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Childhood Obesity & the Environment

November 29, 2012

NIEHS convened a panel of experts to tackle questions from the public on childhood obesity and related environmental factors. The unique, virtual event — the first of its kind at NIEHS to mix social media and Web broadcasting to reach a diverse national audience — attracted more than 600 viewers and sparked tweets to 1.5 million twitter users.

Read more about the forum:  Live from NIEHS: Experts field obesity questions

View the webcast of the event: Virtual Forum on Obesity and the Environment

Obesity forum panel
The forum panel, left to right: Gregory Diette, M.D., Johns Hopkins University; Lawrence Kushi, Sc.D., Kaiser Permanente; Birnbaum; Kristina Thayer, Ph.D., NTP; moderator Kimberly Gray, Ph.D., NIEHS; Andrew Rundle, Ph.D., Columbia University; and Karen Peterson, Sc.D., University of Michigan.
(Photo courtesy of Steve McCaw)

Asthma in our Neighborhoods

Dorchester House, Boston, MA
March 28, 2012

  • From the trolley, visitors could see the results of community advocacy for improvements and a smoking ban in public housing to help combat the alarming increase in asthma incidence. Advocates benefited from Harvard University environmental health surveys, lung function tests, and integrated pest management protocols in their petition to make these urban environments healthier.
    View of public housing in Boston
    (Photo courtesy of John Schelp)
  • Improvements to the built environment include a new crosswalk at Dorchester House, site of the NIEHS community forum, which makes negotiating traffic safer for pedestrians
    New crosswalk improvement at Dorchester House - site of NIEHS Community Forum
    (Photo courtesy of John Schelp)
  • Along the tour, visitors saw the George Robert White Environmental Conservation Center, which was built on reclaimed land in Dorchester. Programs there help neighborhood children learn about their connection to the environment.
    George Robert White Environmental Conservation Center
    (Photo courtesy of Marilyn Hair of the University of Washington)
  • Along with people from the community, the audience included directors and members of NIEHS-funded centers committed to community engagement as the foundation for environmental science research.
    Audience at the NIEHS Community Forum
    (Photo courtesy of John Schelp)
  • Birnbaum assured the audience that NIEHS is in for the long haul. “We look forward to continuing our support for this research and working with scientists, health care providers, community members, and other partners here.”
    NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D.
    (Photo courtesy of John Schelp)
  • Several of the panelists had no problem relating to community concerns. “I’m not an asthma expert, just a kid who grew up in Boston with asthma,” remarked Boston City Councilman Felix Arroyo, left.
    Boston City Councilman Felix Arroyo on the panel
    (Photo courtesy of John Schelp)

With its most recent community engagement outreach initiative, NIEHS tackled the issues of asthma and air quality in communities within the city of Boston.

Led by NIEHS/NTP Director Linda Birnbaum, Ph.D., a group of NIEHS-funded researchers and institute representatives toured Boston-area neighborhoods by trolley the afternoon of March 28. Along their route, the group saw firsthand why residents are concerned about their urban environment, along with several examples of how private-public partnerships have helped improve health and quality of life there.

Read Entire Article: NIEHS energizes researchers and community in Boston (Source: Environmental Factor, NIEHS Monthly Newsletter)

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