We won an award!

Image from hhs.ca.gov

Image from hhs.ca.gov

In August the California Health and Human Services Agency (CHHS) and the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) announced the Let’s Get Healthy California “Innovation Challenge” to engage and empower people to work together toward improving the health of their community and the state. We’re so honored to have been announced as a finalist of this challenge in the Healthy Beginnings category!

This honor is shared with our Executive Committee of leaders in childcare, early childhood development, healthcare, WIC, and public health:

  • Community Services Bureau (Head Start)
  • Contra Costa Child Care Council
  • Contra Costa Health Services, including Community Wellness and Prevention Program, Contra Costa WIC, and the Health Plan
  • County Office of Education/ Local Planning & Advisory Council
  • First 5 Contra Costa
  • John Muir Health
  • Kaiser Permanente
  • La Clínica de La Raza


Congratulations to all of our partners, and all other finalists!

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What We’re Reading – 1/27/16

Photo credit: flickr/Luci Correla

Photo credit: flickr/Luci Correla

Can Babies Be Obese?

In this piece, NPR’s Barbara King speaks with medical professionals from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to find out if babies can be born obese. In short, yes they can. A baby at or over the 95th percentile is considered obese, but doctors don’t usually intervene unless a high BMI is sustained as the infant grows in length.  There are numerous, complex reasons why an infant may be obese. The 2015 Institute of Medicine report  states:

“Recent scientific evidence points to the origins of childhood obesity as an outcome of the dynamic interplay of genetic, behavioral, and environmental factors, with a compelling body of evidence suggesting that both maternal and paternal nutritional and other exposures affect a child’s risk of obesity.”

Why Brazil Loves Breastfeeding

According to the Health Ministry, more than half of Brazilian mothers breastfeed exclusively at six months, while under 16% of mothers in the United States are breastfeeding exclusively by the six-month marker. Why? Brazil bans the advertisement of infant formulas, businesses can be fined if they prevent a woman from breastfeeding in public, and there are “milk banks” for women who can’t breastfeed. Let’s take note, US!

Obesity: We Need to Move Beyond Sugar

The Lancet, one of the world’s oldest and most respected medical journals, has published a concise and poignant article on the state of the world’s attempt to curb obesity. Public health experts around the globe have been tackling the complex factors that contribute to obesity for years, and there’s still such a long way to go. This quote captures the exasperation that many health professionals feel as they navigate a system that undermines healthy decision-making at nearly every opportunity:

“We know obesity is the result of an obesogenic environment maintained by large global food and drink companies with a vested interest to provide ultra-processed, energy-dense, nutrient-poor food as cheaply as possible, and of an increasingly sedentary lifestyle. And we know that obesity prevention and treatment needs urgent, serious, and multifaceted action, beyond just a sugar tax. And yet, even that small and insufficient step is hotly debated and governments are dragging their feet.”

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California Soda Warning Label Bill Thwarted Again in Senate

From http://www.publichealthadvocacy.org

From publichealthadvocacy.org

California, New York, and Baltimore are all attempting to pass legislation that will require sugar-sweetened beverages to display a label that warns consumers about the risks of diabetes, obesity, and tooth decay that added sugars cause. Unfortunately, on January 12th California senate failed to pass SB-203 , which would have required all drinks with 75 calories or more per 12 fluid ounces to carry such a warning, despite mounting evidence that a majority of voters support this mandate.

Nearly four out of five registered California voters want these labels according to a January 2016 Field Poll. Supporters overwhelmingly backed their votes with their belief in a consumer’s right to know about the unique health problems associated with sugary drinks. The poll also found that most Californians are unable to quickly identify healthy and unhealthy beverages without the help of a warning label. This is no surprise, considering the myriad of unsubstantiated health claims on beverages like Vitamin Water, or packaging that suggests health by showing pictures of fruit when fruit was not even remotely involved in the production of the beverage.

So what happened to SB-203?

Four senators voted for the bill

  • Bill Monning (D-Carmel, and SB203’s author)
  • Richard Pan (D-Sacramento)
  • Holly J Mitchell (D-Los Angeles)
  • Lois Wolk (D-Davis)

One voted against it

  • Jim Nielsen (R-Gerber)

And four abstained

  • Janet Nguyen (R-Garden Grove)
  • Isadore Hall (D-Compton)
  • Richard D Roth (D-Riverside)
  • Health Committee Chair, Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina)

Healthy & Active Before 5 supports labeling sugar-sweetened beverages, and we’re joined in disappointment by SB-203 sponsors California Center for Public Health Advocacy, the Health Officers Association of California, California Black Health Network, and Latino Health Access. Thankfully Senator Monning doesn’t plan to back away from the fight against preventable disease:


“While I am disappointed about the outcome of SB 203, this will not deter me from my fight against the leading contributor of diabetes and other chronic illnesses. The scientific evidence of the proven adverse health impacts of sugar-sweetened beverages demands a health warning label, and it is only a matter of time before California enacts legislation that informs individuals about healthful beverage choices.”

We hope you keep trying, Senator Monning. We’re standing behind you.

Posted in added sugar, flavored milk, juice drinks, Nutrition Facts, policy, research, sports drinks, sugar sweetened beverages, tooth decay, type 2 diabetes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What We’re Reading – 1/13/2016

photo credits: flcikr/mo1229

photo credits: flickr/mo1229

Quality of Public Open Spaces and Recreational Walking

In a paper published by the American Journal of Public Health, researchers claim that building one high-quality local park may be more effective in promoting recreational walking than providing many average-quality parks. We think that an even better option would be providing many high quality local parks! To learn about the highest rated parks in Contra Costa County, check out our bilingual maps marking the best play spaces for young children.

Steph Curry Back Brita – Not Coke or Pepsi

You’ve probably heard of Stephen Curry: 2015 NBA MVP, perhaps the best shooter in NBA history, and public endorser of…tap water! Curry has signed an endorsement deal not with Coke, not with Pepsi, but Brita. Starting in January he will appear in TV ads, PR, and social media campaigns to endorse Brita water filters and the benefits of tap water in general. Why is this a big deal? According to a review in Pediatrics, 93% of beverages endorsed by top athletes get 100% of their calories from added sugar. HAB45’s tap water promotion policy aims to promote health, prevent childhood obesity, and support a healthy planet, and now we’ve got Curry on our side.

Candy Games Stimulate Appetite

A recent behavioral science study found that games that promote or embed food advertisements increase children’s appetites for the candy or food being promoted. In short, the advertisement works. But only 6% of the children surveyed are aware that such games are actually advertisements, even when brand names and logos are visible. Marketing unhealthy foods to consumers too young to recognize an ad is a shameful practice, and parents and caretakers are the only defense children have against companies who exploit their naiveté. Check out our Reducing Marketing of Unhealthy Foods & Beverages to Children Policy to learn more.

Posted in added sugar, parks, play, research, sports drinks, sugar sweetened beverages, tooth decay, type 2 diabetes | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment