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Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity A Glossary As of Right: Zoning standards that are determined in advance of development and are self-enforcing. These types of development do not require special approval from a government agency. Body Mass Index (BMI): One of the most commonly used measures for defining overweight and obesity, calculated as weight in kilograms divided by height in meters squared. Built Environment: Encompasses all of the man-made elements of the physical environment, including buildings, infrastructure, and other physical elements created or modified by people and the functional use, arrangement in space, and aesthetic qualities of these elements. Calorie-Dense, Nutrient-Poor Foods: Foods and beverages that contribute few vitamins and minerals to the diet, but contain substantial amounts of fat and/or sugar and are high in calories. Consumption of these foods, such as sugar-sweetened beverages, candy, and chips, may contribute to excess calorie intake and unwanted weight gain in children. Complete Streets: Streets that support all users—motorists, bicyclists, pedestrians, transit users, young, old, and disabled—by featuring sidewalks, bicycle lanes, wide shoulders, crosswalks, and other features. Complete streets enable safe, attractive, and comfortable access and travel.
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Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity Conditional Use Permit: A variance granted to a property owner that allows a use otherwise prevented by zoning, through a public hearing process. These permits allow a city or county to consider special uses of land that may be essential or desirable to a particular community but are not allowed as a matter of right within a zoning district. These permits can also control certain uses that could have detrimental effects on a community or neighboring properties. They provide flexibility within a zoning ordinance. Connectivity: The directness of travel to destinations. Sidewalks and paths that are in good condition and without gaps can promote connectivity. Density: Population per unit of area measure. Dietary Guidelines for Americans: The Dietary Guidelines for Americans have been published jointly every 5 years since 1980 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Department of Agriculture (USDA). The Guidelines provide authoritative advice for people 2 years and older on how good dietary habits can promote health and reduce risk for major chronic diseases. They serve as the basis for federal nutrition assistance and nutrition education programs. Discretionary Calories: The number of calories in one’s “energy allowance” after one consumes sufficient amounts of foods and beverages to meet one’s daily calorie and nutrient needs while promoting weight maintenance. Energy-Dense Foods: Foods that are high in calories. Exactions: Requirements placed on developers as a condition of development approval, generally falling into two categories: impact fees (see below) or physical exactions such as dedication of land or provision of infrastructure. Exactions must be related to the expected impacts of a project. For example, new homes create the need for more parks and schools, and an exaction might dedicate land in the developer’s plans for more parks and schools. Food Access: The extent to which a community can supply people with the food needed for health. Communities with poor food access lack the resources necessary to supply people with the food needed for a healthy lifestyle. Availability of high-quality, affordable food and close proximity to food stores increase food access.
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Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity Form-Based Code: A method of regulating development to achieve a specific urban form. Form-based codes create a predictable public realm primarily by controlling physical form, with a lesser focus on land use, through city or county regulations. Health Disparities/Inequities: Terms used to describe differences in quality of health and health care across racial, ethnic, and socioeconomic groups. Healthy Eating Environment: An environment that provides access to and encourages the consumption of healthy foods, as described by the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. Healthy Equity: The fair distribution of health determinants, outcomes, and resources within and among segments of the population, regardless of social standing. Home Zone: A residential street or group of streets that is designed to operate primarily as a space for social use. The needs of residents take priority over the needs of car drivers. Home zones are designed to be shared by pedestrians, playing children, bicyclists, and low-speed motor vehicles. Traffic-calming methods such as speed humps are avoided in favor of methods that make slower speeds more natural to drivers, rather than an imposition. Home zones encourage children’s play and neighborhood interaction and also increase road safety. Impact Fee: A monetary exaction placed on developers related to the expected impacts of a project. For example, to lessen the effect of increased traffic at a new shopping center, a developer might be required to pay an impact fee that would be used for construction of a left-turn lane and traffic lights. Macronutrients: Nutrients needed in relatively large quantities, such as protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Micronutrients: Nutrients needed in relatively small quantities, such as vitamins and minerals. Mixed Land Use: A mixed land use development incorporates many sectors of a community, including retail, office, and residential. Communities with a balanced
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Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity mix of land use give residents the option to walk, bike, or take transit to nearby attractions. Nutrient-Dense Foods: Foods that provide substantial amounts of vitamins, minerals, and other health-promoting components such as fiber and relatively few calories. Foods that are low in nutrient density supply calories but no or small amounts of vitamins, minerals, and health-promoting components. Obesity and Overweight: Children and adolescents are defined as obese if they have a body mass index (BMI) equal to or greater than the 95th percentile for their age and sex, and overweight if they have a BMI at the 85th percentile to less than the 95th percentile for their age and sex, according to growth charts (http://www.cdc.gov/growthcharts). Physical Activity: Body movement produced by the contraction of muscle that increases energy expenditure above the resting level. Pocket Park: A small park frequently created on a vacant building lot or on a small, irregular piece of land, sometimes created as a component of the public space requirement of large building projects. Pocket parks provide greenery, a place to sit outdoors, and sometimes playground equipment. They may be created around a monument, historic marker, or art project. Retrofit: Modification of infrastructure and facilities in existing areas of the community rather than the provision of infrastructure and facilities in new areas of development. Road Diet: Involves reducing the amount of lanes in a road to include a bike lane and/or sidewalks. Road diets are intended to slow traffic and make the road safer for pedestrians and cyclists. Smart Growth: An approach to urban planning that is more town centered and transit and pedestrian oriented, and has a greater mix of housing, commercial, and retail uses. It also preserves open space and many other environmental amenities. Social Environment: Includes interactions with family, friends, coworkers, and others in the community. It also encompasses social institutions, such as the
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Local Government Actions to Prevent Childhood Obesity workplace, places of worship, and schools. Housing, public transportation, law enforcement, and the presence or absence of violence in the community are among other components of the social environment. The social environment has a profound effect on individual health, as well as on the health of the larger community, and is unique because of cultural customs; language; and personal, religious, or spiritual beliefs. At the same time, individuals and their behaviors contribute to the quality of the social environment (definition from Healthy People 2010). Social Marketing: Using the same marketing principles that are used to sell products to consumers to “sell” ideas, attitudes, and behaviors. Social marketing is often used to change health behaviors. Stranger Danger: The perceived danger to children presented by strangers. The phrase is intended to sum up the various concerns associated with the threat presented by unknown adults. Traffic Calming: Measures that attempt to slow traffic speeds and increase pedestrian and bicycle traffic through physical devices designed to be self-enforcing. These include speed humps and bumps, raised intersections, road narrowing, bends and deviations in a road, medians, central islands, and traffic circles. VERB Campaign: A national, multicultural, social marketing campaign to increase and maintain physical activity among tweens. It was coordinated by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and ran from 2002 to 2006.
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