Category Archives: Policy

NYC restricts the sale of large sugary drinks

Sales on large sodas and sugary drinks at movie theaters, restaurants, and other locations are now restricted in New York City after a vote by the Board of Health.  This is part of the city’s bold move to curb obesity rates; estimates indicate that at least 5,000 city residents die from obesity-related causes each year.

The ban, however, does not include all sellers in the city and doesn’t capture all sugary drinks.  For example, only stores and venues that receive health department inspection grades are impacted by the restriction, leaving vending machines and convenience stores like 7-11 untouched.  Diet sodas are exempt from the ruling, but restaurants with self-service soda fountains can no longer provide cups larger than 16 ounces.
For more on New York City’s new food-related regulations, please visit:

To go organic or not: reactions to a recent Stanford study

Recently Stanford University released a systematic review of the published literature regarding the health effects of organic foods compared with their conventionally grown counterparts.  Their study found that, in general, organic products did not have significantly beneficial health effects.  However, of the 237 research results they examined, only 3 actually commented specifically on clinical health outcomes and all of the rest were nutrient- or pesticide-specific studies.  The average difference in pesticide presence between organic and conventionally grown produce was approximately 30%, with organic produce exhibiting less residue.

The public has had strong reactions to the study; for reactions to the Stanford review, please see the following NY Times article:



Cancer and terrorism: the continued aftermath of 9/11

As the eleventh anniversary of the 2001 attacks against the World Trade Center in New York city ticks closer, an additional 58 cancers were added to the list of Federal coverable conditions as a result of exposure to toxins near Ground Zero.  While the visible damage has been replaced by a memorial, for thousands the lasting effects of the situation continue to bear down.  The World Trade Center Health Program provides benefits to numerous people individuals, including first responders, volunteers, survivors of the attacks, and those living near the site.

For additional details about the World Trade Center Health Program and its history, see this CNN news article:


Emory is tobacco free

Emory University kicks off the 2012-2013 school year by fully implementing a tobacco-free policy on campus.  Watch this video interview with Dr. Jeff Koplan, Director of Emory’s Global Health Institute and former Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to learn more about why the campus should be proud of this recent policy change.


If you need smoking cessation support, please visit: Additionally, you can anonymously report violations of the tobacco-free policy by going to:

UN tightens regulations on food safety

On July 4th, 2012, the United Nations food standards body strengthened regulations related to food safety to protect the health of consumers across the world. In particular, new restrictions regarding the levels of melamine in liquid milk formula and alfatoxin in figs were created. Recommendations for safe hygienic practices for  the processing of melons and seafood were created and mandatory nutritional labeling practices were also part of the new plan. To learn more about action of the Codex Alimentarius Commission, please visit:

Emory experts weigh in on Supreme Court’s health care decision

Various health policy and legal experts from across the community after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the Affordable Care Act was constitutional earlier this week. Commentary was provided from Dr. Timothy Buckman, Director, Emory Center for Critical Care, Dr. Kathleen Adams, professor of Health Policy and Management, Rollins School of Public Health, and William Buzbee, professor of Law, Emory Law School, among others. Read their commentary provided by the Emory News Center and watch Dr. Ken Thorpe discuss the Act below.


Sugar: What kind is best? Is there a good kind?

The controversy over the proposed banning large-sized soft drinks in New York City has also sparked interest among consumers over whether all sweeteners are created equal. In particular, are the replacement sweeteners like Sweet’N Low or Spenda better than consuming real sugar? The New York Times recently addressed this issue, with the ultimate conclusion: “Eat and drink less sweet stuff.”

US adopts new school lunch program policies to target obesity

On Wednesday, Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack and Michelle Obama announced changes to government-subsidized school meals that are part of the Obama administration’s effort to reduce obesity among youth by promoting improved nutrition and exercise habits.

Key aspects of the new requirements include: doubling daily servings of fruits and vegetables, serving only whole grains, milk must be low fat, and salt and trans fat maximums.

For more information, you can read the new rules or the New York Times article which includes a more detailed summary and interviews with key government and food industry leaders.