Upcoming March NYC Events

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March NYC Food Events

Hey there, FPOP!

Today we are pleased to introduce you the inaugural edition of our new monthy newsletter, the “FPOP NYC Food Events Update!”  A few days before the start of each month, we’ll highlight on our blog a list of all the upcoming NYC-based, food-centric events that we can find – we want to make sure our membership has every opportunity to get involved in the community at large.  Working on an event that we shouldn’t miss?  Feel free to send it to cu.fpop@gmail.com.

EBT Tokens as a means of Reducing Disparities

Author: Saul B. Schuster, Mailman School of Public Health

According to a joint report by the non-profit groups Project for Public Spaces and Wholesome Wave (2010), there has been a proliferation of farmer’s markets around the United States and numbered around 5,000 nationally at the end of 2010. Farmer’s markets provide produce that requires less transport, less handling, less refrigeration, and less time in storage by bringing consumers in direct contact with those growing their food. In addition, since what is available to purchase is dictated by seasonality, the fruits and vegetables taste much better as they are only sold when at their peak.

There is an abundance of evidence that supports a diet rich in fruits and vegetables, meaning that from a public health standpoint farmer’s markets could be viewed as a successful program by increasing access. But these benefits have not historically been equitably distributed. A study done by the Oregon Food Bank (2005) found that low-income residents in their city cited several common barriers: awareness of markets, physical access to markets, and prohibitive pricing. One promising initiative to reduce the disparities in access to farmer’s markets was created by the Food and Nutrition Service of the USDA. The program allows participants of the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) to use their Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) cards to purchase tokens for use at the farmers markets. Some farmer’s markets, such as Greenmarket in New York City, also provide bonuses for EBT users, whereby extra dollars will be given after a certain number have been spent.

Rather than being seen as a sign of elitist gentrification, farmer’s markets can be tools for reducing disparities in access to healthy affordable foods. The USDA wholly supports the effort and has developed materials to help spread the practice. However, a study by the CDC has found low EBT redemption rates at farmers markets. Their recommendation? More outreach to increase awareness of the program. So start spreading the word, and help this intervention reach those who could benefit greatly from increased access to health affordable food.

TEDx Manhattan Spring Event

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RSVP HERE!https://orgsync.com/login/columbia-university-mailman-school-of-public-health?redirect_to=%2F63267%2Fevents%2F998080%2Foccurrences%2F2203958

Or send an email to vrm2115@cumc.columbia.edu

OPI & FPOP Present: Brown Bag Lunch!

Please join FPOP in collaboration with The Obesity Prevention Initiative for a Brown Bag Lunch on February 3rd from 11:30 am to 12:45 pm in HSC LL-204. We have 3 fantastic Mailman faculty members who will be sharing their professional experience, research, and involvement with obesity through the OPI. We hope to see you there!

We hope to collect questions prior to the event to help guide our discussion. Please submit your thoughtful questions to the following google forum https://docs.google.com/forms/d/1kG2VTI6h8Mfavov236MRDMybsZMzJkl8CKm3UNebOkk/viewform.

Sincerely,

FPOP

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‘Tis the Marketing Season, Guest Post by Lindsey Wahlstrom

‘Tis the Marketing Season

In the month between Thanksgiving and New Year’s, most Americans adhere to the motto: ‘Tis the season to eat and drink. But the next time you find yourself paying for yet another seasonal latte with your limited graduate student funds, ask yourself: “Why am I buying this?”

You may be surprised by the answer.

Despite what the best diet gurus lead us to believe, we don’t always crave food for emotional or physical reasons. Sometimes we eat and drink not because we need or even want to, but because we were prompted by marketing. Marketers are smart professionals with a knack for making us want and buy what we don’t need — especially when it comes to food.

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As a communications professional, I thought I had marketing figured out. I could not have been more wrong. When I began working for the Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, I was blown away by what I learned. If you, like so many other Americans, think marketing ends at advertisements on billboards, radio, and TV, you have but scratched the surface of the tactics used to earn your expendable income.

Marketing has grown to encompass pouring rights, sponsorships, mobile apps, adver-games, product placements in video games and TV shows, and even branded classroom materials billed as educational curriculum.  In short, there are very few moments in the day when you are not reached by marketing.

So why the big fuss? It turns out marketing works. Really well. Individuals who are exposed to marketing consume more, both of advertised and non-advertised foods, and a well-placed point-of-purchase promotion can lead us to impulsively buy foods and drinks.

Most everything is fine in moderation, but as the effects of marketing accumulate over time, so do the strains on our waistline and wallets. Maybe this holiday season, with a bit of media savvy, we can appreciate the Coca-Cola 12-pack Christmas tree display at the grocery store for what it is: a genius marketing move to which we no longer fall prey. Now that would be cause for celebration.

~Lindsey Wahlstrom

Lindsey Wahlstrom is currently a 2nd year epidemiology student at Columbia University. She did her practicum at the Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, and was recognized for having one of the top Epidemiology abstracts on practicum day. A thanks to Lindsey for her contribution on the FPOP blog!

FPOP Presents: Are 90 million obese Americans “sick”? Implications of the AMA decision to label obesity a disease

The American Medical Association recently voted to recognize obesity as a disease. What does this controversial decision mean for broader public health efforts to combat obesity, and what does it mean for overweight people? Kathleen Bachynski, a doctoral student in the Department of Sociomedical Sciences, will examine the context of the AMA’s decision and its implications for obesity-related stigma, insurance coverage for the treatment of obesity, and defining what it means to have a disease versus a risk factor.

Bachynski Talk Digital Signage