251310 Development of obesity policies in New York City and State

Monday, October 31, 2011: 9:06 AM

Brian Elbel, PhD, MPH , NYU School of Medicine and NYC Wagner School of Public Service, New York University, New York, NY
The NYU NOPREN is engaged with obesity policy at both the city and state level. First, we will briefly review the results from examinations of two city policies. One, an evaluation of water jets (large, clear tap water dispensers) placed in school cafeteria lunch lines, was conducted in collaboration with the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene. Using a pre/post matched-pairs design, we determined whether water jets affect the consumption of water and milk during school lunches, as well as how water jets influence students' attitudes and behaviors regarding drinking water. Second, we review results from a study of menu labeling policy, examining how residents of low-income, racial/ethnic minority communities in New York City made decisions about food and utilized calorie labels in fast food chains. Through a series of focus groups, we identified structural and decision-making barriers to use of calorie labels. Building on the results of these studies and the collective knowledge of our network, we make recommendations for promising directions for New York State obesity policies. Faculty reviewed current State policies, came to consensus on areas that could be improved in NY, identified the evidence for what works, and prioritized realistic next steps. Three areas were prioritized: 1) implement tax and pricing changes, 2) control marketing to children, and 3) improve access to healthy food in New York State. We will describe the evidence and recommendations in each area.

Learning Areas:
Public health or related public policy

Learning Objectives:
1. Describe the impact of a water drinking intervention in schools. 2. Explain decision-making by low-income individuals regarding food choice, including barriers to use of menu labeling in fast food restaurants. 3. Discuss specific recommendations for obesity policies in New York State.

Keywords: Policy/Policy Development, Food and Nutrition

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am Assistant Professor of Medicine and Health Policy and my work focuses on how individuals make decisions about health.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.