Monday, April 14, 2014

Sustainable Food Center helping to spread evidence-based food systems programs

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Interested in changing your local food system, but not sure where to start?  This week is National Public Health Week, and the theme for this year is "Public Health: Start Here."  When we heard that slogan, we instantly thought of the scientific evidence base as the best place to start.

It just so happens that one of the MSD Center's community partners, the Sustainable Food Center (SFC), is offering in-person, hands-on program replication training for their various food systems program areas. Among the programs being offered is the school-based Sprouting Health Kids program which has been evaluated by our research team and found to be effective in increasing fruit and vegetable intake among kids.

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Sherlock Holmes of Food, Brian Wansink, is 2014 Lectureship Speaker

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Think you’re immune to the wide-range of subconscious cues that cause us to “mindlessly” overeat? Think again. Or I should say, “don’t think again.”

This year’s Michael & Susan Dell Lectureship in Child Health speaker is award-winning researcher and author Brian Wansink, PhD of Cornell University. Wansink’s best-selling book Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think explains how the environment influences or even tricks people into buying and eating foods in ways they are unaware.

Having been called the “Sherlock Holmes of Food,” Wansink has been credited with improving the scientific understanding of food eating and food shopping. There’s no shortage of YouTube videos and TV clips of his experiments in action at the Cornell Food and Brand Lab.

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Caring for the Caregiver

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Four years ago, my parents’ lives changed drastically when my Grandmother moved to Portland to live with them. In the US, our aging population and slow economy has made caregiving more common, and 75% of the elderly frail in our country rely on healthcare provided by family members[1]. The act of caregiving has been directly associated with caregivers’ increased stress and decreased overall health[2].

Like so many other families, the move to Portland and eventually into a nursing home was hard on both GrandMary and my parents. I knew the stress of caring for my grandmother and the sadness both of my parents felt watching her decline was taking its toll on my mom and dad. What I didn’t know was the physical toll it was taking. Many research studies have been done focusing on caregiver burden, but few have focused on a major consequence of stress: caregiver nutrition and overall health. Thought to be significantly associated with increased stress, 20% of caregivers have a weight gain or loss of 10 or more pounds[1].