Policy Point Index

While BMI is important to assess health trends across the population, it is not an accurate measure of the health of an individual; new studies bear that out.
An infographic on Halloween foods.
Some food innovations we take for granted make a huge difference in our health.
Conservatives complain that there aren't enough calories in the "new" lunch - but calorie counts are the same as in major fast-food meals.  The difference?  Shockingly, kids don't want to eat vegetables.
Studies show that recess is important to kids' health both physically and socially.  Recess strategies are important.
Calorie counts come from laboratory measures of the energy in food - but our bodies may process food differently from the lab environment.
News about "yo-yo" dieting may be overstating health risks - most studies don't screen for individuals who lost weight due to a preexisting illness.
Reward sensitivity is a powerful tool advertisers use to change buyer behavior - but it only works for junk foods.
How lunches are prepared and presented has a lot to do with how kids accept them.  Junk food is acceptable even if it is poorly prepared, but healthy foods require more care.
An Australian intervention program that helps families start out with healthy habits turns out to make a long-term difference in diet-related disease.
How New York could have changed the way the "soda ban" was percieved - and how that might have actually made a difference in improving health.
20 million workers help get food on your plate.  Nearly 90% of them are living in poverty, and rely on government programs for nutrition.  What's wrong with this picture?
About the disconnect between science news and the actual science involved, and how to judge the difference between truth and hype.
A study showing the startling number of calories consumed at classroom parties and various ramifications of in-school celebrations with food.
Bias in "scientific" studies funded by food companies, and the purchase of bee researchers by Monsanto.
My entry in the NYT Ethics of meat contest.
Ethics and Meat
Why the NYT Ethicist contest should change its panel.
As we discuss obesity, I wonder if body shape is the best rubric to measure lifestyle-related disease?
Sugar isn't nutritious and is surprisingly difficult to eliminate from our diets.  Who knew?  Oh, right... 
Who stands to gain from USAid besides the recipients? 
Making sense out of all the conflicting messages about food.
Grocers in the Food Desert
What actually happens when municipalities court big-box stores?
How you can improve your live by changing just a small part of it.
"The mind is not a vessel to be filled, but a fire to be lighted"
The FLABEL project studies the effect of food labeling on consumer behavior.
Why Advertising Succeeds When Education Fails
Are children receiving mixed messages when it comes to consumer behavior?
Sometimes, change comes when people take matters into their own hands.
A story about fat-phobia and obesity.
Is it a Food Desert, or a state of mind?
Or, how do I really feel about this diet book for early readers.
Do you wind up composting or otherwise throwing away vegetables from your garden?  Here's a better way.
A group of lobbyists spins a rationale for marketing junk food to children.
A program directed towards encouraging investment in food infrastructure.
We often focus on urban issues, but forget that rural policies affect all of us. 
What do you think clear front-of-package nutritional information should look like?  Here's your chance to show experts what information and what format you think will work best.
An overview of my experiences at two screenings/panel discussions of the film Lunch Line.
The surprising ways in which a small change in ecology can hit you right in the pocketbook, as my grandmother used to say.
Stores often sell preferred shelf space to the highest bidder - but some stores reserve preferred shelf space for healthy foods.
Water access inequalities in the US
Brainpower Breakfasts
 Breakfast helps kids study; 20 links to easy, quirky, or portable healthy breakfasts. 
Where Do Your Food Dollars Go? 
USDA offers a breakdown on how each food dollar is spent.
"Defrosted" in the EU
The European Union has strict standards about what constitutes "fresh."  The US, not so much.
Et Tu, Nutella?
Wherein I prove that the ingredients in Nutella are not as wholesome as their website would have you believe.
The New USDA Guidelines and Produce Costs
If "half your plate" should be fruits and vegetables - which ones offer the most bang for the buck?  The USDA reports on fruits and vegetables' cost-per-edible-cup.
Don't Let Them Eat Cake...The USDA Guidelines
The new guidelines suggest that "half your plate" should be fruits and vegetables...but stops short of expressly saying which foods to avoid.
