Food and Nutrition
Section Newsletter
Spring 2007

Angela M. Odoms-Young, PhD

Sarah Forrestal

Message from the Chair

Patricia Markham Risica, DrPH

Assistant Professor (Research) of Community Health

Institute for Community Health Promotion


The Food and Nutrition Section (FNS) has been very active in recent months.  I am very happy to report that the FNS conference program, after review of over 200 abstracts, is complete and ready for printing thanks to Sibylle Kranz.  Also, several policies were submitted on behalf of FNS including the resubmitted trans fat resolution, a new food safety resolution, policy statements on breastfeeding (with Maternal and Child Health), sustainable food systems (with Environmental Health), and three policies on physical activity by our physical activity colleagues who are working toward starting their own section. 


We are initiating a new Communications Committee to strategize the content of our various communication mechanisms including: the web site, e Communities (coming soon from APHA), a listserv or blast email system, and of course, the newsletter.  Congratulations to all of our section members who have contributed to the section already this year and all of you who are helping to move FNS forward now.


The Newsletter content will focus on Public Health nutrition topics that are important and timely, and to highlight specific activities in the area.  Angela Odoms-Young will again edit the Newsletter for FNS with the help of her Co-Editor, Sarah Forrestal.  This edition of the newsletter focuses on Childhood Obesity. The topic for the fall Newsletter will be Food Safety. Start thinking about articles on programs, research and advocacy related to this important Public Health topic that can be shared through the Newsletter. Janice Adams King, RN, MS and Sarah Fein, PhD from the Food Safety committee will serve as co-editors. The deadline for fall newsletter submissions is August 17, 2007.


What are your interests?  To meet all your informational needs, we would like to know more about the topical interests and professional environments of all our FNS members. Please take this very short survey to inform us all about your work.


Please go to

and complete our quick survey and tell us more about you, if you have not already done so.


Please take a few minutes to consider how you would like to be active in the section!  There is certainly plenty of opportunity for all, and the more we all work together, the more effective APHA can be on issues related to Food and Nutrition.


Thanks for all of your ideas and energy,


Patti Risica


Brown University

Box G-S121-8

Providence, RI 02903


401-863-6551 - fax

Special Section on Childhood Obesity: Lessons from Practice, Research and Advocacy

Photovoice Toolkit to Assess the Nutrition Environment in Schools


Lynn Fredericks is the author or “Cooking Time Is Family Time” (1999, Morrow), and founder of FamilyCook Productions, in NYC


Those of us who work in the field developing programmatic nutrition education strategies are no less eager than our academic colleagues to see evidence-based approaches for child overweight prevention.  Nonetheless, we often lack the financial resources to properly evaluate and publish promising approaches.  Consequently, it was with great interest that I listened closely as Marsha J. Spense presented at the 2005 APHA Annual Meeting on her research to address quality of the foods available in Tennessee public schools, “Using Photovoice to Assess the School Nutrition Environment.”[1]


Marsha detailed the use of Photovoice by a group of adult leaders representing all the stakeholders across the school community (teachers, administrators, parents, fitness staff and school food service).  The photos were categorized and presented by the team members who took the photos, and depicted all manner of ways in which food was available at school, including fundraisers, school celebrations, birthdays, etc. 


The photo of a teachers’ lounge depicting several different drink cups from several different fast food restaurants said it all.  No adult could view that photo and not conclude there was a problem with modeling to children about healthy eating at that school.  In fact, as the study results bore out, Photovoice was a powerful tool in the school environment to help develop consensus within the school community – especially among parents – about the nutritional issues, and to help identify priorities and develop the necessary ‘buy-in’ to create change.


As I sat in the session, the program developer inside me was chomping at the bit to apply this research in the field. After all, in September the following year, schools would be required to have their School Wellness Policies in place; what a great tool this could prove to be to assist with critical buy-in across school communities to implement and enforce the new policies.


I contacted Marsha Spense after conference, and she could not have been more delighted to learn that my organization, FamilyCook Productions, wished to gain her permission and assistance to make her research methodologies accessible to schools. With Marsha’s assistance, we set about developing an ‘electronic toolkit’ that described the evidence-based processes in an easy to follow, step-by-step format, for free download off our website.  Since November 2006, thousands of schools across the US have downloaded the tool and the feedback is encouraging (we hope to present more research on its use at our 2008 meeting).  In fact, the tool includes a parallel activity with students taking photos and presenting their findings to their peers at a school assembly. 


Clearly, the best outcomes of our Section’s scientific research sessions would be to inform practice by promising research.  I personally look forward to more opportunities to put my colleagues’ breakthrough methodologies into user-friendly practice modules for the benefit of communities far and wide.

