Monday, October 31, 2011

Despite Industry Promises, Yale Study Finds Unprecedented Marketing of Sugary Drinks to Youth

Young people are being exposed to a massive amount of marketing for sugary drinks, such as full-calorie soda, sports drinks, energy drinks, and fruit drinks, according to a new study from the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity. The study is the most comprehensive and science-based assessment of sugary drink nutrition and marketing ever conducted.

The data show that companies marketing sugary drinks target young people, especially black and Hispanic youth. Researchers from the Rudd Center will present detailed findings of the study on Oct. 31 during the American Public Health Association’s Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C.

The report’s authors studied marketing by 14 beverage companies and examined the nutritional quality of nearly 600 products including full-calorie soda, energy drinks, fruit drinks, flavored water, sports drinks, and iced teas, as well as diet energy drinks and diet children’s fruit drinks.

“Beverage companies have pledged to improve child-directed advertising,” said lead researcher Jennifer Harris, director of marketing initiatives at the Rudd Center. “But we are not seeing a true decrease in marketing exposure. Instead companies have shifted from traditional media to newer forms that engage youth through rewards for purchasing sugary drinks, community events, cause-related marketing, promotions, product placements, social media, and smartphones."
Key study findings include:
Many fruit drinks and energy drinks have as much added sugar and calories as full-calorie soda:
  • An 8-ounce serving of a full-calorie fruit drink has 110 calories and 7 teaspoons of sugar – the same amount found in an 8-ounce serving of a full-calorie soda or energy drink.
  • Children ages 4 to 8 should consume no more than 15 grams of added sugar per day, according to and the American Heart Association. Given that there are at least 15 grams of sugar per serving in two-thirds of the drinks marketed to children, these drinks contribute to excess sugar consumption. Even 6-ounce child-sized drink pouches like Capri Sun Originals have about 14 grams of added sugar.
  • Forty percent of children’s fruit drinks contain artificial sweeteners.
  • More than half of sugary drinks and energy drinks display nutrient-related claims on their packages, and 64 percent feature their “all-natural” or “real” ingredients. For example, Cherry 7 Up Antioxidant highlights it is “low sodium,” and labels on Kool-Aid powders promote that they have “25% fewer calories than the leading beverage.”
Energy drinks are inappropriate for children and teens, yet they are heavily marketed to them:
  • The American Academy of Pediatrics says that highly caffeinated energy drinks “have no place in the diet of children and adolescents.” Despite this medical advice, the companies clearly target teens.
  • In 2010, teens saw 18 percent more TV ads and heard 46 percent more radio ads for energy drinks than adults did. Teens also saw 20 percent more TV ads for energy drinks in 2010 than they saw in 2008.
  • Parents have no way to monitor caffeine in drinks because caffeine content is not required – and is often not listed – on product packages.
 Despite industry promises to stop marketing unhealthy beverages to children:
  • From 2008 to 2010, children’s and teens’ exposure to full-calorie soda TV ads doubled.
  • This increase was driven by Coca-Cola and Dr Pepper Snapple Group. Children were exposed to 22 percent fewer ads for PepsiCo sugary drink products.
 Companies are targeting black and Hispanic children and teens:
  • Black children and teens saw 80 percent to 90 percent more ads compared with white youth, including more than twice as many for Sprite, 5-hour Energy, and Vitamin Water.
  • From 2008 to 2010, Hispanic children saw 49 percent more ads for sugary drinks and energy drinks on Spanish-language TV, and Hispanic teens saw 99 percent more ads.
  • Hispanic preschoolers saw more Spanish-language ads for Coca-Cola Classic, Kool-Aid, 7 Up, and Sunny D than Hispanic older children and teens did.
Marlene Schwartz, co-author and deputy director of the Rudd Center, said “The beverage industry needs to clean up their youth-directed products: reduce the added sugar, take out the artificial sweeteners, and stop marketing products high in caffeine and sugar to young people. We also need the nutrition facts, including caffeine content, for all beverages, especially energy drinks.”

