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OAKLAND, CA, United States

Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 101.94K | Year: 2007

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): This SBIR Phase I Application proposes to test the feasibility of a web-based, user-friendly, innovative, commercially viable assessment system that focuses on measuring changes in the competitive school food and beverage environment: the Food and Beverage Environment Assessment and Monitoring System (Food BEAMS). Food BEAMS will fill a crucial gap in achieving healthy school food environments by enabling government agencies, public health advocates, and school personnel to easily assess competitive school foods and beverages and their adherence to nutrition standards. The system will use an observational data collection methodology to accurately catalogue competitive foods and beverages sold on school campuses, link to a nutrient database of competitive foods and beverages, and assess their adherence to competitive food and beverage standards. Development of the tool will build on the experience of Samuels and Associates in the field of nutrition environment evaluation and policy research as well as the expertise of Altrue Inc. for web-based database software prototyping. Specifically, development of the tool will involve: electronically automating a system for measuring nutritional quality of all competitive foods and beverages sold on school campuses, updating and expanding the competitive school foods nutrient database, and testing the feasibility and reliability of researchers and non-researchers in using the web-based tool. In addition, a number of experts and end users will be employed as part of an Advisory Committee for prototype development and user testing.


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase II | Award Amount: 702.95K | Year: 2009

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Phase II Childhood obesity is a growing and increasingly serious public health problem. Children's easy access to unhealthy foods at school may be contributing to high rates of childhood overweight and obesity. Samuels and Associates (SandA) seeks to address the issue of childhood obesity by developing a user- friendly and innovative assessment system that measures the nutritional quality of competitive foods sold on school campuses: the Food and Beverage Environment Assessment and Monitoring System (Food BEAMS). Food BEAMS would enable schools and other entities to effectively determine their adherence to nutrition standards, improve their nutrition environments, influence the development of healthy eating habits and ultimately slow the rates of childhood obesity. During Phase I, SandA successfully developed a Food BEAMS prototype which uses an observational data collection methodology to accurately catalogue competitive foods and beverages sold on school campuses, link to the nutrient database of competitive foods and beverages, and assess adherence to competitive food and beverage standards. The goal for Phase II is to develop a fully functional user-friendly software with the flexibility to analyze the nutritional quality of foods and beverages against multiple nutrition standards. Specifically, Phase II efforts will involve: re-configuring the technical application design to function in a central server and remote client format; improving the user interface to increase user-friendliness, decrease data entry time and decrease error; increasing the coverage and improving the management of the nutrient database within the system; and increasing the functionality of the system to enable users to adapt the adherence analysis to multiple nutrition standards. Finally, an experimental design will be employed to compare adherence to nutrition standards in high schools randomly assigned to use Food BEAMS and high schools randomly assigned as control sites. With the increasing number of nutrition policies at schools, health care institutions and government agencies, there is a growing market for tools that help with implementation and monitoring of nutrition standards. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: This application will support the development of an innovative and user-friendly data collection and analysis tool, the Food and Beverage Analysis and Measurement System (Food BEAMS) that can be used by non-researchers such as government agencies, public health advocates and school personnel to easily and accurately assess competitive school foods and beverages and their adherence to nutrition standards. Use of this product on a national level will increase monitoring of adherence to nutrition standards and has the potential to improve the school food environment, provide students with healthier choices, influence the development of healthy eating habits among youth and ultimately slow the rates of childhood obesity.


Samuels S.E.,Samuels And Associates | Craypo L.,Samuels And Associates | Barry J.,Cornell University | Bullock S.L.,Samuels And Associates
Journal of School Health | Year: 2010

Background: Competitive foods and beverages are available on most US school campuses. States and school districts are adopting nutrition standards to regulate these products, but few studies have reported on the extent to which schools are able to adhere to competitive regulations. The purpose of this study was to describe the extent to which schools in disadvantaged communities were able to implement California competitive food and beverage standards. Methods: Data on the competitive foods (n = 1019) and beverages (n = 572) offered for sale on 19 school campuses were collected in 2005 and 2008. Descriptive statistics were generated on overall adherence rates to school nutrition standards and adherence rates by venue and school level. Logistic regression models tested predictors of adherence by continuous and categorical variables (eg, venue, item selling price). Results: Data show an increase from 2005 to 2008 in average adherence to the California standards. Several predictors had statistically significant associations with adherence or nonadherence. Adherence was higher for competitive foods sold in school stores than foods sold in vending machines. Higher selling price was associated with lower adherence. Competitive foods classified as entrees were more likely to adhere than snack items, and larger total size (in fluid ounces) beverages were associated with higher adherence. Conclusions: Schools have begun to implement competitive food and beverage policies. However, school environments, particularly in secondary schools, are not 100% compliant with school nutrition standards. These findings can inform policymakers and school officials about the feasibility of implementing competitive food standards in schools. © 2010, American School Health Association. Source


Woodward-Lopez G.,University of California at Berkeley | Gosliner W.,University of California at Berkeley | Samuels S.E.,Samuels And Associates | Craypo L.,Samuels And Associates | And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2010

Objectives. We assessed the impact of legislation that established nutrition standards for foods and beverages that compete with reimbursable school meals in California. Methods. We used documentation of available foods and beverages, sales accounts, and surveys of and interviews with students and food service workers to conduct 3 studies measuring pre- and postlegislation food and beverage availability, sales, and student consumption at 99 schools. Results. Availability of nutrition standard-compliant foods and beverages increased. Availability of noncompliant items decreased, with the biggest reductions in sodas and other sweetened beverages, regular chips, and candy. At-school consumption of some noncompliant foods dropped; at-home consumption of selected noncompliant foods did not increase. Food and beverage sales decreased at most venues, and food service à la carte revenue losses were usually offset by increased meal program participation. Increased food service expenditures outpaced revenue increases. Conclusions. Regulation of competitive foods improved school food environments and student nutritional intake. Improvements were modest, partly because many compliant items are fat- and sugar-modified products of low nutritional value. Additional policies and actions are needed to achieve more substantive improvements in school nutrition environments and student nutrition and health. Source


Grant
Agency: Department of Health and Human Services | Branch: | Program: SBIR | Phase: Phase I | Award Amount: 118.75K | Year: 2011

DESCRIPTION (provided by applicant): Phase I Obesity is a growing and increasingly serious public health problem that disproportionately affects low-income communities of color. Low-income areas and communities of color tend to have less access to grocerystores and other retail stores that sell healthy foods than higher- income, predominantly Caucasian neighborhoods. These inequities in access to healthy foods may contribute to the increase in obesity rates and pervasive health disparities among low- income communities of color. Reversing obesity trends will require a range of interventions, including a systematic approach to improving food retail environments. Critical to evaluating efforts to improve food retail environments are measures designed to assess small neighborhood stores. Samuels and Associates (SandA) proposes to test the feasibility of developing a web-based software tool, the Store Analysis and Monitoring System (SAMS), which can be use to efficiently assess small store food environments anddetermine an overall health score for stores based on the quantity and nutritional quality of food and beverage items observed. The long term goal of this project is to enable public health departments, researchers and consumers to use cell phones to accurately and efficiently inventory products in stores, determine health scores and make improvements to store environments. The ability to assess and monitor stores will provide data on the factors that influence eating behaviors and may ultimately help to drive significant improvements in the availability of nutritious foods in stores across the United States. PUBLIC HEALTH RELEVANCE: This proposal will support the development of an innovative data collection and analysis software tool, the Store Analysis and Monitoring System (SAMS). The system will be used to inventory foods and beverages in stores and to determine an overall health score for stores based on the quantity and nutritional quality of items observed. Accurate data on store environments and the factors within the stores that encourage or discourage healthy eating behaviors can serve to increase access to healthy foods in under-served communities, influence eating behaviors, and contribute to the prevention of obesity.

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