable.  For example, fiesta participants find it easy to remember that yellow and orange vegetables like carrots and squash help fight infection and heal wounds.  Or that purple produce helps reduce the risk of heart disease. As one participant put it, “I like the nutrition class because it teaches us the benefits of fruits and vegetables and why we should eat them. It helps us to be healthy.”


Fiestas de Salud is a successful collaboration of many partners, including:

     Comunidades Latinas Unidas en Servicio, a local social service agency which recruits and supervises the promotoras who deliver the nutrition education.

     Latino churches, which provide safe and familiar meeting spaces for the fiestas.

     La Invasora, a local radio station which produces and airs fruit and vegetable spots for Latino listeners.

     Cub Foods, a local grocery store which provides produce and space for sampling sessions for Latino customers to try new fruits and vegetables.


Hennepin County Public Health created the nutrition curriculum and fiesta materials, and county staff provide ongoing health training for the promotoras. The materials were created with input from the Latino community for a look and feel that appeal to the Latino audience.


“Over the last two years, the promotoras and fiestas have used fun, positive healthy eating messages to reach more than 500 individuals in homes and churches, and another 1,500 at grocery stores,” said Liliana Tobon-Gomez, a health promotion specialist from Hennepin County Public Health. “We’re grateful to our many partners in the community who have made this program such a success over the last several years.”  For more information, contact Liliana Tobon-Gomez at (612) 596-9977 or visit the Hennepin County website at


The project is partially funded by the State of Minnesota and with Federal funds from the United States Department of Agriculture, food stamp program by way of the Minnesota Food and Nutrition Network at the University of Minnesota Extension.

In New Orleans, Students Eat Their Spinach and Their Kale and Chard, Too!

"Kids won’t eat healthy food” is often heard across the country during school food reform discussions. Edible Schoolyard New Orleans, or ESY NOLA, has shown otherwise; they completely overhauled the cafeteria program at four schools, and the kids still like and eat the food. The secret to their success is fun, hands-on food education; an idea that is usually lost among debates over price, nutrient content, student choice, etc…


ESY NOLA is a signature program of FirstLine Schools, which operates four schools in New Orleans. Over the last five years, they have worked with Sodexo, their contracted food service provider, to change the menu at these four schools. They have gone from a “heat and serve” processed menu to one where all entrees are cooked from scratch on site. Additional changes include: 75 percent whole grains; fresh fruit and fresh or frozen vegetables; daily salad bar; lean meats such as ground turkey instead of beef; non-fat and low-fat, unflavored milk; water pitchers on the tables; a protein, grain, and fresh fruit for breakfast daily; and reducing processed meats, canned foods, high fructose corn syrup, and trans and saturated fats. Surveys of student acceptance of new, healthy entrées done by the Prevention Research Center at Tulane University found that baked chicken with brown rice was the most popular entrée.


In addition to this cafeteria work, ESY NOLA integrates hands-on organic gardening and seasonal cooking into the school learning experience and culture. Students grow, harvest, prepare and enjoy food together. Students also participate in field trips to local farms and farmers markets, cooking events with guest chefs from local restaurants, and seasonal tastings of local citrus, berries and melon. Even kindergarteners experience a variety of new foods by tasting their way through the alphabet in their Food ABC classes. Also, new cafeteria recipes and menu items are piloted with students in cooking class before adding them to the cafeteria menu. All of this food education adds up to students eating healthy food. In fact, the PRC survey found that acceptance of new, healthy entrees was 10-16 percent higher at the three schools with robust gardening and cooking programs than at the newest school with the least programming. Students at ESY NOLA partner schools grow, cook and eat healthy food at school and even ask for it at home -- so much so that ESY NOLA started parent cooking classes for those who were asking to learn to prepare these new foods their children requested.  For more information, contact Alison Heston at or visit

Food and Nutrition Needs Your Help

Dear F&N Member,


Each year, at the APHA Annual Meeting, the Food and Nutrition Section recognizes achievements of nutrition professionals at the national, state and community levels.  The Food and Nutrition Section’s Annual Awards Program highlights achievements of deserving awardees to show our support for esteemed accomplishments and to encourage our peers and new professionals to strive for greatness in the area of nutrition.


Over the years, as the economy has weakened, our once vibrant awards program has suffered from lack of funds. Our annual awards program is a joyous occasion, and we would like to make it a memorable event for all who attend.


To help the Food and Nutrition Section have a memorable awards program this year, support students, and sponsor invited speakers, we are holding a fundraising campaign with a goal to raise $5,000.   We are suggesting the following levels of giving:


Donation Amount

You Receive:


Receipt for donation and cash bar coupon for one free drink


Receipt for donation and cash bar coupon for two free drinks

$50.00 or more

Receipt for donation; cash bar coupon is based on level of donation


Our goal this year of $5,000 is quite attainable if every member contributes as little as $10!  We will be initiating a “Levels of Giving” section in our Awards Program Booklet, with names of members contributing.


We ask that you make a donation today.  Help us reach our goal as we all work toward a healthier and food secure nation and world. Please click to donate to your Food and Nutrition Section. 


We look forward to seeing you in Washington, D.C., in October!




Katie Kavanagh, PhD, RD, LDN

Chair, 2010-2011 Awards Committee


Deirdra Chester, PhD, RD

Chair, Food and Nutrition Section



Registration Now Open for APHA’s 139th Annual Meeting and Exposition

Registration is now open for the APHA 139th Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., Oct. 29 - Nov. 2, 2011.  More than 1,000 cutting edge scientific sessions will be presented by public health researchers, academicians, policy-makers and practitioners on the most current public health issues facing the nation today. Please visit the Annual Meeting website for registration and more information.

Food and Nutrition will have a strong presence at the meeting. View the sessions sponsored by our Section in the interactive Online Program. Search the program using keyword, author name or date. Don’t forget to visit the Section and SPiG pavilion in the Public Health Expo next to Everything APHA to speak to a Section representative.

Need-Based Scholarships Available for Students to Attend the Annual Meeting

APHA is proud to announce the availability of need-based scholarships, sponsored by External Medical Affairs, Pfizer Inc., for student members to attend the 139th Annual Meeting and Exposition in Washington, D.C., from Oct. 29 to Nov. 2, 2011. Twelve students will be granted registration and up to a $500 stipend to use toward food, lodging, and transportation. An additional four students will be given Annual Meeting registration only. Recipients of the scholarships will be chosen based on financial need and essay. As part of the award, students will be strongly encouraged to attend at least one Section business meeting. Please spread the word to student members of F&N about this unique opportunity! Visit for complete details and application. Please contact Pooja Bhandari with any questions.

New Goals for APHA 2011 Annual Meeting: Less Trash! Less Plastic!


The 2011 APHA Annual Meeting theme "Healthy Communities Promote Healthy Minds and Bodies" gives APHA members an opportunity to build on the 2009 and 2010 themes of Water and Social Justice as public health priorities.


Green Goals. The APHA Food and Environment Working Group, the Environment Section's 100th Anniversary Committee, and APHA are setting goals to reduce waste and promote a sustainable, just, and healthy food and water system. 


Got Trash? We encourage everyone at the Annual Meeting to increase efforts to reduce trash, especially paper and plastic.


 The Diversion Rate (the recycling/trash ratio) in D.C. at APHA 2007 was 34 percent.

The Diversion Rate in Denver at APHA 2010 was 53 percent.

Can we achieve a Diversion rate of 75 percent at APHA 2011?


 -- The D.C. Convention Center’s water fountains and food service sinks provide filtered water! Bring your own refillable bottle to the conference to cut down on plastic waste.


 -- Plan events using local resources and services that encourage wise use of water and other resources. If you need advice or suggestions, contact us:


-- Buy food sourced from sustainable producers and distributors.


-- If using disposables, use compostable products and use the facility compost program. Label containers so compostables do not go into the waste stream.


-- Take advantage of the D.C. Convention Center's Green Initiatives.


-- Learn more about APHA 2011 Environmental Initiatives.


Be an Ambassador of public health and social justice in your own community. Share information about the social justice, public health and environmental problems caused by bottled water and water privatization, especially disposable plastic water bottles. Use the "Resources and References" below and on the Food and Environment Working Group’s Facebook page:


Share ideas for waste reduction at APHA Annual Meeting programs, scientific sessions, events and exhibits. Send your questions and suggestions to Ellie Goldberg and join the conversation on the Food and Environment Working Group’s Facebook page.



The APHA Food and Environment Working Group is a multi-disciplinary collaboration across APHA Sections, housed in the Food & Nutrition and Environment Sections. Colleagues work together to protect public health by promoting and cultivating a safe, healthy, just and sustainable food system.


If you would like to work with us toward these goals, contact Rebecca Klein. Working Group membership is open to all APHA members.



Resources and References:


Bottled Water Myths


Bottled Water: Get the Facts


Blue Gold, Maude Barlow




Check Out What’s on “MyPlate”

On June 2 the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the replacement of the food pyramid with MyPlate. MyPlate depicts components and portions of a healthy meal using a table plate with four colored sections representing fruits, vegetables, protein and grains and a smaller side plate representing dairy. The symbol will be used in educating Americans about nutrition recommendations in the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. More information at:

Nutrition in Public Health Now Available from APHA Press

Nutrition in Public Health book coverThe all new third edition of Nutrition in Public Health defines the state of public health nutrition and the services offered in the United States today. It provides readers with a description of public health in the United States through data and expertise from relevant contributing authors, and discusses the active services and service agencies that are available to manage today’s health issues.

Update on APHA Book Publications – June 2011

I am very pleased to announce that there are a number books in production as well proposals for books that have been accepted, and work on them is under way. Furthermore, several authors of current products will be available to sign their books at the APHA Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

APHA members of all Sections are encouraged to using existing, new and emerging products in their academic courses. These resources are also very relevant to policy, prevention, advocacy and client care initiatives. Please encourage your colleagues to use these timely and evidence-based resources. Go to the APHA bookstore website to find out more. 

We are also looking for new proposals for books. If you have an idea for a book, please send a few paragraphs describing the idea, intended audience and your qualifications to Nina Tristani, Director of Publications for APHA.

Thank you for supporting APHA Books and promoting these products.

·      Environmental Health and Racial Equity in the United States, Robert D. Bullard, PhD; Glenn S. Johnson, PhD; and Angel O. Torres, MCP

Books at Printer in June
·      Megacities and Public Health, Omar Khan, MD, MHS
·      Public Health Management of Disasters, 3rd edition, Linda Landesman

Books Currently in Production
·      Injury Prevention for Children and Adolescents: Research Practice, and Advocacy, 2nd edition, Karen D. Liller, PhD
·      School–Based Health Care, Terri Wright, MPH and Jeanita Richardson, PhD

Books in Development
·      Control of Communicable Diseases Manual, 20th Edition
·      Control of Communicable Diseases Lab Book
·      Compendium of Methods for the Examination of Foods, 5th Edition
·      Caring for Our Children, 3rd edition
·      Standard Methods for the Examination of Water and Wastewater, 22nd edition

·      Communicating Public Health Information Effectively is now on Kindle.

Co-sponsored Books
Jossey-Bass: Emerging Infectious Diseases published in April 2011.

Jones and Bartlett Learning books to be published before the 2011 annual meeting: Essentials of Biostatistics in Public Health, Essential Case Studies in Public Health: Putting Public Health into Practice, Global Health 101, Field Epidemiology in Public Health Practice, Epidemiology in Women's Health, Essentials of Health, Culture and Diversity, Epidemiology of Chronic Disease, Introduction to Air Pollution Science, and Essentials of Program Planning and Evaluation.

APHA is also co-publishing with Wiley, Designing Healthy Communities by Richard Jackson. The book is a companion to a PBS series to air this fall.

APHA Resources on Transportation and Health

These are exciting times when considering the many ways our transportation systems impact health and equity in our communities. Congress extended the current federal surface transportation bill until Sept. 30, 2011, and Congressional committees are aiming to draft a new transportation bill before this latest extension ends.

Want to learn more about the connections between transportation, equity and health? View our archived webinar series, subscribe to the monthly transportation and health eNewsletter that offers an array of new events and updates, and download the newly released online public health and transportation toolkit and accompanying resources today.

We also invite you to send a message to your members of Congress urging that they ensure that strong public health provisions are included in the federal surface transportation reauthorization. For more information, visit

F&N Newsletter Submissions

Are you teaching an innovative public health nutrition course? Working on an exciting project?  Do you have a job opening or a conference you’d like to promote?  Food and Nutrition Section members are encouraged to submit content to the newsletter, which is published online three times annually.  The remaining 2011 deadline is Friday, Sept. 16.  E-mail news, research updates, or announcements to the newsletter co-editors at