[1] Spence, Marsha MS-MPH, RD, et al., “Data to Guide School Policy Development,” American Public Health Association 133rd Annual Meeting, Philadelphia, 2005:

Dollars and Sense: The Financial Impact of Selling Healthier School Foods





Gail Woodward-Lopez, MPH, RD is Associate Director, Center for Weight and Health at University of California at Berkeley


Two pilot studies conducted by the UC Berkeley Center for Weight and Health in conjunction with several other partner agencies[1] suggest that when nutrition standards are applied to “competitive” foods and beverages, school food service departments can benefit financially.  The two studies examined the impact of the nutrition standards as specified in California’s Senate Bill 19.  These nutrition standards were developed in response to rising rates of child obesity, and primarily limited the sugar and fat content of snack foods and sweetened beverages that are sold outside the school meal program, in food service a la carte, school stores, snack bars, vending machines, etc. 


Schools were concerned about potential loss in revenue if sales decreased after switching to healthier options.  Sales of snack foods and beverages did decrease in most cases, but participation in the meal program increased.  The gains in meal sales and reimbursements more than compensated for the losses in a la carte sales by the food service department. At 65% of the 20 middle and high schools, food service experienced an increase in total revenues (a la carte combined with meal sales) after implementing the nutrition standards; another 25% experienced very little change in total revenues; and 10% experienced a decrease.   Best of all, students were buying fewer snacks and sweetened beverages and eating meals instead.  


Other campus-based groups that depended on food and beverage sales did not fare as well.  Most experienced declines in revenue after implementing the standards.  However, in most cases losses were only a few hundred or a few thousand dollars per year.  Two of the biggest volume operations actually experienced increases in sales, primarily because they renovated their facilities, carefully selected their healthy products and engaged students in selecting and marketing the healthy options.  These results suggest that healthy alternatives can be profitable.


In order to reduce dependency on a la carte sales, school food service departments made several improvements to their meal program such as updating their menus, enhancing the eating and serving areas, and marketing the program with student input.   Some also had to upgrade their kitchen facilities to allow for preparation and storage of fresh foods on site.  On average school foods service departments spent about $50,000 per school from grant funds to upgrade their programs. This additional funding may be critical if food service is to effectively draw students to the meal program when a la carte sales decline.


These findings suggest that nutrition standards can be a win-win for students and school food service departments:  students improve their eating patterns and school food service may improve or at least may not worsen their bottom line.  However, to get these results, investments need to be made in order to enable food service to provide healthy meals that appeal to students. Furthermore, a decline in a la carte and other competitive foods and beverage sales may be a necessary part of this equation.  Therefore other campus groups would be well advised to shift to non-food and beverage forms of fundraising.  Additionally, care should be taken when considering the promotion of snack foods and beverages that are “compliant” with nutrition standards but would still compete with the school meal program, thereby potentially diluting the positive impacts described here.


For more information, visit for a complete copy of the LEAF (Linking Education, Activity and Food) study report and

 for a policy brief on the financial impact analysis.

[1] Samuels and Associates, California Dept. of  Education, The California Endowment, National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Disease, WestEd and the Health Trust of Santa Clara.

The Center for Science in the Public Interest: Childhood Obesity Policy Priority

Dr. Batada is currently a Nutrition Policy Fellow at the Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) in Washington, DC.



The Center for Science in the Public Interest has been working with the American Public Health Association to improve the nutritional quality of school foods.


Over the last decade, schools have made progress to improve the nutritional quality of school lunches and breakfasts.  However, foods sold outside of the school lunch and breakfast programs – out of vending machines, school stores, a la carte in the cafeteria, and fundraisers – are too often nutritionally poor. 


To assist schools in improving nutrition and other aspects of the school environment, CSPI worked with 50 other members of the National Alliance for Nutrition and Activity – or NANA – to develop model policies that serve as a strong set of policies to work toward over time.  Those policies and background materials are available at  Other CSPI resources include a School Foods Tool Kit, a School Foods Report Card, reports on healthy and unhealthy fundraising, and more, available at  


At the national level, a key step toward improving school foods is to pass the national Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act (S.771/H.R.1363). Currently, the US Department of Agriculture’s nutrition standards only limit the sale of soda, lollipops and other foods of minimal nutritional value.  They don’t address calories, saturated or trans fat, or salt.  Under the current law, Dove bars can be sold, most Popsicles can’t.  Candy bars are in, seltzer water is out.  Also, even those weak USDA standards apply only in the cafeteria during meal times.  It needs to cover all venues that sell food to kids throughout the school day. 


