Nutrition-label regulation improves healthy options
A research team led by Brian Saelens, professor of pediatrics at the UW, recently published a study that found barriers to eating healthily — such as gluttony-glorifying advertisements — had generally decreased in King County since the implementation of nutrition-label regulation in 2008.
From October to December 2008, April to May 2009, and May to June 2010, 49 King County restaurants were studied, along with similar restaurants in Multnomah County in Oregon during the same time periods.
The study found food-centered establishments — as opposed to coffee-focused institutions — saw most of the reductions in bulk deals and supersizing. Slogans and other such advertising encouraging buying in bulk to save and eat more at the same time (e.g., “all you can eat,” “unlimited”) decreased in frequency.
However, access to fresh vegetables and fruits did not improve much in either county.
The King County regulation only applies to restaurants in the county that have at least 15 establishments within the United States and exceed $1 million in gross yearly sales, while coffeehouses aren’t subject as their food items are not on the menu.
UW Palliative Care Center of Excellence opens
The UW Palliative Care Center of Excellence opened Oct. 8, and aims to advance the methods and delivery of palliative (specifically pain-focused) and end-of-life care for patients. Focusing on relieving people with serious illnesses from grave pain, stress, and symptoms, palliative care serves as an adjunct to the patient’s other care providers. Palliative care’s importance is increasingly recognized as a vital component to health care overall, with Sen. Ron Wyden recently introducing legislation to train physicians in palliative care and incentivize its practice and study.
Integrating disciplines as well as research, education, and clinical care, the UW center draws on UW medical expertise, with J. Randall Curtis, UW professor of pulmonary and critical care medicine, serving as the new director of the center.
Other UW faculty involved in the center include Stuart Farber, professor of family medicine, and Darrell Owens, clinical assistant professor of medicine and director of outpatient palliative medicine services at Harborview Medical Center.
MEDEX program expands to UW Tacoma
MEDEX Northwest, a UW School of Medicine program that trains physician assistants, recently expanded to the UW Tacoma campus. Receiving $887,301 in federal funding to enable the expansion, the program hopes to increase the health care workforce so the especially needy in rural or underserved areas can obtain primary care.
Physician assistants can exercise independent decision-making while providing a variety of medical services, such as physical exams, diagnosis, and writing prescriptions.
The push in funding also seeks to provide more educational and employment opportunities for veterans. There will be 24 training slots provided at the Tacoma campus, which enjoys close relations with the Lewis-McChord base. The proximity and ties to the military base proffers veterans other avenues to employment as their terms of service end.
The program will officially begin in spring 2013.
Reach reporter Garrett Black at email@example.com. Twitter: @garrettjblack
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