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ASN Health and Nutrition Policy Newsletter
Week of
November 11, 2019        
American Society for Nutrition  Newsletter

November 2019
In This Issue
ASN News
Congressional Action
Administrative Action
National Initiatives
Meetings
Funding Opportunites
International
ASN News
Call for Applications: 2020 ASN Science Policy Fellowships
ASN is accepting application s for the 2020 ASN Science Policy Fellowship through December 20th! ASN will offer two Science Policy Fellowships in 2020 for advanced graduate students, early professionals, postdoctoral trainees, or medical interns, residents, or fellows. ASN Science Policy Fellows, based at their home institution during the one-year Fellowship, gain an enhanced perspective on public policy issues related to nutrition, including an expanded understanding of current nutrition policy issues and initiatives. The deadline to submit application packets  is Friday, December 20, 2019.   Please send completed application packets as well as any questions regarding the Fellowship to sohlhorst@nutrition.org .
 
ASN Co-Sponsors 2020 Food Policy Impact
ASN, the Washington DC Section of the Institute of Food Technologists (IFT), and the IFT Food Laws and Regulations Division will sponsor the 2020 Food Policy Impact  conference in Washington, DC on February 10-11, 2020 at Arent Fox (1717 K Street, NW, Washington, DC 20006). Registration is available here . This one-and-a-half-day meeting provides updates on the latest developments in food and nutrition laws, regulations and policy initiatives.
 
ASN Understanding Nutritional Science Video Competition
ASN wants to showcase your video highlighting the importance of nutrition research! Enter the Understanding Nutritional Science  video competition by creating a short video (2 minutes or less) that explains the important nutrition research you conduct and how it benefits public health. Open to ASN members only! Deadline to enter is  February 28, 2020 .   Prizes will be awarded! The first place individual/ team (of up to 5 individuals) wins one-year membership to ASN and free registration to  Nutrition 2020 ! Learn more here: nutrition.org/contest 


Congressional Action
Congress is Short on Time with Much Pending
Less than two weeks remain for Congress to be in session, and about eight legislative days are left before government funding ceases. On October 31, the Senate approved Senate substitute to H.R.3055 , a package of Fiscal Year (FY) 2020 domestic spending bills which includes appropriation bills for the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Commerce, Justice, Science, Interior, Environment, Transportation, Housing and Urban Development, and Related Agencies, by a vote of 84-9.  The Senate and House must conference spending levels for FY 2020 funding and reconcile the Senate and House versions of these appropriation bills. Eight other FY 2020 bills, including Health and Human Services (HHS), have not been approved by the Senate Appropriations Committee.  Congressional leaders have pegged December 20 as the next deadline for government funding after the current stopgap expires next week, on November 21.

House to Vote on Drug Pricing Bill
The House vote on a comprehensive drug pricing bill, H.R. 3 (116) , that combines bills approved by the Energy and Commerce, Ways and Means, and Education and Labor Committees, has been postponed until the first week of December. Senators Chuck Grassley (R, IA) and Ron Wyden (D, OR) are seeking support for a Senate version of a drug pricing package.
 
The Senate HELP Committee has also passed S. 1608, the Promoting Physical Activity for Americans Act by voice vote; but no companion bill appears in the House.
 
Child Nutrition Reauthorization
Despite early conversations about the Senate introducing a bi-partisan bill to reauthorize the Child Nutrition Act, no comprehensive bill has been introduced. Targeted bills have been introduced in both the House and Senate, including S. 2692 , the School Modernization and Efficient Access to Lunches for Students Act of 2019, that Senator Bob Casey (D, PA) introduced. This bill would enhance the community eligibility option. Previous policy briefs have summarized other related bills.


