Towards Evidence-based Nutrition and Obesity Policy: Methods, Implementation, and Political Reality

Towards Evidence-based Nutrition and Obesity Policy: Methods, Implementation, and Political Reality

Friday, October 16, 2015

The New York Academy of Sciences

Presented By

Presented by the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences

 

Well-informed nutrition policy decisions which consider scientific evidence should strive for effective policies that improve health outcomes on a large scale. This one-day conference will focus on emerging research methodology, how to interpret research outcomes and how these can be used to inform policy. Speakers will address:

  •  • Methods for building an evidence base – What is new in nutrition policy research?
  •  • How to move from evidence to policy, using real-life examples of policy unfolding
  •  • Science or spin: Media personalities tasked with covering nutrition science and policy

*Reception to follow.

Registration Pricing

 By 08/28/2015After 08/28/2015Onsite
Member$25$30$35
Member (Student / Postdoc / Resident / Fellow)$20$20$25
Nonmember (Academia)$55$65$70
Nonmember (Corporate)$80$85$90
Nonmember (Non-profit)$55$65$70
Nonmember (Student / Postdoc / Fellow)$35$45$50

 


Presented by

  • The New York Academy of Sciences
  • The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science

Agenda

* Presentation titles and times are subject to change.


Friday, October 16th, 2015

8:30 AM

Breakfast and Registration

9:00 AM

Welcoming Remarks
The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science

Session 1: Methods for Building an Evidence Base – What is New in Nutrition Policy Research?

Facilitator: Kristina H. Lewis, MD, MPH, SM, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

9:15 AM

Keynote
The Reality of Using Evidence to Inform Nutrition and Obesity Policy
Sonia Angell, MD, MPH, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

9:50 AM

Connecting the Dots: Translating Systems Thinking into Public Health Innovations
Terry Huang, PhD, MPH, CUNY School of Public Health

10:20 AM

Networking Coffee Break

10:50 AM

Using Quasi-Experimental Methods and Big Data to Build Evidence in Obesity Policy
Matthew Harding, PhD, Duke University

11:20 AM

A Mathematical Modelling Approach to Inform Nutrition and Obesity Policies
Sanjay Basu, MD, PhD, Stanford University

11:50 AM

Session 1 panel and Q&A

12:10 PM

Lunch

Session 2: Moving from Evidence to Policy

Facilitator: Kristina H. Lewis, MD, MPH, SM, Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

1:20 PM

Keynote
Obesity Politics: Research-Rich, Policy-Poor
Rogan Kersh, PhD, Wake Forest University

1:55 PM

Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) in Mexico: Designing a Tax and Evaluating Impact
Juan Angel Rivera Dommarco, PhD, National Institute of Public Health, Mexico

2:25 PM

Using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to Influence Dietary  Change
Barbara Laraia, PhD, MPH, University of California Berkeley

2:55 PM

Networking Coffee Break

3:25 PM

Labeling Calories of "Restaurant-Type" Food: NYC to the FDA
Jason P. Block, MD, MPH, Harvard Medical School

3:55 PM

Session 2 Panel and Q&A

Session 3: Translating Nutrition Policy to the Public Accurately: The Role and Influence of Media

4:15 PM

Panel Discussion
Moderator: Jeff Niederdeppe, PhD, Cornell University

Panelists:
Eliza Barclay, MA, NPR
Julia Belluz, MSc, Vox.com
Helena Bottemiller Evich, BA, Politico
Nancy Huehnergarth, BA, Nancy F. Huehnergarth Consulting

