PRC Network Publishes Collection of Nutrition Policy Research Findings

A PRC Thematic Network Comprised of 5 Prevention Research Centers

Employee searching for healthy vending machine choices

Public health researchers can provide scientific evidence on nutrition-related polices to help make communities healthier. A thematic network of the CDC Prevention Research Center’s, the Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research and Evaluation Network (NOPREN), published 10 articles in a special collection in Preventing Chronic Disease. The articles highlight the network’s contributions to the field of nutrition and obesity policy research including policies that aim to improve the health of groups with disparities in diet quality including those in rural communities and low-income Americans. The featured articles focus on topics such as improving healthy eating opportunities in child care centers, city agencies, and community retail venues.
Three examples of the articles in the special collection include the following:

Research on Nutrition Guidelines for Vending Machines

Early steps in creating healthier environments often include developing and adopting policies. To create healthier vending machine options, the King County Board of Health located in King County, Washington developed an innovative policy approach. Instead of developing complex and demanding vending machine regulations, this local board of health chose to develop nutritional guidelines for vending machines. Researchers at the University of Washington examined the development and reach of this policy approach. Results show that other communities may benefit from understanding different policy development tools as illustrated with the King County Board of Health.

Research on Boston’s Healthy Beverage Executive Order

Boston’s Healthy Beverages Executive Order (HBEO) required Boston agencies to no longer sell sugar-sweetened beverages on city property. Investigators found that 2 years after HBEO was executed, the average proportion of sugary beverages available per access point had significantly decreased and city agencies were more than 4 times as likely to only offer healthier beverages. Not all retail points, however, followed the executive order fully.

Articles focus on topics including improving healthy eating in child care centers, city agencies, and community retail venues.

Review of Drinking Water Policy Implementation

California-licensed child care providers increased drinking water provided to children after federal and state policies required it. Not all providers assessed in the study, however, followed the requirement. This study demonstrates that policy adoption is important, but not sufficient by itself for creating healthier environments. This and other studies emphasize the need for monitoring implementation and adherence to policies, as well as documenting barriers and solutions for more facilities to be meeting standards.

To learn more about nutrition-related public policy research, visit NOPREN.

The 10 NOPREN published articles include the following:

  • Ritchie LD, Yoshida S, Sharma S, Patel A, Vitale EH, Hecht K. Drinking water in california child care sites before and after 2011–2012 beverage policy. Prev Chronic Dis. 2015;12:140548. DOI:
  • Breck A, Kiszko KM, Abrams C, Elbel B. Spending at mobile fruit and vegetable carts and using SNAP   benefits to pay, Bronx, New York, 2013 and 2014. Prev Chronic Dis. 2015;12:140542. DOI: