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Cheadle A.,University of Washington | Samuels S.E.,Samuels And Associates | Rauzon S.,University of California at Berkeley | Yoshida S.C.,Samuels And Associates | And 5 more authors.
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2010

Despite growing support amongpublichealthresearchers and practitioners for environmental approaches to obesity prevention, there is a lack of empirical evidence from intervention studies showing a favorable impact of either increased healthy food availability on healthy eating or changes in the built environment on physical activity. It is therefore critical thatwe carefullyevaluate initiatives targeting the community environment to expand the evidence base for environmental interventions. We describe the approaches used to measure the extent and impact of environmental change in 3 community-level obesityprevention initiatives in California. We focus on measuring changes in the community environment and assessing the impact of those changes on residents most directly exposed to the interventions.

Nevarez C.R.,Public Health Institute | Lafleur M.S.,Samuels And Associates | Schwarte L.U.,Samuels And Associates | Rodin B.,Esperanza Community Corporation | Samuels S.E.,Samuels And Associates
American Journal of Preventive Medicine | Year: 2013

Background: The prevalence of overweight and obesity in children has risen nationally in recent decades, and is exceptionally high in low-income communities of color such as South Los Angeles CA. Independently owned restaurants participatingin the Salud Tiene Sabor program atethnic foods marketplace Mercado La Paloma in South Los Angeles are responding to the childhood obesity crisis by posting calories for menu items and providing nutrition information to patrons. Purpose: To evaluate whether menu labeling and nutrition information at point of purchase have an influence on availability of healthy food options, patron awareness of calorie information, and restaurant owners' support of the program. Methods: A case-study design using mixed methods included restaurant owner and stakeholder interviews, patron surveys, and environmental assessments. Data were collected using originally designed tools, and analyzed in 2009-2011. Results: Healthy eating options were available at the Mercado La Paloma; restaurant owners and the larger community supported the Salud Tiene Sabor program; 33% of patrons reported calorie information- influenced purchase decisions. Conclusions: Owners of independent restaurants have an important role in improving access to healthy foods in low-income, Latino communities. © 2013 American Journal of Preventive Medicine.

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.

Samuels S.E.,Samuels And Associates | Craypo L.,Samuels And Associates | Boyle M.,Samuels And Associates | Crawford P.B.,University of California at Berkeley | And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2010

Objectives. We conducted a midpoint review of The California Endowment's Healthy Eating, Active Communities (HEAC) program, which works in 6 lowincome California communities to prevent childhood obesity by changing children's environments. The HEAC program conducts interventions in 5 key childhood environments: Schools, after-school programs, neighborhoods, health care, and marketing and advertising. Methods. We measured changes in foods and beverages sold at schools and in neighborhoods in HEAC sites; changes in school and after-school physical activity programming and equipment; individual-level changes in children's attitudes and behaviors related to food and physical activity; and HEAC-related awareness and engagement on the part of community members, stakeholders, and policymakers. Results. Children's environments changed to promote healthier lifestyles across a wide range of domains in all 5 key childhood environments for all 6 HEAC communities. Children in HEAC communities are also engaging in more healthy behaviors than they were before the program's implementation. Conclusions. HEAC sites successfully changed children's food and physical activity environments, making a healthy lifestyle a more viable option for lowincome children and their families.

Lafleur M.,Samuels And Associates | Strongin S.,City Project | Cole B.L.,University of California at Los Angeles | Bullock S.L.,Samuels And Associates | And 5 more authors.
Annals of Behavioral Medicine | Year: 2013

Background: California law has standards for physical education (PE) instruction in K-12 public schools; audits found that the Los Angeles Unified School District did not enforce the standards. In 2009, the district adopted a PE policy to comply with these standards. Purpose: This study aimed to evaluate the outcomes of the PE policy in district schools. Methods: PE class observations were conducted using the System for Observing Fitness Instruction Time in the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years in an income-stratified random sample of 34 elementary, middle, and high schools to assess changes in PE class size, class duration, and time students spent in moderate to vigorous physical activity. Results: PE class duration increased in high-income elementary schools. Mean class size decreased in low-income middle schools. Conclusions: There was limited implementation of the PE policy 2 years after passage. Opportunities exist to continue monitoring and improving PE quantity and quality. © The Society of Behavioral Medicine 2012.

Schwarte L.,Samuels And Associates | Samuels S.E.,Samuels And Associates | Capitman J.,California State University, Fresno | Ruwe M.,California State University, Fresno | And 2 more authors.
American Journal of Public Health | Year: 2010

The goals of the Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP) are to promote safe places for physical activity, increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables, and support community and youth engagement in local and regional efforts to change nutrition and physical activity environments for obesity prevention. CCROPP has created a community-driven policy and environmental change model for obesity prevention with local and regional elements in low-income, disadvantaged ethnic and rural communities in a climate of poor resources and inadequate infrastructure. Evaluation data collected from 2005-2009 demonstrate that CCROPP has made progress in changing nutrition and physical activity environments by mobilizing community members, engaging and influencing policymakers, and forming organizational partnerships.

Schwarte L.,Samuels And Associates | Samuels S.E.,Samuels And Associates | Boyle M.,Samuels And Associates | Clark S.E.,Samuels And Associates | And 3 more authors.
Journal of Public Health Management and Practice | Year: 2010

The purpose of this research was to assess California public health departments capacity, practices, and resources for changing nutrition and physical activity environments for obesity prevention. The researchers surveyed key public health department personnel representing all 61 health departments in California using a Web-based survey tool. The response rate for the survey was 62 percent. This represented a 93 percent health department response rate. Analysis was conducted on the individual respondent and public health department levels and stratified by metropolitan statistical area and foundation-funded versus not foundation-funded. Public health departments are engaged in obesity prevention including environmental and policy change approaches. The majority of respondents stated that monitoring obesity rates and providing leadership for obesity prevention are important roles for public health. Health departments are involved in advocacy for healthier eating and/or physical activity in school environments and the development and monitoring of city/county policies to improve the food and/or physical activity environments. Funding and staff skill may influence the degree of public health department engagement in obesity prevention. A majority of respondents rate their staffing capacity for improving nutrition and physical activity environments as inadequate. Access to flexible foundation funding may influence how public health departments engage in obesity prevention. Copyright © 2010 Wolters Kluwer Health | Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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.

Yoshida S.C.,Samuels And Associates | Craypo L.,Samuels And Associates | Samuels S.E.,Samuels And Associates
Journal of Adolescent Health | Year: 2011

Purpose: To understand factors that build youth leadership through the Healthy Eating, Active Communities Program. Methods: In Fall 2007, six focus groups were conducted with 36 youth. Results: Leadership capacity was facilitated through teamwork, community assessments, and policy work. Conclusion: Youth gained leadership confidence while successfully advocating for community-level change. © 2011 Society for Adolescent Health and Medicine. All rights reserved.

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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