Administrative Action
National Institutes of Health Updates
  • National Institutes of Health (NIH) scientists in the Office of Disease Prevention (ODP) published a study that examined NIH grants and cooperative agreements during FY 2012-17. While the top-10 risk factors for death are associated with more than half of the deaths in the U.S., only a third of NIH-supported prevention research measured those risk factors as exposures or outcomes, and fewer than 3 in 10 NIH prevention research projects measure these causes of death as exposures or outcomes. Prevention research focused on diet accounted for 7.8% of the prevention research portfolio even though it contributes to 19.1% of deaths in the U.S. Results show that most prevention research projects included an observational design or secondary data analysis, while relatively few included a clinical trial focused on preventing the leading risk factors and causes for death.
  • The NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis has aggregated over 420 million citation links from sources like Medline, PubMed Central, Entrez, CrossRef, and other unrestricted, open-access datasets. This information will provide a better glimpse into relationships between basic and applied research, into how a researchers' works are cited, and into ways to make large-scale analyses of citation metrics easier and free.
  • NIH scientists found that sesame allergy is common among children with other food allergies, occurring in an estimated 17% of this population. In addition, scientists found that sesame antibody testing -- whose utility has been controversial -- accurately predicts whether a child with a food allergy is allergic to sesame. The research was published on Oct. 28 in the journal Pediatric Allergy and Immunology. The FDA is considering including sesame on its list of major food allergens that require label disclosure.
  • The NIH's All About Grants podcast series includes a talk about how NIH manages conflicts of interest to ensure that NIH maintains integrity throughout the peer review process. Dr. Sally Amero, NIH's Review Policy Officer, explains why it is important to manage these conflicts, what is and is not a potential conflict, how to disclose conflicts, and who is involved throughout the peer review process. 
CDC National Center of Health Statistics Updates
  • The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) National Center of Health Statistics (NCHS) released the 42nd Annual Health, United States report with trends and current information on health status and determinants, health care utilization, health care resources, and health care expenditures. For access to this and other data, see the Health, United States, 2018 - Data Finder.
  • The CDC Vital Signs series shows that 5 of the top 10 leading causes of death are associated with Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs).
  • The report NCHS Trends in Apolipoprotein B, Non-high-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol, and Low-density Lipoprotein Cholesterol for Adults shows significant but different declining trends in apo B, non-HDL-C, and LDL-C in men and women. In general, differences in age, race and Hispanic origin, BMI category, and lipid-lowering medication use did not explain the trends.
  • CDC NCHS released a new report on Reported Importance and Access to Health Care Providers Who Understand or Share Cultural Characteristics With Their Patients Among Adults, by Race and Ethnicity. Among adults who had seen a health care professional in the past 12 months, the percentage of non-Hispanic white adults who thought it was very important to have a health care provider who shared or understood their culture was significantly lower than that among all other race and Hispanic-ethnicity groups.
  • New CDC data show potentially excess deaths from cancer, heart disease and stroke happen more often to individuals living in rural communities compared with urban areas.
  • CDC offers a free Web Content Syndication service that gives public health partners the opportunity to syndicate CDC's entire Infant and Toddler Nutrition website directly to their sites without having to monitor or copy updates.
U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) Updates
  • The USDA Economic Research Service (ERS) funded a multi-State project that examined the nexus between the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) and unemployment insurance during and following the 2007-09 recession. Evidence shows strong synergy between programs.
  • A New York University School of Medicine study published in Health Affairs showed success of the USDA-funded program, "Double Up Food Bucks," designed to encourage low-income Americans to buy more fresh fruits and vegetables. The program matches up to $20 a day in fresh produce purchases using SNAP benefits. Results show increase purchases of fresh produce in 2015 and 2016.
  • U.S. Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue announced the USDA signed a lease for permanent office space at 805 Pennsylvania Avenue, Kansas City, Missouri to serve as the new home for USDA's ERS and National Institute of Food and Agriculture (NIFA).
New FDA Commissioner Selected
Dr. Stephen Hahn, the chief medical executive at the University of Texas' MD Anderson Center in Houston, was nominated to serve as the next FDA commissioner. A graduate of Rice University who received his medical degree from the Temple University School of Medicine, Hahn has worked with the Anderson Center since 2015, being named its deputy president and chief operating officer in February 2017. Dr. Ned Sharpless, who has been serving as the Acting FDA Commissioner, returns as Director of the National Cancer Institute.
 
USDA, EPA, and FDA Announce Partnership with the Food Waste Reduction Alliance
Through a Memo of Understanding , USDA, EPA, and FDA have formalized a partnership with the Grocery Manufacturers Association, the Food Marketing Institute, and the National Restaurant Association, the three founding partners of the Food Waste Reduction Alliance. The Alliance seeks to reduce food waste and increase donations of safe, nutritious food along with industry education and outreach efforts.