“Our results clearly show that the beverage industry’s self-regulatory pledges are not working,” concluded co-author Kelly Brownell, director and co-founder of the Rudd Center. “Children are seeing more, not less marketing, for drinks that increase the risk for serious diseases. If the beverage companies want to be considered public health partners, they need to do better.”

Researchers measured youth exposure to marketing and advertising messages from all beverage companies by using syndicated data from The Nielsen Company, comScore, Inc., and Arbitron Inc. When this information was unavailable, independent studies were implemented, along with content analyses and audits inside stores.

The report was supported by grants from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Rudd Foundation.

The full report and tools for consumers and researchers are available online. Follow the conversation on Twitter #sugarydrinkfacts

Friday, October 28, 2011

Interested in working for the state of Utah?

A link to the state job openings website has been added to this blog's right navigation bar, under "News by Topic."


See how well Utah competes with other states in health ranking reports.  America's Health Rankings currently ranks Utah as number 7, while the Dashboard on Health Care Quality calls Utah, "average".   You can also compare your county with other Utah counties. See

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

When it Comes to Baby's Crib, Experts Say Go "Bare Bones"

No more blankets in the baby's bed. Not even when it's cold outside. No bumpers, pillows, or toys. All these accoutrements are hazards for newborns and infants, according to the American Academy of Pediatrics, which has released new expanded guidelines for reducing deaths from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, or SIDS, and other causes including suffocation, entrapment and asphyxia.

Oral Health Care Resources

Has the lack of dental insurance or the cost of dental care prevented you from getting a cleaning?  Preventative oral health care services are offered at six dental hygiene schools throughout the state at a very low cost.
Fortis College Dental Hygiene (Salt Lake City, Utah)
3949 South 700 East, Suite 150 Salt Lake City, Utah 84107
For more information call 801-713-4200

Salt Lake Community College Dental Hygiene Clinic (Salt Lake City, Utah)
For patient Medical History, Privacy Practices and other notices in English and Spanish go to
Call for an appointment at 801-957-6001

Weber State University Dental Hygiene Clinic (Ogden, Utah)
WSU Marriott Health Bldg Room 479 Ogden, Utah
Call 801-626-6131 or 1-800-848-7770 ext 6131 for an appointment.

Utah Valley University Dental Clinic (Orem, Utah)
987 South Geneva Road Room MT 141(north side of building) Orem, Utah 84058
Call for an appointment at 801-863-7608 or 801-863-7595

Utah College of Dental Hygiene (Orem, Utah)
1176 South 1480 West, Orem Utah 84058
For more information call 801-426-8234

Dixie Dental Hygiene School (St. George, Utah)
Call 435-879-4905 for more information.
Questions? Contact Michelle Martin RDH, MPH
Oral Health Specialist, Utah Department of Health

Friday, October 21, 2011

Congratulations to Regional Health Equity Board Members

The National Partnership for Action has set up a regional board.  Congratulations to these Utahns who have been selected for this Board:

Jorge Arce-Larreta, Alliance Community Services
Dulce Diez, Utah Department of Health, Office of Health Disparities Reduction
John Grima, Association of Utah Community Health
Joseph Martinez, Intermountain Healthcare
Sabrina Morales, Linguistica International
Esther Munene, University of Utah Department of Biomedical Informatics
Fahina Tavake-Pasi, National Tongan-American Society

Obesity Prevention News

Bicycle/Pedestrian Master Plan completed, child care licensing nutrition standards lowered, and more.

For more information, see

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Free Consumer and Clinician Guides Available to Help Inform your Medical Desicions

Research has been conducted and guides have now been produced for clinicians and patients to make informed health treatment decisions.  Free guides and resources in a variety of topics and are available.  Visit the US Dept of Health & Humans Services Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality for information and to order these guides. 

