Tuesday, March 4 | 2:00 - 3:15 PM
As childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions, it is critical to devise interventions that target the root causes of obesity and its risk factors.
The two main components of childhood obesity are physical inactivity and improper nutrition, and it is becoming increasingly evident that the built environment can determine the level of exposure to these risk factors. Research demonstrates that neighborhood features such as walkability/bikeability, mixed land use, accessible destinations, and transit increase resident physical activity; also that access to high-caloric foods and convenience stores increases risk of overweight and obesity, whereas the presence of neighborhood supermarkets and farmers' markets is associated with lower childhood body mass index and overweight status.
It is evident that a child's built environment impacts his access to nutritious foods and physical activity. In order for children, as well as adults, to prevent onset of overweight or obesity, they need safe places to be active and local markets that offer affordable, healthy food options. Interventions that are designed to provide safe, walkable neighborhoods with access to necessary destinations will be effective in combating the epidemic of obesity.
Executive Director of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance
"Go Play in Traffic!: How to give kids space in our current environment" | ABSTRACT
Mark Friis is the Executive Director of the Inland Empire Biking Alliance. He has been a cyclists for over 15 years and ridden over 120,000 miles. Over the past 12 years, advocacy has slowly taken hold of more of Mark’s time until he started at it full time in 2011. In the wake of another death of a cyclists at the hands of a texting driver, he realized the need for need for a larger voice for bicyclists and pedestrians, and form the first advocacy in Riverside and San Bernardino counties (CA). The organization quickly grew and soon it was focusing on the built environment and its effect on active living and transportation. His past of working with kids (CASA, foster parent, youth minister) led to seek better education and policy for getting kids on bikes. Today he works with organizations like Safe Routes to School to encourage kids to bike and walk to school.
The past three years, Mark has been researching the history and results of built environments throughout the US and northern Europe. Though he is an advocate for biking, he has come to realize that the dominance of the car culture has greatly affected our quality of life in negative ways. He sees the importance of on the ground programs to influence policy and politics as to effect public land use planning.
Jaime Bussel, MPH
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
"The Built Environment and Childhood Obesity: Place Matters" | ABSTRACT
Jamie Bussel, MPH, is a program officer working in the area of childhood obesityand vulnerable populations. She designs and manages efforts that support environments and policies that promote the health of children and families. She seeks to develop innovative strategies to improve access to: healthy foods; opportunities for safe physical activity; and high quality early care and education for young children, especially the most vulnerable.
Having joined the Foundation in 2002, Bussel directs initiatives that foster multidisciplinary partnerships and systems-level change strategies to transform the health of people and places. “Creating healthy communities inevitably involves systems change, not just developing another project,” says Bussel. It is in this spirit that she leads one of the Foundations largest community-action initiatives, Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, which addresses the root causes of childhood obesity through integrated changes in policies, practices, social supports, and the physical environment.
Drawn to the Foundation by its commitment to improve the health of people and communities, Bussel is an ardent supporter of the “active living” movement. She believes strongly in the impact of our physical, social, and educational environments on health. As she puts it: “Communities that are designed to promote routine physical activity, provide accessible, healthy food options, and are committed to engaging learning environments in early care and education settings, promote positive outcomes in young children and help children and families lead healthier lives.” She hopes that her work will help communities identify new methods for creating great places by drawing on the collective wisdom of those who live, learn, work, and play there.
Previously, Bussel held research positions at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Public Health (UMDNJ-SPH), the University of Pennsylvania, and the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. She received an MPH in behavioral sciences/health education from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey-School of Public Health, and a BA in English literature from the University of Michigan. A New Jersey native, Bussel lives in Bedminster with her husband and two daughters. An advocate for active living and an avid runner, she is committed to a healthier future for our children.