253140 Leveraging national parks to promote healthy nutrition for individuals and communities: A CDC – National Park Service (NPS) Healthy Foods Assessment

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Alyson Goodman, MD, MPH , Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity; Obesity Prevention and Control Branch, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Allison Boothe, MPH , Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
David Wong, MD , Office of Public Health, National Park Service, Albuquerque, NM
Bettylou Sherry, PhD , Division of Nutrition Physical Activity and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Kurt Rausch , Commercial Services Program, National Park Service, Washington, DC
Heidi M. Blanck, PhD , Division of Nutrition Physical Activity and Obesity, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Atlanta, GA
Introduction: In 2010, NPS initiated Healthy Parks Healthy People US, a movement to promote health through improvements to physical activity, mental health and nutrition. However, NPS had limited information about the nutritional quality of foods sold in national parks to >280 million visitors annually. This pilot CDC-NPS nutrition environment survey aimed to provide baseline data and inform interventions. Methods: We adapted a validated observational tool to assess availability, pricing and promotion of nutrition offerings at 11 national parks in 6 states during May 2011. We created a novel smart-phone tool to assess free drinking water access, including GPS coordinates. Descriptive statistics provide baseline data for 49 vending machines, 34 snack shops, 21 restaurants, and 157 drinking water access points. Results: Only 34% of beverages offered in vending machines were low in calories. Among snack shops, 23% sold fruit, but 85% sold desserts (e.g. candy, popsicles). Snack shops offered twice as many types (e.g. soda, tea) of sugar-sweetened beverages (meanąSD; 4 ą 1.6) as beverages without added sugar (meanąSD; 2.2 ą 1.9). While 25% of restaurants featured displays promoting energy dense foods, just 5% promoted healthier foods. Only 20% of restaurant menus identified ≥1 healthy option and none listed nutrition information. Among drinking water access points, 78% functioned. Conclusion: This baseline assessment found limited healthy food options in national parks. Increasing promotion and availability of healthy foods and drinking water may aid NPS in improving nutrition for visitors/employees and in serving as a model for community parks and open spaces.

Learning Areas:
Chronic disease management and prevention
Conduct evaluation related to programs, research, and other areas of practice
Public health or related research

Learning Objectives:
-Describe methods for observationally measuring healthy foods access in parks -Identify the uses of smart-phone applications for data collection and analysis in parks and other open spaces -List opportunities for improvement to healthy food access, pricing, and promotion found in a sample of national parks

Keywords: Food and Nutrition, Environment

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: I am qualified to present because I am a pediatrician and medical epidemiologist focusing on chronic disease prevention and epidemiologic assessments of the nutrition environment
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.