Bridging the Gap: Research Informing Policies and Practices for Healthy Youth (No. 6)
Obesity among US children has risen dramatically over the past few decades, and considerable disparities exist by race/ethnicity and by socioeconomic status. The role of the environment in contributing to poor diets, physical inactivity, and obesity is increasingly clear and environmental and policy interventions are being widely promoted as means for combating this epidemic.
To date, there is limited evidence on the effects of these approaches, with Bridging the Gap (BTG) one of the key contributors to this growing literature. BTG examines the impacts of state, local and district-level policies as well as school and community characteristics and environmental factors on youth behaviors and weight outcomes. This current stage of funding continues BTG's work through June 2015, including surveys of public elementary school administrators; analysis and reporting of local data from community assessments; analysis and reporting of data on televised food and beverage advertisements; extensive analyses of the multiple levels of data collected and acquired by BTG to disentangle the impact of policy and environmental factors on youth outcomes, with a special focus on inequities; and communications and dissemination activities.
Bridging the Gap generates evidence on the diet, (in)activity, and weight of children and adolescents to stimulate and inform policy change locally — in schools, communities, and states — and nationally.
BTG also provides information helpful in assessing progress over time. While the greatest challenges to BTG are behind it, one limitation of BTG's research is the somewhat limited self-reported set of healthy eating, physical activity, and other measures available in Monitoring the Future. This is offset by the advantages of having long-run trend data on these measures among large, nationally representative samples of youth and by BTG's success in obtaining support from other funders for analyses of other national survey data.
State Laws for School Snack Foods and Beverages
Sort data by state, school year, grade level, location of sale, and specific nutritional standards in this interactive website.
This is the sixth grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to IHRP for Bridging the Gap since 1997. See the previous stage of this research.
Bridging the Gap is a national research program jointly based at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Institute for Health Research and Policy (as ImpacTeen) and at the University of Michigan’s Institute for Social Research (as Youth Education and Society, or YES!). Dr. Lloyd Johnston at the University of Michigan co-directs Bridging the Gap with UIC's Dr. Frank Chaloupka.