National Initiatives
Federal Nutrition Science by The Numbers
Catherine Boudreau and Helena Bottemiller Evich from Politico produced a two-part series on the state of nutrition research in the U.S. Based on federal budget figures and information from interviews with current and former officials and nutrition researchers,   How Washington Keeps America Sick and Fat makes the point that "even in an increasingly health-conscious America, the federal government has devoted only a tiny fraction of its research dollars to nutrition, a level that has not kept pace with the worsening crisis of diet-related diseases. Studying the relationship between diet and health is such an afterthought that Washington doesn't even bother tracking the total amount spent each year." Meet the Silicon Valley Investor Who Wants Washington to Figure What You Should Eat presents the passion of Dr. Joon Yun, a radiologist and hedge fund manager who envisions a National Institute of Nutrition at the NIH. Nutrition 2019 presented a panel discussion on this concept following the introduction of the National Institute of Nutrition Act H.R. 1887  by Representative Tim Ryan (D, OH).

In addition, a recent NY Times op-ed "Why It Is So Hard to Figure Out What to Eat" discusses quality control measures for diet trials. This op-ed is linked to a recent study in JAMA Network Open that found diet studies over the past 10 years were nearly 4 times as likely as drug clinical trials to show a discrepancy in the main outcome or measurement. This comes from the same authors as an August JAMA study, Improving the Quality of Dietary Research.

 
Experts Sought for Evidence-based Guideline on Flavan-3-ols and Cardiovascular Health
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics (AND)' Evidence Analysis Center is seeking a multidisciplinary team of experts to develop an evidence-based guideline on the topic of flavan-3-ols and cardiovascular health. Workgroup applicants should have a minimum of 5 years' experience on the topic of cardiovascular disease (research or practice); strong knowledge of the research on flavanols; and be an active member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics IF an RDN. Click   here to learn more and to apply.
 
Increase in Uninsured Children
The Center for Children and Families at the Georgetown University Health Policy Institute released a new report that shows that the number of uninsured children is on the rise, increasing by more than 400,000 between 2016 and 2018 bringing the total to over 4 million uninsured children in the nation.
 
Rate of Preterm Births Worsened
According to a new March of Dimes report , the rate of preterm birth has worsened for the 4th year in a row. March of Dimes has published a series of policy recommendations to improve these rates.
 
Status Report on Beverage Consumption
Consulting firm Keybridge released a report on national progress toward the Beverage Calories Initiative (BCI) goal to reduce consumption of calories from beverages on behalf of Alliance for a Healthier Generation and the American Beverage Association. Keybridge's analysis found that daily per capita calorie consumption fell at a faster rate in 2018 than in previous years, driven by reductions in calories consumed from carbonated soft drinks, 100% juices and juice drinks.
 
Proximity to Certain Corner Stores Increases Risk of Obesity
Reporting in the journal Obesity, researchers at NYU School of Medicine found that among children between the ages of 5 and 18 living within a half-block of a fast-food outlet or corner store prevalence of obesity and overweight increased. For every half or full block farther away that children lived from unhealthy food sources, obesity figures dropped from between 1 percent to more than 4 percent.
 
New $700m Investment in Social Determinants of Health
Fourteen hospitals and health systems, including UMass Memorial HealthCare, the Henry Ford Health System and Kaiser Permanente, joined to invest $700 million in determinants of health . The funding over the next five years will go toward projects to tackle economic and environmental initiatives, such as housing developments, new grocery stores in food deserts, childcare centers, and minority- and women-owned businesses.
 
Report on How Media Targets Kids
The Center for Science in the Public Interest (CSPI) released a report , Changing the Channels: How Big Media Helps Big Food Target Kids (and What to Do about It). CSPI found that restaurants are highest among food and drink advertisers to children, followed by candy, breakfast cereals, beverages, and snack foods.


Meetings
Inaugural NIH Rural Health
National Institutes of Health
November 18, 2019 , 9:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m. ET
National Institutes of Health Main Campus, Building 45, Balcony A and B, Bethesda, M
Register here .
 
State of Obesity 2019 Congressional Briefing
Trust for America's Health
November 18, 2019, 2:00 - 3:30 p.m.  
2168 Rayburn House Office Building (Gold Room)
Register here .
 
Sharing Clinical Trial Data: Challenges and a Way Forward - A Workshop
NASEM
November 18-19, 2019
Register here .
 
Trendy or Tried-And True? Who Sticks To Different Diets And How Do They Affect Produce Consumption
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
November 19, 2019 , 1:00 - 2:00 p.m. ET
Register here .
 
Global Agricultural Productivity & Hunger Forum
Farm Foundation Forum
November 19, 2019, 9:00 - 11:00 a.m. ET
Webcast or National Press Club, 529 14th St., NW, Washington, DC
Register here .


Funding Opportunities
Understanding Food-Related Hardships among Older Americans
The University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research (UKCPR), with underwriting from the USDA Food and Nutrition Service (FNS), announces a 2nd round competition for research contracts that expand understanding of, and the attendant policy implications for, food-related hardships among older persons in the U.S. Research proposals should address one of three topical domains:
1) Describing households with food insecure seniors, including, but not limited to, factors such as functional status and ability to live independently, access to transportation, mental function, spousal health status, and social network and family connections;
2) Understanding factors underlying participation and recertification in food assistance and other safety net programs; and,
3) Evaluating the causal impact of food and non-food assistance programs on health and nutrition outcomes, as well as related outcomes such as consumption tradeoffs.
 
Total anticipated funding under this mechanism is $1.2 million of four large subcontracts at $250,000 each and four small subcontracts at $50,000 each. Letters of intent must be submitted by December 10, 2019. Full proposals are due January 14, 2020. The full RFP is available   here .  
 
USDA
National Institute of Food and Agriculture
Centers of Excellence at 1890 Institutions (1890 COEs) , Synopsis 1, Closing by January 31, 2020.
 
Food and Nutrition Service
USDA-FNS-F2S-2020 , Synopsis 3, Closing by December 13, 2019.
 
Department of Health and Human Services
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention - ERA
 
National Institutes of Health
NSF
National Science Foundation
World Cancer Research Fund (WCRF) International Regular Grant Programme for 2019
The   2020 program funding will open in summer 2020. WCRFwill be focusing on two main themes:
  • identifying the mechanisms that underpin the effects of diet, nutrition and physical activity on cancer
  • addressing the host factors that influence an individual's susceptibility to cancer development or progression
  • For cancer survivors, we also encourage broader research into evidence for impact of diet, nutrition (including body composition), physical activity and outcomes after cancer diagnosis.
New Funding Opportunity:  Aligning Systems for Health
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWFJ) seeks to improve community health by fostering connections across systems that are built to last.  Aligning Systems for Health: Health Care + Public Health + Social Services , led by the  Georgia Health Policy Center   and supported by RWJF, calls for proposals for research studies that strengthen the evidence base around approaches and conditions that foster cross-sector alignment of health care, public health, and social services. Proposals can range from $100,000 to $400,000 for projects lasting up to 24 months. Brief proposals are due November 22 at 3:00 p.m. ET. 


International
Statement on Climate Calls for Additional Indicators
A collaborative of dozens of scientists issued a statement  published in BioScience on the 40th anniversary of the 1st world climate conference, which was held in Geneva in 1979. The statement, endorsed by 11,000 scientists from 153 nations, calls for urgent changes to end population growth, leave fossil fuels in the ground, halt forest destruction and slash meat eating. This group recommended a broader range of "vital sign" indicators of the causes and effects of climate breakdown, that goes beyond carbon emissions and surface temperature rise.
 
Analysis of Impact of Dietary Patterns on Health and the Environment
Researchers from the University of Oxford conducted an analysis  that assessed the health and environmental impacts of 15 foods common in Western diets. Fruit, vegetables, beans and whole grains were shown to be best for both avoiding disease and protecting the climate and water resources. Conversely, eating more red and processed meat was found to lead to more health concerns and pollution. The researchers are currently working on food label prototypes to see if label information on health and environmental impacts changes people's food selections.
 
Lancet Diet Too Costly for 1.58 Billion People
Researchers at the International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI) and Tufts University Friedman School of Nutrition Science and Policy conducted a study that examined the affordability of the EAT-Lancet Commission on Food, Planet, Health recommendations for a universal diet that addresses both human and planetary health. The study estimates that these recommendations meant to improve both human and planetary health would be unaffordable for at least 1.58 billion people, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia.
 
Number of Food-Insecure People in Selected Low- and Middle-Income Countries Projected to Fall
A USDA ERS analysis  indicates that the share of food-insecure people in the 76 low- and middle-income countries is projected to fall from 19.3 percent in 2019 to 9.2 percent in 2029. This projected 45 percent fall is faster than the decline in the intensity of food insecurity, at the aggregate level.
 
Report Finds Acceleration of Global Hunger
The National Academy of Medicine Global Roadmap for Healthy Longevity i s an international, independent, and multidisciplinary initiative to develop a comprehensive report assessing the challenges presented by population aging. The report, due to be published in 2020, has warned that more than 45 million people across southern Africa are at risk of a hunger crisis over the next six months, with 11 million already in "emergency levels" of food insecurity. The U.N.'s Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) International Fund for Agricultural Development and World Food Programme are jointly calling for urgent funding to avert a major food shortage.