We need your help.  Nutrition and other health professionals should urge congressional representatives to cosponsor the Child Nutrition Promotion and School Lunch Protection Act (S.771/H.R.1363), which would allow USDA to update its school nutrition standards.  More information about the bill and a link to a model letter you can send to your Senators and Congressional Representative is at





What's a Junk Food (According to the USDA)?  Click here to find out.



not allowed:

Seltzer water

Caramel corn


(without fruit juice)

Jelly beans

Chewing gum


Cotton candy

Breath mints


allowed under

USDA’s nutrition



(with little juice)

French fries

    Ice cream bars

Candy bars



Snack cakes


Section News

What else about food, nutrition and obesity is on the APHA website?  We would like to develop a project to learn more about and review the food, nutrition, and obesity-related information available on the APHA main website. The purpose of the project would be for the FNS section to provide input, expertise, and recommendations to APHA regarding the content, labeling, and presentation of this work.  Do you or one (some) of your students have some time to search the APHA website and provide feedback on items found there?  If so, please email Patti Risica, Section Chair, at



APHA Action:  SCHIP, child health insurance, is the federal legislation that allocates funding to states to provide health care for children.  You may know the specific program in your state by a different name.  Many of the children cared for under this legislation are the same children that WIC and other nutrition programs target for food and nutrition. 


This year, APHA is trying a "Grass Tops" approach, by asking APHA members to contact their congressional delegation (members of US Congress and Senate) if they live in one of 20 key states.  Of that list of 20 states, 10 still need an APHA member contact.  If you live in AR, ID, IA, MI, MS, MT, ND, UT, WV, or WY, it would be very helpful if you could contact your affiliate to coordinate contacting these key congressional representatives.  Check the APHA website for contact numbers for your state affiliate, and email if you have questions regarding who, if anyone, is already being contacted in your state.


The rest of us should be in touch with our state affiliates to become a member, and to guide the affiliate to be actively in touch with the congressional delegation during the August recess.  Check the APHA website for more information, fact sheets, and other resources.

Employment, Conference and Grant Opportunities



Research and Program Coordinator
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia

(posted 06/21/07)

Research and Program Coordinator - Healthy Weight Program

Successful performance in a high-intensity work environment. Excellent problem identification and problem solving skills. Flexibility. Ability to handle multiple tasks. Excellent interpersonal, communication, organizational and managerial skills.

Interest or experience in pediatric obesity required.

Graduate of an accredited college with a minimum of a Bachelors Degree in a health related field, or related healthcare experience. Masters degree in public health or related field preferred.

Coordinates program and clinical research activities for the Healthy Weight Program, including research, analysis and reporting. Works to develop and foster relationships with community organizations around pediatric obesity. Supports and creates activities focusing on employee wellness. Develops and maintains communication tools, including internet and intranet sites and newsletters. Participates in grant application, preparation and submission, including coordination with Stokes Research Administration, the Internal Review Board etc. Maintains and manages health literacy review process.

Salary for this position is in the $40-50K range. Salary offers are based on internal equity criteria and skill and experience level of selected candidate.

To apply: Please visit and submit your resume to job # 07-11615.

For more employment opportunities go to




23-26 July 2007 - The Seventh Annual School Health Interdisciplinary Program (SHIP) . Turf Valley Resort & Conference Center, Ellicott City, MD. Contact Christina Huntley; 1-888-706-0980;

25-27 July 2007 - Maternal Nutrition Intensive Course. University of Minnesota, School of Public Health, Cowles Auditorium – Hubert H. Humphrey Institute, Minneapolis, MN; 612-626-4515; fax 612-626-4525;

28 July-1 August 2007 - IFT Annual Meeting & Food Expo. Institute of Food Technologists, McCormick Place Convention Center, Chicago, IL;

28 July-1 August 2007 - Society for Nutrition Education Annual Meeting. Hyatt Regency Chicago, Chicago, IL;

28 July-2 August 2007 - Nutritional-Immunology: It's Role in Health & Disease. The Federation of American Societes for Experimental Biolgoy (FASEB), Hilton El Conquistador Resort, Tucson, AZ;

4-9 August 2007 - Energy Balance, Body Fat & Disease. The Federation of American Societes for Experimental Biology and The Endocrine Society, Hyatt Grand Champions, Indian Wells, CA;

9 August 2007 - 2nd Annual Continuing Nutrition Education Series 2007: Current Research on the Gluten Free Diet. Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center, Department of Nutrition, Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center , Carroll Auditorium, Baltimore, MD; (410) 550-0311

18-20 October 2007 - Diversity in Physical Activity and Health: Measurement and Research Issues and Challenges. The Cooper Institute, Dallas, TX. Contact Melba Morrow; (972) 341-3200;

3-7 November 2007 – APHA 2007 Annual Meeting & Exposition.  Washington Convention Center, Washington, DC;

27-29 November 2007 - 2007 National Prevention and Health Promotion Summit: Creating a Culture of Wellness. DHHS Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion and CDC, Hyatt Regency Capitol Hill, Washington, DC;