5:00 PM

Closing Remarks
The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science

5:15 PM

Networking Reception

6:15 PM

Close

Speakers

Scientific Organizing Committee

Sanjay Basu, MD, PhD

Stanford University

Sanjay Basu, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. He is a primary care physician and an epidemiologist with a focus on conducting operations research to improve programs designed to reduce cardiovascular disease risk among low-income populations. Dr. Basu received his undergraduate education at MIT, and a master's degree in medical anthropology through a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford before completing his MD and PhD in epidemiology at Yale. He completed his medical training through the internal medicine residency program at the University of California in San Francisco, then joined Stanford's Prevention Research Center in September 2012. Dr. Basu’s research is focused on improving public health interventions that address cardiovascular disease risk, such as community-based nutrition programs and screening programs for undiagnosed diabetes. His research includes randomized trials of interventions in community-based settings, and the development of epidemiological models that integrate such trial data with health system data to improve the targeting and delivery of programs. His work also involves the development of novel methods to address causal inference problems when evaluating social programs that offer few opportunities for randomization and significant risks of selection bias. He previously worked at Partners in Health and Oxfam GB, then co-founded the organization Possible Health (formerly Nyaya Health). He currently serves on expert advisory panels for the United Nations, World Health Organization, World Heart Federation, the American Heart Association, and the Global Burden of Disease Project, among other roles. He was selected as one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine in 2013 for his co-authorship of the book The Body Economic with David Stuckler of Oxford University. He has also received both the Weingarten Award in Medicine (2012) and the Rosenkranz Prize in Healthcare Research (2013).

Jason P. Block, MD, MPH

Harvard Medical School

Jason Block is a general internal medicine physician and Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Obesity Prevention Program of the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. He completed a primary care internal medicine residency and chief residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Block’s primary research interests are in neighborhood-level determinants of weight gain and obesity and the evaluation of governmental and institutional policies and other novel interventions to improve diet and combat obesity. He is a primary care physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a preceptor for Brigham internal medicine residents in their continuity clinics, and a clinician in the Brigham and Women’s Weight Management Clinic.

Juan Angel Rivera Dommarco, PhD

National Institute of Public Health, Mexico

Juan Rivera, MS, PhD is founding Director of the Center for Research in Nutrition and Health at the National Institute of Public Health, a Professor of Nutrition at the School of Public Health of Mexico and an adjunct professor at the Rollins School of Public Health in Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He has published over 300 scientific publications on the epidemiology of malnutrition, the double burden of malnutrition (undernutrition and obesity), the short and long-term effects of undernutrition during early childhood, the nutritional status and dietary intake of the Mexican population and the evaluation of programs and policies to improve the nutritional status of populations. He has been advisor to the Government on the design of obesity prevention strategies and is currently evaluating a number of those policies. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the Mexican Academy of Sciences, is a former President of the Global Nutrition Council at the American Society of Nutrition and is President Elect of the Latin American Society of Nutrition. He was honored with the 2010 Elsevier Scopus Award in Health Sciences (México) and the Kellogg International Nutrition Prize 2009 by the American Society for Nutrition.

Susan Finn, PhD, RD, FADA

Finn/Parks & Associates

Susan Finn, PhD, RD, FADA, a recognized leader and a respected communicator in the field of nutrition and health, is known for her ability to build successful partnerships with academia, professional associations and the business community. Her efforts to promote improved health and quality of life for all levels of society have been acknowledged by her peers in healthcare and in the business world. Currently, as president and CEO of the American Council for Fitness & Nutrition, Finn leads a nonprofit organization committed to helping Americans understand the benefits of eating healthfully and being more active. In addition, as a consultant to Fleishman-Hillard International Communications, she interprets and assesses the implications of nutrition research and helps communicate those findings to industry, consumers and the media. She is also an advisor to many public and private organizations concerned with nutrition and health. Finn was appointed by President George W. Bush to the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.

Kristina H. Lewis, MD, MPH, SM

Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center

Kristina H. Lewis, MD, MPH, SM, is an Assistant Professor in the Division of Public Health Sciences at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center. She is an internal medicine physician practicing in the field of bariatrics. Dr. Lewis’ research focuses on developing and evaluating interventions for obesity and related comorbidities. This work ranges from comparative effectiveness studies of bariatric surgical procedures, to trials of novel behavioral interventions for diet, to studies of policy interventions for improving diet at the population-level. Dr. Lewis is currently serving as Chair-elect for the Health Services Research Section of The Obesity Society, and Chair of the Obesity, Diabetes and Nutrition-Related Diseases Working Group for the Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science.

