Friday, July 29, 2011

Video game playing increases food intake in adolescents

A recent study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition found that video game playing increased food intake in male adolescents. The increased food intake in the healthy male participant was regardless of appetite sensations.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Nearly 30% of Michigan teachers report pressure to cheat

A recent article in the Detroit Free Press discusses statistics taken from a volunteer survey that focused on the pressure on school educators to cheat on standardized tests. At schools that don't already meet the federal standards, the survey showed a 50% to change grades and 46% pressure to cheat on standardized tests.

Detroit to set services by neighborhood condition

In an interesting article in the Detroit Free Press, the mayor unveiled a plan to deliver services in a short-termed innovation strategy called the Detroit Works Project. Mayor Bing wants to encourage the redistribution of what's left of Detroit's population into areas where people still live so that the city's resources won't be spread dangerously thin.

"We will not force anybody to move," Bing said. "We want people to move into the areas that are going to grow; where we have the amenities, the density." This is a departure from an earlier idea that would have had residents move from distressed areas of the city into other areas in order to stabilize them.

Greater lack of healthcare access for rural Americans

A recent Reuters article describes findings in a new report published by the UnitedHealth Center for Health and Reform Modernization. The report found that those in rural areas faced greater rates of diabetes, heart problems and cancer, but received lower quality healthcare.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Nutrition labels help fast food customers cut calories

According to a recent article on CBS News, a new study that took a look at New York's fast food restaurants found that customers who look at the calorie information actually order something healthier - saving around 100 calories.

You can read more about the study which was published in the British Medical Journal.

Urban gardens in Chicago

According to a recent article in the Chicago Tribune, Mayor Emanuel plans to present an ordinance to the Chicago city council that would expand the maximum size of urban gardens. The measure will also allow some produce sales in residential areas.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

McDonald's to put fruit/vegetables in kids' Happy Meals

McDonald's plans to put fruit in vegetables in kids' Happy Meals. The president of the chain announced on Good Morning America that they will be offering fruit to every child that comes into the restaurant. French fry holders in the Happy Meals will now contain 1.1 ounces of fries compared to the 2.4 regularly served. In addition to the smaller portion of fries, kids will receive apple slices as well. The healthful side dish could also be carrots, raisins, pineapple slices or mandarin oranges - depending on the area and time of year.

You can watch the video and read the associated article here.

Federal auditors to review insurance rates in 10 states

According to an article in the New York Times, the Obama administration is scheduled to take over the review of health insurance rates in 10 states where it says state officials do not adequately regulate premiums for insurance sold to individuals or small businesses.

Several states acknowledged that they lacked the power to review health insurance rates. Several insurance commissioners tried and failed to get the authority they needed from their state legislatures this year.

Study finds recession hits Hispanics hardest

According to a recent New York Times article, a study published by the Pew Foundation found that Hispanics as a group had the largest single decline in wealth of any ethnic or racial group in the country. The study used the data provided by the U.S. Census Bureau to find that the median wealth of Hispanic households fell by 66% from 2005 to 2009.

Breast cancer more lethal in black women

According to a recent Reuters article, breast cancer appears to be more lethal in Black women according to the results of a new study. Researchers had thought that obesity differences between Black and White women might explain the breast cancer survival difference between the two groups five years after the initial diagnosis (78% Blacks to 90% Whites). While this was not proven, researchers believe that differences in tumor biology as well as health care access could be at play.

Monday, July 25, 2011

More people die in hospitals due to medical-related errors than plane crashes

According to a recent article in the LA Times, people are more likely to die in a due to medical-related errors than a plane. These statistics came from last week's World Health Organization news briefing:
- Dying in a plane crash : 1/10 million
- Dying due to a medical-related mistake in a hospital: 1/300

You can read more about this here.

Night Shift Work May Raise Women's Diabetes Risk

According to a recent study, researchers who reviewed the information provided by the Nurses' Health Study found that women who worked regular night shifts for 3-9 years experienced a 6% increase in developing Type 2 diabetes. Those who regularly worked the night shift for 20 years experienced a 20% increase.

Stress and racial disparities in health

A new study conducted by researchers from the Harvard School of Public Health (HSPH) show that African Americans and U.S-born Hispanics have higher levels of stress than whites and foreign-born Hispanics. Multiple stressors correlate with poor physical/mental health, with financial & relationship stressors exhibiting the largest and most consistent effects.

The researchers believe that this stress helps to explain why these groups often have poorer health than whites.

Instituting a phaseout of sugary drinks on city property in Boston

The mayor of Boston has given a new executive order to phase out sugary drinks within the next six months from city property. The mayor said that the move was intended to set an example for the city.

You can read more about this on the Harvard School of Public Health news article covering the subject.

Walmart and U.S. Food Deserts

According to a recent article in Fast Company, Walmart announced that it will be opening up 300 more locations over the next five years in food desert regions across the U.S.

Do you live in a food desert? Use the Food Desert Locator

With all the talk about food deserts in the media, it might make you wonder if you live in one. To find out, check out the Food Desert Locator put out by the USDA's Economic Research Service.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

South Dakota to purposely miss NCLB benchmarks in 2011

According to a recent article, South Dakota officials plan to purposely miss the No Children Left Behind benchmarks to make a point that the legislation is unreasonable and needs to be rewritten. State officials have been asking for a rewrite of NCLB because without it, 85% of the schools will be considered "failing", according to Education Secretary Melody Schopp.

Schopp says the state is freezing this year's progress standards and will use the same benchmarks next year - so students won't be asked to make gains that are out of their reach.

Court decides New Jersey can end health care coverage for legal immigrants

A recent decision by a New Jersey appellate court has rendered a decision that allows the state to cut a health program that provided free or low-cost health care to legal immigrants. This may translate into lost health care coverage for 12,000 enrolled in the state's FamilyCare program.

Health disparities among poor children

A recent article describes a new report from the National Center for Children in Poverty takes a look at the health of children in poverty. Some findings include:
- Low birth weight babies are highest among African-American children, then White, then Hispanic.
- Twice as many Hispanic children have no place to go for health care when sick compared to poor African-American and White children.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Students charged to ride school bus in Texas district

A recent article in the Washington Post details how students in one north Texas school district will have to pay $185/semester to ride the bus. Students who are on the free and reduced lunch plan would have to pay $100/semester. School officials expect to save $2 million a year for the district with this plan.

Youth safety program rolled out in six cities

An article in the New York Times describes a youth safety program being rolled out in six cities has been funded by a Department of Justice grant to raise the awareness of youth safety. The grants allow social groups to partner with businesses to provide these youth without temporary assistance during their time of need. In theory, a troubled youth walks into a store, asks for assistance. This sets off a call to a 24-hour hot line that dispatches a counselor to the scene. The counselor will then try to find temporary shelter arrangements and try to set up a reconciliation with the family. If that doesn't happen, the Department of Youth and Family Services is called in.

This program is meant to set up an alternative to the usual police station visit that these at-risk youth often end up facing.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Closing the readiness gap for poor children

In a recent article on Education Week, educators are looking to eliminate the learning readiness gap for children in poverty by studying how parents engage with their youngest children through play and encouragement.

By the age of 2, differences in a low-income child's home-learning environment can make the difference whether a child will be ready for school or labeled "at risk" at the start of kindergarten.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Health clinics @ schools get funding

A recent post in NPR's health blog detailed the Department of Health and Human Services awarding of $95 million in grants to 278-school based health center programs to build, renovate or equip clinics.

1-year pilot program in Michigan and Florida will get more local produce into school meals.

A recent article in the Grand Rapids Press describes how federal agriculture officials have announced a plan to let schools in Michigan and Florida to use federal commodity funds to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables from a list of local growers. This pilot is an alternative to the Department of Defense Fresh Food and Vegetable Program from which schools buy food using USDA commodity funds.

States and cities squabble over healthy food laws

An interesting article in Time discusses how some states are now passing legislation state bans on city bans on unhealthy food. Case in point - Cleveland adopted a trans-fat ban which could have helped reduce heart disease in the city but the state of Ohio stepped in and overturned the ban. Other examples include Alabama and Florida who have recently adopted limits on cities' authority to ban unhealthy food.

Connecting Nonprofits

I came across an interesting podcast interview on Stanford's Center for Social Innovation site with Craig Newmark, the founder of Craigslist. In the podcast interview, he discusses his latest project, Craigconnects. If you are unfamiliar with the project, click here to learn more.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Higher fees to dentists equals more care for kids

According to a recent article in the Baltimore Sun, a study found that children in states that offered higher Medicaid payments are more likely to receive dental care. The study found that children who were covered under private insurance had the most care, but more than a third of children are covered by public programs like Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program.

N. Carolina judge strikes caps on Pre-K

According to an article in the Charlotte Observer, a judge has ruled that the state cannot deny poor children access to the pre-kindergarten program, striking down limits in a recently passed law. The state's More at Four program would have had a 20% cap imposed for at-risk children and families deemed not "at-risk" would be asked to pay co-payments. The bill also cut the program's budget by 20% or 32 million.

The FAILfaire - Talking openly about failed projects

I came across an interesting post on the Worldbank blog that discussed a FAILfaire that was recently held. The World Bank innovations team along with another NGO put together an opportunity to highlight and discuss failures. Failures could be due to bureaucratic hoops that could not be jumped through to ideas that won't scale and everything in between.

Do you think that a foundation would ever have the courage to highlight their failures so that others can learn from their mistakes so they won't be repeated once again?

Monday, July 18, 2011

New website for the Consortium of Foundation Libraries

The Consortium of Foundation Libraries affinity group now has a new website. You can check it out here:

Access to grocers doesn't improve diets, study finds

According to a recent LA Times article, a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine shows that people did not eat more fruits and vegetables when they had supermarkets available in their neighborhoods. The study followed thousands of people for fifteen years found that the availability of supermarkets did not help study participants eat healthier. Instead, income and proximity to fast food restaurants were the strongest factors in food choice.

Michigan Senate passes 48-month limit on welfare, raises wage cap

According to an article in the Detroit News, the Michigan Senate has passed a 48-month limit on welfare that will be extended to all of Michigan's welfare recipients. The limit was previously only applicable to recipients eligible for the state's Work First program and lived in an area where there was a Jobs, Education and Training (JET) program available. The 48-month limit for those enrolled in JET was set to expire this September. 12,600 families are expected to be thrown off of the welfare rolls by October 1st, saving the state $77.4 million.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Friday Roundup

Here is a listing of articles of interest that have been published within the last 7-10 days:

1. Worm drug ivermectin is shown to kill mosquitoes, New York Times, July 11, 2011
Brief Intro: "A cheap deworming pill used in Africa for 25 years against river blindness was recently shown to have a power that scientists had long suspected but never before demonstrated in the field: When mosquitoes bite people who have recently swallowed the drug — called ivermectin or Mectizan — they die. "

2. HIV treatment as prevention called winning approach, CBCNews, July 14, 2011
Brief Intro: "Studies suggest that a combination of antiviral drugs known as highly active anti-retroviral therapy (HAART) helps treat HIV and also prevents its transmission, by reducing how infectious someone is."

1. Education secretary orders additional standard test review,, July 14, 2011
Brief Intro: "Pennsylvania Education Secretary Ron Tomalis has ordered that the state's 2010 standardized test results be analyzed for any irregularities following the recent discovery of a similar report that indicates possible cheating in roughly 50 school districts in 2009."

2. 'Parent trigger' rules adopted for low-performing schools, The Orange County Register, July 14. 2011
Brief Intro: "The California Board of Education has approved a new set of regulations that will give parents more control to force changes to low-performing public schools. The "parent trigger" rules will allow a majority of parents at low-performing schools to petition school districts for major changes that include adding intervention programs, removing the principal, replacing staff, converting the campus to a charter, or closing the school altogether."

3. Feeding kids when parents, schools can't,, July 14, 2011
Brief Intro: "During the school year, public schools provide breakfast and lunch to millions of students in the United States. But when summer arrives, parents struggling to feed their children can no longer rely on those meals."

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Patients at Small, Rural Hospitals in U.S. More Likely to Receive Lower Quality of Care Compared With Other Hospitals

A recent release from the Harvard School of Public Health details a national study that showed that patients at small, isolated, rural hospitals had a lower quality of care and poor patient outcomes when compared to other hospitals. The study found that patients admitted to critical access hospitals in rural areas for a heart attack, congestive heart failure or pneumonia were at a greater risk of dying within 30 days than at other hospitals.

Read more here.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Uninsured kids may lead to health risk

A recent article in the Contra Costa Times details the results of a report released last week for the UCLA Center for Health Policy Research. As many as 220,000 or 20% of children in California will be excluded from health care reform due to immigration issues. Of those, approximately 40,000 will be eligible for coverage but may not register due to confusion about new rules that affect the California Health Benefit Exchange and the state's expanded Medi-Cal program.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Metros in Northeast, Midwest most ‘resilient’

An article on details a new online tool that researchers utilized to measure more than 360 U.S. metros for their resiliency. Resiliency was measured by the capacity to handle stresses ranging from economic recession to natural disasters.

Developed by University of Buffalo professor, Kathryn Foster, the Resilience Capacity Index summarizes a region's scores on 12 indicators. You can learn more here.

Monday, July 11, 2011

The first Google e-books integrated e-reader

I just came across an interesting story about the first Google e-books integrated reader that has been developed and will be put on sale at Target stores on July 17th. This might be a good product for foundation librarians to look into so that they can provide their clients with another way to access Google books.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Podcast Interview with Susan P. Silver - Packard Foundation (Program-Related Investments)

For this month's podcast, I interviewed Susan Phinney Silver who is the Program-Related Investment Officer at the David & Lucile Packard Foundation. The podcast provided a good overview of PRI and provides a look at how Packard has been successful with this approach. In addition, Susan provided advice on how those considering a career in the PRI field might best prepare themselves for the work.

You can listen to the podcast (WAV) here:
or as an MP3 here:

Many thanks to Ms. Silver for the valuable knowledge she shared in this podcast.

Big Picture, Small Budget: Knowledge Management in Non-Profits

Ms. Jan Combopiano will be presenting a 30-minute session on knowledge management in non-profits on July 26th @3PM EDT. She currently serves as the Vice President and Chief Knowledge Officer for Catalyst. The session description is provided below:

Big Picture, Small Budget: Knowledge Management in Non-Profits
Money isn’t everything – knowledge management can be successful in non-profits, even with little (or practically no) resources. A strategy, however, is essential. Learn how change management principles can be adapted for this purpose, as well as practical advice for the reality of working in a non-profit

CFL members can register using this link.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Benefits in health insurance for the poor

An interesting post today on the NYT Economix blog focuses on how health insurance affects health. The post highlights a new study being released today that focused on an Oregon health insurance experiment. The study found that while expanding health insurance does not save society money, it does make people mentally and physically healthier.