Misleading Advertising, Packaging and Practices 
Ever wonder exactly what's in "blueberry crunchlets?"  or "maple flavor?" or why some oranges are such a vibrant orange?  
Expressing the dietary guidelines in the way most people use them - by dividing them on a plate.
The New Food Safety Law
How the new food safety law expands the jurisdiction of the FDA, but excludes meat, poultry, eggs and dairy.
Fried Fish and Stroke Risk
Researchers in the "stroke belt" found that consumption of fried fish is linked to stroke.
Holiday Food Safety
Keeping food out of the "temperature danger zone."
Weight, Habituation and the "Think" System
How your imagination can help you lose weight.
Dietitians in Canada recommend against internal industry controls for food marketing.
Thoughts about Food, Class, and "Junk" 
Concern that we're throwing the nutrition baby out with the bathwater.
An infographic on a typical Thanksgiving meal.
New Information on Food Allergies
About the double-blind food challenge, accurate testing and better allergy education.
How subtle changes can help people make healthier food choices.
Half of Kids' Calories are Empty
Half of these empty calories come from six foods: sugar-sweetened soda, sugar-sweetened fruit drinks, dairy desserts, grain desserts, pizza, and whole milk.
Mapping Tools and Food Access
How smart maps can help identify areas in need of grocery stores.
Corollary: How Food Corporations Spin Statistics
More data on how a food corporation cherry-picked data from a study to promote the results they wanted.
Starved for Attention: Doctors Without Borders shows how USAID can increase malnutrition rather than relieve it.
How Food Corporations Spin Statistics
Comparing a PR piece to the statistics it's based on.
How to Fund the Child Nutrition Act?
Robbing Peter (SNAP) to pay Paul (The Child Nutrition Act)
School Breakfasts: Universal breakfast vs In-class breakfast: which one helps kids most?
Obesity and Junk Food Junkies
Food activists consume junk food to show its effects on the human body.
Nutrition Support Gains Local Momentum
The Healthy Schools Act in DC.
Food Safety and Poverty 
How the poor are disproportionately affected by food safety problems.
Unfamiliar Territory
Just how do you get children to try new foods?
A Prescription for the Food Desert
The Diabetes Collaborative and Walgreen's team up to offer resources to change bad dietary habits.
If I Ran School Lunch
Separating "treats" from "foods."
Energy-efficient Cooking
Using less energy and still producing delicious foods, a win-win.
What Are You Eating?
An infographic on the typical American diet.
Who Should be in Charge?
Should the food industry self-regulate?
DASH off your SOFAs
The Institute of Medicine offers this diet as a treatment for diet-related disease.
Wal-Mart in the Food Desert
Despite controversy and opposition, Wal-Mart enters the Chicago food desert.
A Word about Serving Size
 Interested in expending 1,600 calories on a treat?
How Can Parents Say No? 
How some parents manage to protect their children from the onslaught of marketing and advertising.
Why Chefs Should Move...
The Chefs Move To Schools program gets food professionals involved in school lunch.
What is an Added Sugar?
Regulations on how sugars appear on nutritional labels allow corporations a number of loopholes.
Marketing Health
How the "healthy" label can lead people to poor food choices.
Their Food Desert Like the Garden... 
Did you know that SNAP benefits can be used to purchase seeds for edible plants?
To Salt or not to Salt
Are guidelines enough to reduce sodium in processed foods?
Groceries in the Fast Lane
If the food desert can't get a grocery store, why not bring the groceries to the food desert?
Advertising and Obesity
How food advertising dollars far outweigh what is spent on wellness education.
How We Measure Food Insecurity  
Why the word "hunger" isn't adequate.
Fresh vs. Preserved - What are the Real Issues? 
Exploring how canned and frozen foods can be as good as - and sometimes even better than - fresh foods. 
Acronym Soup in the Food Desert
Do you know what SNAP stands for?  What about LINK, WIC, EBT or TANF?  Navigating US social programs.
The Healthy, Hunger-Free Kids Act
The new legislation on School Lunch also covers other nutrition support programs.
Policy Point Wednesday
Food deserts are a complex issue.