Y. Claire Wang, MD, ScD

Columbia University

Dr. Wang is Associate Professor of Health Policy and Management at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, where she directs the MPH program in Comparative Effectiveness and Outcomes Research and co-directs the Obesity Prevention Initiative. She is a decision scientist and epidemiologist who uses mathematical models to inform policy. She is interested in the distribution of modifiable risk factors like diet, exercise, and preventive screening, and how they reduce disease risk across the population and in subgroups. Her present research focuses on obesity and cardiovascular disease prevention. Her work examined how various strategies and policies may help fight obesity in children and adolescents, and whether they are cost-effective. One of her research areas is the role of sugar-sweetened beverage consumption by children and adults and the health and economic impacts of levying excise taxes on these beverages. She chairs the Epidemiology section of The Obesity Society, and is currently a 2015-6 Robert Wood Johnson Health Policy Fellow.

Amy R. Beaudreault, PhD

The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science

Dr. Beaudreault is the Associate Director of The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science at the New York Academy of Sciences. In this position, she manages day-to-day activities, including facilitating Working Groups, conducting research, providing technical assistance, leading scientific conferences, developing public-private partnerships, and expanding communication. Dr. Beaudreault has 15 years’ experience in strategic communication, quantitative and qualitative research methodologies, and program development, implementation, and evaluation. Prior to joining the Academy, Dr. Beaudreault managed the Ohio State University Extension Agricultural and Safety Health Program and The Great Lakes Center for Agricultural Safety and Health (funded by the U.S. Department of Agriculture and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention); used her public relations background while working in the research communication department at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, OH, with an initiative to  translate research to practice in biobehavioral health, perinatal research, and injury research and policy; and directed several U.S. federal contracts in Washington, DC, including contracts with the Department of Education and the Nuclear Regulatory Commission. She holds a BS in Journalism from the E. W. Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University, and an MS in Agricultural Communication, a PhD in Agricultural Education and Extension, and a graduate certificate in survey research from The Ohio State University. Follow her on Twitter @amybeaud.

Julie Shlisky, PhD

The Sackler Institute for Nutrition Science

Julie joined the Sackler Institute at the New York Academy of Sciences in 2014 as Program Manager after a postdoctoral fellowship at the New York Obesity Research Center where she examined postprandial energy expenditure. She earned her doctorate in Nutritional Science from Penn State in 2012 where she conducted a 6-month diet and physical activity lifestyle intervention investigating an energy-restricted diet on body composition, metabolic parameters and bone health in premenopausal women. She brings experience from industry and the laboratory to her position at the Academy, having worked in research and development at DuPont after her undergraduate education in molecular biology.

Keynote Speakers

Sonia Angell, MD, MPH

New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

Dr. Sonia Angell is a Deputy Commissioner at the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene, overseeing the newly created Division of Prevention and Primary Care. This Division works to advance population health by improving access to high-quality health services and health insurance and introducing innovative system changes that promote disease prevention and control. It builds upon a history of innovative policy and programming in primary health care delivery systems and communities by bringing together the existing bureaus of Chronic Disease Prevention and Tobacco Control, Primary Care Information Project, and Primary Care Access and Planning. Prior to rejoining the NYC DOHMH in August 2014, Dr. Angell was a Senior Advisor for Global Noncommunicable Diseases at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in Atlanta. Dr. Angell is board certified in internal medicine and is an Assistant Clinical Professor of Medicine at the College of Physicians and Surgeons of Columbia University and an Assistant Attending Physician at New York Presbyterian Hospital. She received her medical degree from the University of California San Francisco and completed her residency in Internal Medicine at Brigham Women's Hospital in Boston. She has a Diploma in Tropical Medicine and Hygiene from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine, and a Masters in Public Health, Epidemiology from the University of Michigan. She is a former Robert Wood Johnson Clinical Scholar and is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians.

Rogan Kersh, PhD

Wake Forest University

Rogan Kersh received his BA from Wake Forest in 1986, and returned as provost and professor of political science in July 2012. In this role he oversees the University’s academic mission and programs, working closely with President Hatch, the deans, and faculty and administrative colleagues to support and enhance research, teaching, and graduate and undergraduate programs of the College of Arts and Sciences as well as Wake Forest’s Schools of Business, Divinity and Law. He also coordinates academic programming with the administration of the School of Medicine.  Prior to arriving at WFU, Kersh was associate dean of NYU’s Wagner School of Public Service, where he was professor of public policy.

Kersh has published three books, on American political history and on health policy; a new edition of his By the People: Debating American Government (with James Morone) will be published in 2016 by Oxford University Press. He has published over 50 academic articles, and does frequent media commentary on U.S. politics. He has been a Mellon Fellow in the Humanities, a Luce Scholar, a Robert Wood Johnson Fellow, and is an elected Fellow of the National Academy of Public Administration. In 15 years’ teaching at Yale, Syracuse, and NYU he won four university-wide teaching awards. Kersh received his PhD in political science from Yale in 1996, and has professional experience in the U.S. Congress, the British Parliament, and at think tanks in Tokyo and Washington, DC.

Speakers

Eliza Barclay, MA

NPR

Eliza Barclay is a reporter and editor of NPR’s James Beard Award-winning food blog, The Salt. She covers food, health, and science on the web and occasionally on the air. Before landing at NPR, she wrote about the environment, immigration, economic development, and international politics. Her writing has appeared in The Atlantic, The New York Times, The Washington Post, FORTUNE, National Geographic News, and The Lancet. She holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of California-Berkeley and a master’s degree from Johns Hopkins University. As a graduate student in 2009, she received an Innovations Grant from the Center for a Livable Future at the Johns Hopkins School of Public Health, which she used to research rising meat consumption in China.

Sanjay Basu, MD, PhD

Stanford University

Sanjay Basu, MD, PhD, is an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Stanford University. He is a primary care physician and an epidemiologist with a focus on conducting operations research to improve programs designed to reduce cardiovascular disease risk among low-income populations. Dr. Basu received his undergraduate education at MIT, and a master's degree in medical anthropology through a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford before completing his MD and PhD in epidemiology at Yale. He completed his medical training through the internal medicine residency program at the University of California in San Francisco, then joined Stanford's Prevention Research Center in September 2012. Dr. Basu’s research is focused on improving public health interventions that address cardiovascular disease risk, such as community-based nutrition programs and screening programs for undiagnosed diabetes. His research includes randomized trials of interventions in community-based settings, and the development of epidemiological models that integrate such trial data with health system data to improve the targeting and delivery of programs. His work also involves the development of novel methods to address causal inference problems when evaluating social programs that offer few opportunities for randomization and significant risks of selection bias. He previously worked at Partners in Health and Oxfam GB, then co-founded the organization Possible Health (formerly Nyaya Health). He currently serves on expert advisory panels for the United Nations, World Health Organization, World Heart Federation, the American Heart Association, and the Global Burden of Disease Project, among other roles. He was selected as one of the “Top 100 Global Thinkers” by Foreign Policy magazine in 2013 for his co-authorship of the book The Body Economic with David Stuckler of Oxford University. He has also received both the Weingarten Award in Medicine (2012) and the Rosenkranz Prize in Healthcare Research (2013).

Julia Belluz, MSc

Vox.com

Julia Belluz is a National Magazine Award-winning journalist covering medicine and public health for Vox.com. She was a 2013-14 Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. Julia’s writing has appeared in Maclean’s, the British Medical Journal, the Medical Post, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Slate, the Times (of London), the Economist, and other publications. Outside of reporting, Julia speaks regularly at health care and journalism conferences the world over. She holds an MSc from the London School of Economics and a BA from Ryerson University’s School of Journalism. Find her on Twitter @JuliaOfToronto.

Jason P. Block, MD, MPH

Harvard Medical School

Jason Block is a general internal medicine physician and Assistant Professor and Associate Director of the Obesity Prevention Program of the Department of Population Medicine at Harvard Medical School/Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Institute. He completed a primary care internal medicine residency and chief residency at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston and was a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Health and Society Scholar at the Harvard School of Public Health. Dr. Block’s primary research interests are in neighborhood-level determinants of weight gain and obesity and the evaluation of governmental and institutional policies and other novel interventions to improve diet and combat obesity. He is a primary care physician at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, a preceptor for Brigham internal medicine residents in their continuity clinics, and a clinician in the Brigham and Women’s Weight Management Clinic.

Juan Angel Rivera Dommarco, PhD

National Institute of Public Health, Mexico

Juan Rivera, MS, PhD is founding Director of the Center for Research in Nutrition and Health at the National Institute of Public Health, a Professor of Nutrition at the School of Public Health of Mexico and an adjunct professor at the Rollins School of Public Health in Emory University in Atlanta, GA. He has published over 300 scientific publications on the epidemiology of malnutrition, the double burden of malnutrition (undernutrition and obesity), the short and long-term effects of undernutrition during early childhood, the nutritional status and dietary intake of the Mexican population and the evaluation of programs and policies to improve the nutritional status of populations. He has been advisor to the Government on the design of obesity prevention strategies and is currently evaluating a number of those policies. He is a member of the National Academy of Medicine and the Mexican Academy of Sciences, is a former President of the Global Nutrition Council at the American Society of Nutrition and is President Elect of the Latin American Society of Nutrition. He was honored with the 2010 Elsevier Scopus Award in Health Sciences (México) and the Kellogg International Nutrition Prize 2009 by the American Society for Nutrition.

Helena Bottemiller Evich, BA

Politico

Helena Bottemiller Evich is a senior food and agriculture reporter at POLITICO, where she covers a variety of policy issues, from school lunch to food safety, through a political lens. Before joining POLITICO, Helena spent four years reporting on food politics and policy at Food Safety News, where she covered Congress, the Food and Drug Administration and the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Helena's work has also appeared in the Columbia Journalism Review and on NBC News. A native of Washington state and an alumna of Claremont McKenna College, she now lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband.

Matthew Harding, PhD

Duke University

Matthew Harding, PhD, is the director of the Behavioral Economics and Healthy Food Choice Research (BECR) Center and an Assistant Professor in the Sanford School of Public Policy at Duke University. Harding is an economist who conducts applied econometric research to understand how individuals make consumption choices, and to quantify the individual and social welfare impact of their choices. Building on a rigorous foundation of econometric methods, he explores the potential of Big Data to estimate better models and predict the choices made by individuals, while taking into account recent developments in behavioral economics. He also designs and implements large scale field experiments in collaboration with industry leaders to understand the unintended social consequences of individual choices and the extent to which behavioral nudges and price based mechanisms can be used as cost-effective means of improving individual and social welfare. He is a US Chamber of Commerce Fellow in Data Driven Innovation with a special focus on food policy.

Terry Huang, PhD, MPH

CUNY School of Public Health

Terry Huang is Professor at the City University of New York School of Public Health. He chaired the Department of Health Promotion at UNMC from 2010-2014. In addition, Dr. Huang is Co-Founder and Senior Advisor of the National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR), which coordinates activities across the National Institutes of Health (NIH), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Department of Agriculture, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Prior to returning to academia, Dr. Huang was Director of the Obesity Research Strategic Core at the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development where he played a leading role in developing new national research directions and funding priorities. Dr. Huang is a global leader on creative solutions for obesity and chronic disease, systems-oriented prevention strategies, cross-sectoral partnerships, and the translation of science to policy. Dr. Huang has lectured extensively on these topics and published over 100 articles. He has also served as a consultant or expert for the Institute of Medicine, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Global Alliance for Improved Nutrition, Access to Nutrition Foundation, EPODE International Network, among other notable organizations. For his work with NCCOR, Dr. Huang received the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary’s Innovation Award in 2010 and the NIH Director’s Award in 2011. In addition, he received the National Cancer Institute Award of Merit in 2012 and was named UNMC Distinguished Scientist in 2013. He is an alumnus of the American Swiss Foundation Young Leaders Program. Dr. Huang holds a PhD in Preventive Medicine and an MPH from the University of Southern California, and a BA in Psychology from McGill University. He is Board Certified in Public Health (CPH) and Fellow and Program Chair of The Obesity Society.

Nancy Huehnergarth, BA

Nancy F. Huehnergarth Consulting

Nancy Huehnergarth is a commentator, journalist and the president of Nancy F. Huehnergarth Consulting, which specializes in nutrition and physical activity advocacy and policy change. She is the former executive director of the New York State Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Alliance (NYSHEPA). Since 2002, Nancy has advocated at the local, state and federal level for a variety of measures including school nutrition standards, calorie labeling, sugary drink tax, nutrition standards for kid’s meals, Complete Streets, and the sugary drink warning label. She testified before the U.S. Senate Agriculture Committee on the need for federal nutrition standards for competitive foods sold in schools and has testified before the NYS Legislature and the NYC Board of Health as well as numerous local legislatures. Nancy has been interviewed on radio, television, in print, online and on video, and has been the topic of magazine and newspaper articles. She is a regular contributor to numerous publications including Huffington Post, Food Safety News, The Hill and Civil Eats.

Barbara Laraia, PhD, MPH

University of California Berkeley

Barbara Laraia, RD, MPH, PhD is an Associate Professor, and Chair of the Public Health Nutrition Program in the Division of Community Health and Human Development at University of California, Berkeley.  She oversees a number of projects that investigate social determinants of eating behaviors, dietary intake and metabolic outcomes.  Her research program focuses on the influence of contextual level effects on cardiometabolic risk factors and pregnancy outcomes, especially among vulnerable populations. Contextual level effects refer to the household food environment, namely household food insecurity, as well as the neighborhood or built environment measured as one's food, physical activity and social environment. Her current NIH study “Race, stress and dysregulated eating: Maternal to child transmission of obesity” focuses on early life adverse events, stress and non-homeostatic eating behaviors, and how these lead to dietary intake and metabolic dysregulation. She is also PI on the NIH funded study “Novel Interventions to Reduce Stress-Related Non-homeostatic Eating” that is implementing stress reduction and healthy eating and movement interventions for middle- and low-income overweight/obese pregnant women. Each of these research projects are transdisciplinary, bringing together colleagues from economics, geography, health psychology, social epidemiology and biostatistics to identify new ways of analyzing and addressing the observed health disparities. In 2012, she served as a member of the Institute of Medicine Committee on the Examination of the Adequacy of Food Resources and SNAP Allotments.

Jeff Niederdeppe, PhD

Cornell University

Jeff Niederdeppe (PhD, 2006, University of Pennsylvania) is an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication at Cornell University. His research examines the mechanisms and effects of mass media campaigns, strategic health messages, and news coverage in shaping health behavior, health disparities, and social policy. He has published over 85 peer-reviewed articles and his work has been funded in recent years by the U.S. National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Agriculture, U.S. National Science Foundation, U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. He serves on the editorial board for five journals.

Abstracts

Keynote Lecture: The Reality of Using Evidence to Inform Nutrition and Obesity Policy
Sonia Angell, MD, MPH, New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene

New York City has set a goal of reducing premature mortality by 25% by the year 2040. Achieving this will require ambitious reductions in disease prevalence and related health inequities. This presentation will review specific NYC Department of Health-led nutritional interventions targeting a risk factor of one of the leading causes of premature mortality in NYC, cardiovascular disease. Through the lens of efforts to reduce population sodium intake as an approach to prevent and control hypertension, insight into the prioritization and development of Department programmatic and food policy approaches will be shared. The National Salt Reduction Initiative, the establishment of City Government Food Procurement Guidelines that include sodium content restrictions, and the most recent successful passage of regulation that will require NYC chain restaurants to place warning labels on high sodium containing items, will all be discussed.  The role of different sources and levels of evidence and data used or created throughout the work will be noted. This presentation will illustrate the role of local health departments as both consumers and generators of evidence and data in the pursuit of advancing public health.

Connecting the Dots: Translating Systems Thinking into Public Health Innovations
Terry Huang, PhD, MPH, CUNY School of Public Health

The impact of interventions for obesity and chronic disease has often been limited because these interventions tend to take a compartmentalized approach rather than tackle the complexity of the problems directly. Insights from systems science have the potential to inform the design of public health interventions and enhance their implementation and dissemination. Systems thinking can also transform the ways in which public health engages communities and the public to address pressing public health challenges and health disparities. This presentation will give an introduction to systems thinking, discuss ways to integrate top-down and bottom-up approaches to public health, and conclude with some ideas for how to evaluate systems interventions.

Using Quasi-Experimental Methods and Big Data to Build Evidence in Obesity Policy
Matthew Harding, PhD, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina

This talk will discuss the application of big data approaches to influence healthier food choices in the population. These methods can lead to public policies that support healthier eating by addressing consumer as well as food industry and retail behavior. We employ a wide range of theoretical tools from the behavioral sciences (economics, psychology, marketing) in conjunction with a large-scale experimental approach to uncover the behavioral levers required to motivate healthy food choices.

A Mathematical Modelling Approach to Inform Nutrition and Obesity Policies
Sanjay Basu, MD, PhD, Stanford University

Nutrition and obesity policies are increasingly analyzed using mathematical simulation models. Models are particularly useful when proposed policies are difficult to evaluate through randomized trials or cohort studies, due to practical or ethical reasons, or because the policies themselves are fiscal or regulatory in nature. Models are also useful when outcomes of interest are not only at the individual level, such as body mass index, but also at the population level, such as through the estimation of cost-effectiveness analysis. Models nevertheless are often opaque and can be challenging to evaluate for non-specialist audiences. In this presentation, I will present guidelines and examples of how to evaluate mathematical models of nutrition and obesity policy for non-modelers. I will discuss what strategies for modeling are appropriate for different types of nutrition and obesity policy questions and why, how to identify critical assumptions and their reasonability, what to look for in terms of sensitivity and uncertainty analyses, and how various modeling methods have strengths and weaknesses of interest for nutrition and obesity policy evaluators. I will use examples of models on taxes of sugar-sweetened beverages and subsidies of fruits and vegetables to provide concrete examples of core principles throughout the discussion.

Keynote Lecture: Obesity Politics: Research-Rich, Policy-Poor
Rogan Kersh, PhD, Wake Forest University

When obesity-reduction policy proposals arise, opponents in Washington or state capitals or municipal settings routinely cite a lack of scientific evidence or consensus in support of their resistance to policy change. While uncertainty about outcomes inevitably remains, fifteen-plus years of sustained nutrition and exercise policy analysis has yielded an increasing body of evidence-based knowledge—and, in turn, a set of specific policy recommendations that promise real impact on Americans’ historically unprecedented obesity rates. Despite this growing consensus, actual policy efforts to address obesity—especially at the national level—remain minimal. This presentation explores the gulf between evidence-based recommendations about policy change and examples of such changes in practice. Policies under examination include menu calorie labeling, soda taxes, ‘reformulation’ of products, as well as several policies that have passed in other countries but remain merely promising ideas in the U.S. political system.
 
Sugar Sweetened Beverages (SSB) in Mexico: Designing a Tax and Evaluating Impact
Juan Rivera Dommarco, PhD, Research Center in Nutrition and Health, National Institute of Public Health, Mexico

 

Mexico’s obesity prevalence is one of the highest in the world.  The intake of added sugars in the country is well above the WHO recommendations. Main sources of added sugars are SSB. The National Public Health Institute (INSP) has developed evidence based obesity prevention policies including recommendations on beverage intake and a multi-faceted National Agreement for Healthy Nutrition (ANSA) which led to banning sodas and unhealthy food in schools. An obesity prevention strategy of the current administration includes taxing unhealthy foods and beverages, regulation of food marketing to children, implementation of a front-of-pack labeling system and nutrition and physical activity promotion. Estimations of own and cross price elasticity of the demand for SSB and modeling effects of different tax levels on weight loss and diabetes prevention provided the evidence for approval of taxes to SSB and junk food by the congress.  Civil society organizations have embraced the prevention of obesity as their goal and have used scientific evidence to position obesity prevention in the public debate and the government agenda and have been key in the approval of initiatives such as taxing SSB. INSP is in the process of evaluating the tax. Preliminary results indicate that the tax is working in reducing the intake of taxed products, increasing the intake of healthy untaxed substitutes and generating revenue to fund obesity prevention actions and partially correcting high negative externalities. The Mexican experience in fighting obesity, the role of INSP, the challenges and lessons learned will be discussed.