Treatment Guides
These short guides provide information about health conditions and list the benefits and harms of different treatment options. You can read them on screen or print them. You can also take them to your next doctor’s visit.
Consumer guides:
Summary Guides
Clinician Guides summarize research review findings on the benefits and harms of different treatment options and rate the strength of evidence of the review’s conclusions. In conjunction with Consumer Guides, they support patient counseling on the effectiveness, benefits, and harms of different treatment options for various medical conditions. Consumer guides provide useful background on health conditions. The guides on medications also contain basic wholesale price information. There are also consumer guides in Spanish. También hay guías para el consumidor disponible en español.
Clinician guides:

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Lower-Income Families Pay A Higher Share Of Income Toward National Health Care Spending Than Higher-Income Families Do

By: Ketsche P, Adams EK, Wallace S, Kannan Viji D and Kannan H
In: Health Affairs, 30(9), pp.1637-1646
Publisher: Project HOPE - The People-to-People Health Foundation, Inc.
Published: September 8, 2011

Get full text or downloads

All health care spending from public and private sources, such as governments and businesses, is ultimately paid by individuals and families.

Researchers calculated the burden of U.S. health care spending on families as a percentage of income and found that at the national level, lower-income families pay a larger share of their incomes toward health care than do higher-income families. Specifically, we found that payments made privately, such as those for health insurance or out-of-pocket spending for care, and publicly, through taxes and tax expenditures, consumed more than 20 percent of family income for families in the lowest-income quintile but no more than 16 percent for families in any other income quintile. Our analysis provides a framework for considering the equity of various initiatives under health reform.

Although many effects remain to be seen, we find that, overall, the Affordable Care Act should reduce inequities in the burden of paying for national health care spending.

Disparities Cloud Health Improvements In Past Decade, Report Finds

Minority and low-income groups continue to be less likely to have a regular source of health care when compared to the general population, despite efforts over the past decade to remedy the situation. This and other health disparities persist across race, ethnicity, income level and education, according to the final review of Healthy People 2010, which was released Thursday.

Healthy People 2010, the third such effort by federal officials, is a decade-long initiative which established an ambitious set of goals in November 2000 to improve the health of all Americans, and the report details how the country did.

Progress has been made on a number of counts: Life expectancy at birth went up a year from 76.8 years in 2000 to 77.8 years in 2007. Rates of death from coronary heart disease, stroke and other illness decreased over the course of the decade. Nonetheless, health disparities remain a major problem.

"It's a source of ongoing frustration," said Howard Koh, assistant secretary at the Department of Health and Human Services, which manages the Healthy People initiative. Much of the movement on disparity-related objectives "is certainly not in the right direction," or just stagnant, Koh added.

For more information, see the complete article:

Affordable Care Act Patient Navigation Training in Utah

If you are someone who works with members of the public, it is important to know what benefits are available now, and how to navigate the new healthcare website.  There are many provisions of the Affordable Care Act, the new health care law, that have immediate benefits for Americans.

Join representatives from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for training to learn more about the new health care law, and the components that will help consumers take advantage of current benefits today.

This is a web-based training.  If possible, please bring your own laptop.  The building is equipped with wireless internet and nine (9) PC’s are available in the room for those who request them.

The training will be held:

Date: Wednesday, November 16, 2011
Times:  Two (2) sessions are available:  Morning  9:00 to 11:00 am or Afternoon 1:30 to 3:30 pm            
Location:  Multi-Agency State Office Building  195 North 1950 West, Salt Lake City Room 2125 (located on 2nd floor in the Dept of Environmental Quality)

Space is limited to 24 persons per session, pre-registration is required.  To register, contact Christine Espinel at or call 801-273-4137.  Please indicate what time you would prefer to attend and whether you can bring a laptop.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

Alzheimer's affects Hispanics/Latinos, African-Americans and women in disproportionately high numbers. Have you been affected? Make sure you attend this hearing.

On June 2nd of this year, the Alzheimer's Task Force, appointed by the governor and the House and Senate leadership began its work to address the need for a state plan.

On Thursday, October 13th from 11:00 to 2:00 PM the Task Force will be holding its last of 6 statewide hearings.

One of the main points of discussion for this meeting is the impact of these diseases on the diverse communities of Utah.  It is important to the task force to hear from representatives of Utah’s communities of color, many of which are disproportionately impacted by this disease. 

This hearing offers a unique opportunity for community leaders and others to come and learn about the disease and the recommendations the Task Force is reviewing that will be presented to the Governor and state legislature to address this issue in Utah.

Attend and share your story or learn about the impact this disease is having on our community.

Thursday, October 13, 2011
11:00 AM to 2:00 PM
Utah Department of Human Services Building Rooms 1020 A & B
195 North 1950 West
Please call or e-mail Manuel Romero for questions or directions at (801) 598-4467

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Medicaid Providers Can Apply for Incentive Payments

(Salt Lake City, UT) – Today Utah Medicaid will begin accepting applications for eligible providers and hospitals who wish to participate in the Electronic Health Record (EHR) Incentive Program.  The goal of the program is part of a national effort to improve quality of patient care, patient safety and patient involvement in treatment options by using EHR technology. Physicians and other eligible health care professionals can receive up to $63,750; hospitals in Utah can expect between $350,000 and $4 million as incentive to adopt or upgrade their EHR systems.

The State received approval from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to make EHR incentive payments to eligible Medicaid providers as they adopt, implement, upgrade, or demonstrate meaningful use of certified EHR technology.  Meaningful use includes electronically capturing health information in a coded format, using that information to track clinical conditions, as well as communicating that information for care coordination.

“The use of health information technology will transform the way health care is delivered in our state,” said Dr. David Patton, Executive Director,Utah Department of Health.  “EHRs will help reduce medical errors and assist health care professionals deliver more efficient care for their patients.” 
Qualified providers include physicians, dentists, nurse practitioners, and physician assistants who provide services to Medicaid patients in a Federally Qualified Health Center or Rural Health Clinic. 

Eligible providers can receive their first year’s incentive payment for adopting certified EHR technology but must demonstrate meaningful use of the technology in ways that improve quality, safety, and effectiveness of patient-centered care in order to qualify for subsequent year payments. 

For more information, visit  If you have further questions, call the EHR Hotline at (801) 538-6929 or email

News Release: Monday, October 3, 2011 
Media Contact: Kolbi Young, Public Relations Coordinator
(801) 538-6847 office | (801) 231-6350 cell

Monday, October 3, 2011

More Than 1 In 10 Parents Delay or Skip Vaccinations For Their Kids

Sometimes when parents skip vaccinations for their kids, it's more a matter of delay than total refusal, a new survey finds.

More than 1 in 10 parent parents of young kids follow an alternative schedule of vaccinations that doesn't fit with the recommendations of doctors and public health officials. The results published in Pediatrics come from a national survey conducted online.
Of the parents who don't follow the recommended timing for vaccinations, most refused only some immunizations — those against flu were ditched most frequently. Parents who delayed vaccination were most likely to do so for chickenpox and measles-mumps-rubella. And parents were most likely to spread out the shots did so for the MMR vaccine and DTaP, against diptheria, tetanus and whooping cough.
Why are parents following a different path than the one recommended? The University of Michigan researchers found that a substantial majority felt it was safer for their kids to delay vaccination.
Another finding the researchers found troubling was that quite a few parents following the recommended schedule agreed with the proposition that delaying vaccines is safer.
To be clear, the evidence supports the CDC's recommendations — not the alternatives. Passing on vaccinations or delaying them raises the risks for the children, as well as the community.
An NPR Thomson Reuters Health Poll conducted in August found that a little more than a quarter of U.S. household had concerns about the safety and value of vaccines. Twenty-one percent of respondents said they believe vaccines are linked to autism, despite evidence to the contrary.
At the conclusion of the Pediatrics paper, the researches wrote their results "highlight the need to develop interventions to quell the apparently growing concerns among parent about the safety and necessity of recommended childhood vaccines."
by Scott HensleY NPR.ORG