Healthy Eating Research: Building Evidence to Promote Health and Well-Being Among Children

2018 Call for Proposals

    Release Date: May 23, 2018 | Application Deadline: July 18, 2018, 3:00 p.m. ET
Healthy Eating Research (HER) is a Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) national program, which supports research on policy, systems, and environmental (PSE) strategies with strong potential to promote the health and well-being of children at a population level. Specifically, HER aims to help all children achieve optimal nutrition and a healthy weight. HER grantmaking focuses on children and adolescents from birth to 18, and their families, with a priority on lower-income and racial and ethnic minority populations that are at-risk of poor nutrition and obesity. Findings are expected to advance RWJF’s efforts to ensure that all children and their families have the opportunity and resources to experience the best physical, social, and emotional health possible, promote health equity, and build a Culture of Health.

Healthy Eating Research issues calls for proposals (CFPs) to solicit scientifically rigorous, solution-oriented proposals from investigators representing diverse disciplines and backgrounds. This CFP is for two types of awards aimed at providing advocates, decision-makers, and policymakers with evidence to promote the health and well-being of children through nutritious foods and beverages. The award types are Round 11, small- and large-scale grants. The two funding opportunities are described in more detail beginning on page 2 of the CFP.

You can learn more about Healthy Eating Research at www.healthyeatingresearch.org.

Eligibility and Selection Criteria

For All Grant Opportunities

  • Preference will be given to applicants that are either public entities or nonprofit organizations that are tax-exempt under Section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code and are not private foundations or Type III supporting organizations. The Foundation may require additional documentation.
  • Applicant organizations must be based in the United States or its territories.
  • The focus of this program is the United States; studies in other countries will be considered only to the extent that they may directly inform U.S. policy.

Key Dates

May 23July 18, 2018 (3 p.m. ET)
RWJF online system available to applicants for concept papers.

June 6, 2018 (3 p.m. ET)
Optional applicant webinar. Registration is required. Please visit the program’s website for complete details and to register.

July 18, 2018 (3 p.m. ET)
Concept papers due. Those submitted after July 18, 2018 (3 p.m. ET) will not be reviewed.

August 13, 2018
Applicants notified whether they are invited to submit a full proposal.

March 13–15, 2019
Healthy Eating Research Annual Meeting

For all grant types, see table in the CFP for separate key dates/deadlines for small-scale vs. large-scale grants.

Total Awards

Approximately $2.6 million will be awarded under this CFP for the two award types. The anticipated allocation of funds is as follows:

  • Approximately $1.6 million will be awarded as small-scale grants, resulting in the funding of up to eight small research grants through this solicitation. Each grant will award up to $200,000 for up to 18 months.
  • Approximately $1 million will be awarded as large-scale grants, resulting in the funding of two large-scale grants through this solicitation. Each grant will award up to $500,000 for up to 24 months.

Is Rinsing Your Sinuses With Neti Pots Safe

 

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January 24, 2017

SILVER SPRING, MD – Little teapots with long spouts have become a fixture in many homes to flush out clogged nasal passages and help people breathe easier.

Along with other nasal irrigation systems, these devices — commonly called neti pots — use a saline, or saltwater, solution to treat congested sinuses, colds and allergies. They’re also used to moisten nasal passages exposed to dry indoor air. But be careful. According to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), improper use of these neti pots and other nasal rinsing devices can increase your risk of infection.

These nasal rinse devices — which include bulb syringes, squeeze bottles, and battery-operated pulsed water devices — are usually safe and effective products when used and cleaned properly, says Eric A. Mann, MD, PhD, a doctor at FDA.

What does safe use mean? First, rinse only with distilled, sterile or previously boiled water.

Tap water isn’t safe for use as a nasal rinse because it’s not adequately filtered or treated. Some tap water contains low levels of organisms — such as bacteria and protozoa, including amoebas — that may be safe to swallow because stomach acid kills them. But in your nose, these organisms can stay alive in nasal passages and cause potentially serious infections. They can even be fatal in some rare cases, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

What Types of Water Are Safe to Use?

  • Distilled or sterile water, which you can buy in stores. The label will state “distilled” or “sterile.”
  • Boiled and cooled tap water — boiled for 3 to 5 minutes, then cooled until it is lukewarm. Previously boiled water can be stored in a clean, closed container for use within 24 hours.
  • Water passed through a filter designed to trap potentially infectious organisms. CDC has information on selecting these filters.

Safely Use Nasal Irrigation Systems

Second, make sure you follow instructions.

“There are various ways to deliver saline to the nose. Nasal spray bottles deliver a fine mist and might be useful for moisturizing dry nasal passages. But irrigation devices are better at flushing the nose and clearing out mucus, allergens and bacteria,” Mann says.

Information included with the irrigation device might give more specific instructions about its use and care. These devices all work in basically the same way:

  • Leaning over a sink, tilt your head sideways with your forehead and chin roughly level to avoid liquid flowing into your mouth.
  • Breathing through your open mouth, insert the spout of the saline-filled container into your upper nostril so that the liquid drains through the lower nostril.
  • Clear your nostrils. Then repeat the procedure, tilting your head sideways, on the other side.

Sinus rinsing can remove dust, pollen and other debris, as well as help to loosen thick mucus. It can also help relieve nasal symptoms of sinus infections, allergies, colds and flu. Plain water can irritate your nose. The saline allows the water to pass through delicate nasal membranes with little or no burning or irritation.

And if your immune system isn’t working properly, consult your health care provider before using any nasal irrigation systems.

To use and care for your device:

  • Wash and dry your hands.
  • Check that the device is clean and completely dry.
  • Prepare the saline rinse, either with the prepared mixture supplied with the device, or one you make yourself.
  • Follow the manufacturer’s directions for use.
  • Wash the device, and dry the inside with a paper towel or let it air dry between uses.

Talk with a health care provider or pharmacist if the instructions on your device do not clearly state how to use it or if you have any questions.

Nasal Rinsing Devices and Children

Finally, make sure the device fits the age of the person using it. Some children are diagnosed with nasal allergies as early as age 2 and could use nasal rinsing devices at that time, if a pediatrician recommends it. But very young children might not tolerate the procedure.

Whether for a child or adult, talk to your health care provider to determine whether nasal rinsing will be safe or effective for your condition. If symptoms are not relieved or worsen after nasal rinsing, then return to your health care provider, especially if you have fever, nosebleeds or headaches while using the nasal rinse.

Health care professionals and patients can report problems about nasal rinsing devices to the FDA’s MedWatch Safety Information and Adverse Event Reporting Program.

A new approach for controlling intestinal worm infections could help millions of the world’s most vulnerable people

Naomi Clarke, Australian National University and Susana Vaz Nery, Australian National University

Expanding the control strategy for intestinal worms to treating adults as well as children could improve the health of millions of people worldwide who are infected or reinfected by these parasites every year.

These intestinal worms – soil-transmitted helminths – are responsible for the most common parasitic disease of humans worldwide. A staggering 1.45 billion people – that’s nearly a fifth of the global population – are affected and at risk of the long-term consequences of this largely preventable infection.

Neglected diseases

Soil-transmitted helminthiasis is one of 17 “neglected tropical diseases”, a grouping that also includes dengue and chikungunya, rabies, and leprosy. These infectious diseases largely affect the world’s most impoverished people, causing a high human and economic toll through chronic disability.

As their name suggests, they have historically received little global interest or research funding when compared to the “big three” diseases on the global health agenda: HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and malaria.

The good news is that neglected tropical diseases have been rising to prominence since the 2012 London Declaration on Neglected Tropical Diseases. This large public-private partnership is committed to eliminating or controlling ten preventable neglected tropical diseases by 2020, and has attracted substantial investment from government and philanthropic sources.

It’s also included unprecedented drug donations from large pharmaceutical companies to combat the five neglected tropical diseases that can be controlled or eliminated with medication: trachoma, onchocerciasis (river blindness), lymphatic filariasis, schistosomiasis, and soil-transmitted helminthiasis.

Soil-transmitted helminthiasis is by far the most prevalent of all 17 neglected tropical diseases. Transmitted through the accidental ingestion of worm eggs that are released in the faeces of people who are already infected, they thrive in areas with poor sanitation and hygiene, and are endemic across Africa, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific.

Children suffer disproportionately from the consequences of these infections. Due to the nutrient malabsorption and chronic blood loss that infection causes, children with heavy worm infestations can suffer developmental setbacks and fail to reach their full physical and intellectual capacity. This perpetuates the cycle of poverty in which they and their families are entrenched.

As a result of frequent exposure to contaminated environments, over 876 million children are currently at risk of infection from these intestinal worms.

Current control efforts

The key public health intervention for controlling soil-transmitted helminthiasis is the large-scale distribution of anthelmintic medication – often referred to as “deworming”. This must be repeated regularly as people don’t develop long-lasting immunity to intestinal worms, and can soon be reinfected if their environment remains contaminated.

Children are the primary focus of global control efforts for intestinal worms because of the greater impact the disease has on them. World Health Organization guidelines have focused predominantly on deworming school-aged children (five to 14-year-olds), with the goal of preventing complications associated with heavy infections.

WHO guidelines have focused on deworming school-aged children.
Noor Khamis/Reuters

Deworming through schools is an efficient and low-cost approach. The drugs are easy to administer and side effects are rare, so children can be treated by their teachers, minimising the costs of both infrastructure and personnel.

Between 2008 and 2013, the number of children treated for intestinal worms globally nearly doubled, and over half a billion children were treated in 2015.

This is astounding progress, and a testament to what can be achieved with concerted, collaborative effort. But it doesn’t prevent reinfection and relies on regularly re-administering medication.

A better approach?

The last few years years have seen burgeoning interest from researchers in the idea of expanding soil-transmitted helminthiasis control programs beyond school-based deworming.

This interest has centred mainly on the idea that treating all community members, rather than only children, could lead, over time, to “transmission interruption” – elimination of all worms would mean regular deworming is no longer required. This suggestion has been supported by several mathematical modelling studies.

Research that my colleagues and I recently published shows expanded deworming programs may also have direct and, more significantly, immediate benefits for children.

We undertook an analysis of the results from dozens of previous studies of intestinal worm control programs, delivered either to children alone or to whole communities. What we found was that when whole communities are given deworming medication, children are less likely to be reinfected, than when only children are treated in the first instance.

The findings make sense. Expanded deworming programs will reduce the number of people excreting worm eggs into the environment, thereby reducing exposure and infection. But until now, robust evidence to support this idea has been lacking.

We can now be confident that expanding control programs to whole communities will result in children having fewer infections. Although current child-focused efforts are lowering the number of infections and reducing complications, the growing body of evidence for expanding deworming compels us to revisit our current approach.

But community-wide treatment is far from a quick fix. It would require a significant increase in drug donations and other resources. And complicating factors, such as the increased potential for drug resistance, need to be carefully considered. But, as a global community, we must ensure that we are doing our best to promote the health and well-being of vulnerable populations.

Neglected tropical diseases afflict some of the most world’s most vulnerable people, and we must maintain the momentum of recent times in controlling these diseases. There’s a growing body of evidence that shows we could be doing more for the close to billion children at risk of intestinal worms. We simply cannot afford to ignore it.

The Conversation

Naomi Clarke, PhD candidate in Global Health, Australian National University and Susana Vaz Nery, Research Fellow – Global Health, Australian National University

This article was originally published on The Conversation. Read the original article.

The Power of Community

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Peg Ryan
Mile High Pilates and Yoga

The power of community is both humbling and inspiring.  Each of us has our own special individual gifts to offer the world.  But when we join those gifts together an energy is created by the group that can be greater than the capacity of the individual parts.

This past weekend I had the great pleasure of participating in the inaugural edition of the South Dakota Yoga Conference.  We live in a rural state with a low population scattered over a large geographic area.  Yet the human resources available here are world-class. Presenters with expertise in a wide variety of mind-body disciplines came from all over the state to gather with a group of enthusiastic attendees from multiple states.  There were an amazing 33 sessions available over two full days.  The variety of topics and expertise of the presenters made it difficult to choose among them.  In the end all choices were good.  A total win-win for everyone!  In the past I’ve attended national conferences with “name-brand” yoga teachers.  This quality event was every bit as impressive as any of those – maybe even better since it was right in my own back yard.  No planes or passports required.  Dates for next year’s conference have already been set (last weekend in July 2017) so mark your calendars!

If you are reading this blog from outside South Dakota, take heart.  Of course, you are welcome to come here and attend also.  But if that is not possible for you, my point about community is that it can be found anywhere.  Sometimes where you least expect it.  This conference was conceived by three friends who saw the need and took the chance that others would recognize that need.  They are 3 fabulous and energetic ladies (Scottie Bruch, Jillian Anawaty and Cheri Isaacson) but I’m sure they won’t mind me saying that they have no particular special powers.  What they do have is a passion for spreading yoga and all related health promoting and life enhancing practices.  My point is that any of us is capable to putting together a community.  It requires a passion for learning and sharing and a willingness to take that first dangerous step into the unknown.  When these women began this quest, they did not know what the outcome would be.  But they believed in the concept and in the power of community.  Wonder or wonders the community responded!  A call for presenters was put out and the rest is history.

There was a preliminary session at the conference which was open to all current or aspiring yoga teachers and anyone else interested in participating in this gathering.  This became an opportunity for us to share challenges, successes and ideas with others engaged in both similar and different pursuits.  Here in the Black Hills we are fortunate to have a wonderfully supportive and close-knit yoga community yet we have never had an opportunity like this before.  The seed has now been planted so the possibility exists for something else of value to grow from this experience.

Even though many of us are in different work and/or life situations, it was interesting to see how much we could each benefit from the experience of others. This is actually not such a surprising result.  In fact, it is yet another benefit of community.  We learn that others are going through or have gone through similar situations to our own.  It’s easy to feel isolated in today’s world where so many of the institutions we used to rely on are no longer working.  Our society often places a value on being independent. We perpetuate the myth that we should all be capable of solving our own problems. Yet human beings are by nature social creatures who are drawn to groups.  As the song says, “no man is an island”.  The fact is we all rely on others in many ways whether or not we realize it. When you become isolated, you might feel like your thoughts or problems are unique and insurmountable.  It can be so comforting to learn that you are not alone. By becoming part of a group you may be surprised to find that there are others who are or have been where you are and can show you by example that change is possible.

There are opportunities for community everywhere.  Anyone feeling lost or alone can look for them.  Or create one yourself based on your own passions and interests. It may surprise you to find that there are others out there who share your interests.  Whatever you have learned will be different from what they have learned so the sharing can begin.  All that’s required is an open mind and a willingness to take a chance. If you’re afraid to join an existing group, give it a try.  If it doesn’t work out the first time, try again.  Maybe try a different group.  Don’t give up. Keep trying.  You never know when the right circumstances will arise.

Time for yourself has its value and everyone needs to be alone sometimes.  But community can be a magical and powerful force capable of transforming lives.  Keep your mind and heart open and release your expectations.  Just let it unfold organically without trying to force it.  The result may be totally different from what you thought might happen but you may just get what you need.