Using Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to Influence Dietary Change
Barbara A. Laraia, RD, MPH, PhD, University of California Berkeley

In 2014, over 46 million US citizens participated in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). SNAP is the largest federal food assistance program with the goals of reducing food insecurity, increasing food purchasing power, and improving nutritional status. SNAP participants are among the most vulnerable in the US; almost half are children, 20% are disabled, and 17% are elderly. Enrollment spiked during the Great Recession and high enrollment continued long after the recession recovery began for most Americans, which demonstrates SNAP program responsiveness to macroeconomic conditions. SNAP lifts families and children out of poverty and significantly reduces household food insecurity; making SNAP one of the most important safety net programs in the US. Recently, interest in modifying SNAP to improve nutrition has garnered significant attention. However, can improving nutrition be accomplished without compromising SNAP’s role as a primary safety net program? Dietary intake of most Americans is poor; as measured by various diet quality indicators, regardless of income. The most challenging issue is that there is no known effective method to improve nutrition on a population level. The overarching question becomes: should we use SNAP to address a national nutrition crisis? Evidence-based research is needed to test how SNAP can be an effective mechanism to improve nutrition not only for its participants but for all Americans. Drawing upon findings from the IOM SNAP Committee, Healthy Incentives Pilot, and political realities will be discussed. An integrated, community-level approach to test intervention components of a model SNAP demonstration project will be presented.

Labeling Calories of “Restaurant-Type” Food: NYC to the FDA
Jason P. Block, MD, MPH, Harvard Medical School

The 2010 US Affordable Care Act included a provision requiring all chain food establishments with ≥ 20 sites nationally to post calories on their menus. This law was one of the first, large-scale US federal policies to address a potential factor contributing to overeating: the lack of easily comprehensible information at the exact moment that consumers are making decisions about what prepared foods to consume. It built on a New York City regulation that began in 2008 and was rapidly adopted by several municipalities and states across the United States. In December 2014, the US Food and Drug Administration released the final rule for national calorie labeling, setting December 2015 as the compliance date. The final rule was broad in its scope and will require calorie posting at all establishments selling “restaurant-type” food, including restaurants, grocery stores and supermarkets, coffee shops and bakeries, convenience stores, movie theatres, and bowling alleys. Schools and other institutional food service programs, such as nursing homes, are exempt. In this presentation, I will review the history of this law and regulation and the evidence regarding efficacy and effectiveness of calorie labeling. I will discuss in some depth a study that I have led in New England in which we examined the effectiveness of McDonald’s voluntary calorie labeling program on calorie content of meals ordered and estimation of meal calorie content. Further, I will discuss gaps in knowledge regarding menu labeling and future directions of labeling and environmental interventions to address obesity.

Travel & Lodging

Our Location

The New York Academy of Sciences

7 World Trade Center
250 Greenwich Street, 40th floor
New York, NY 10007-2157
212.298.8600

Directions to the Academy

Hotels Near 7 World Trade Center

Recommended partner hotel

Club Quarters, World Trade Center
140 Washington Street
New York, NY 10006
Phone: 212.577.1133

The New York Academy of Sciences is a member of the Club Quarters network, which offers significant savings on hotel reservations to member organizations. Located opposite Memorial Plaza on the south side of the World Trade Center, Club Quarters, World Trade Center is just a short walk to the Academy.

Use Club Quarters Reservation Password NYAS to reserve your discounted accommodations online.

Other nearby hotels

Conrad New York

212.945.0100

Millenium Hilton

212.693.2001

Marriott Financial Center

212.385.4900

Club Quarters, Wall Street

212.269.6400

Eurostars Wall Street Hotel

212.742.0003

Gild Hall, Financial District

212.232.7700

Wall Street Inn

212.747.1500

Ritz-Carlton New York, Battery Park

212.344.0800