(301) 657-9883

A Fresh New Year

healthyAs we ring in the new year, many of us are thinking about how we would like to better ourselves in 2022—and at the top of many people’s lists is a happier, healthier lifestyle. Better physical fitness, healthier diets, and weight loss frequently top surveys asking Americans about their New Year’s resolutions, and 2022 is no different. But getting started can be daunting, especially for those who may not have had access to a variety of fresh produce in the past (or for picky eaters looking to branch out to something new!).

The U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program Education (SNAP-Ed) Connection website is a great resource for anyone searching for guidance on the fruits and vegetables available throughout the winter months. In addition to their Seasonal Produce Guide, SNAP-Ed provides easy-to-make, nutritional Every Day and Seasonal Recipes. These recipes range from smoothies and salads in summer to warm stews and pot pies to chase away the winter cold. With these resources at hand, starting 2022 off on the right foot will be a snap.

More information about SNAP-Ed can be found on the main web page, located at https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/.

January is National Poverty in America Awareness Month

January is National Poverty in America Awareness Month, which aims to call attention to the growth of poverty in America. The COVID-19 pandemic had exacerbated the issue for families and communities nationwide.

Poverty is a complex social issue; it can manifest in hunger and malnutrition, limited access to education and other basic services, disabilities, and social discrimination and exclusion, among other ways. People living in poverty having an increased risk of chronic conditions, lower life expectancy, and barriers to receiving quality healthcare.

According to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services’ (CMS) Office of Minority Health (OMH), 37.2 million Americans live in poverty, which is an increase of 3.3 million people since 2019. OMH also notes that in 2020, racial and ethnic minorities continued to be disproportionately affected by poverty, with the rates of poverty among Black (19.5%) and Hispanic (17%) Americans more than twice that of White Americans (8.2%).

CMS offers a number of resources to help  learn how to access health coverage, manage health care costs, and fully utilize benefits. For more information, visit https://www.cms.gov/About-CMS/Agency-Information/OMH/equity-initiatives/health-observances.

The Alliance for Strong Families and Communities also provides resources to combat poverty.

Report Calls for National Eviction Database to Better Track Trends

House CutoutPolicymakers need reliable data to develop tools and strategies to effectively combat the nation’s eviction epidemic, according to a report exploring the prevalence and impact of evictions.

The report, which appeared in Evidence Matters in summer 2021, found that current eviction data are often incomplete, incorrect, or difficult to compare across geographic areas. Thus, the authors call for the development of a national eviction database.

“Building a national eviction database that aggregates standardized and reliable local data will significantly improve researchers’ ability to understand trends in eviction rates across time and space,” wrote Dana Goplerud and Craig Pollack, both of Johns Hopkins University.

The aim of the database would be to improve the ability to track and understand eviction trends, allowing policymakers to design more effective policies and tools to prevent eviction.

The authors recognize that many evictions happen outside of the court system; thus, they also explain how surveys at the national and local levels would capture information from renters about their experiences.

New Census Report Explores Wellbeing of Older Adults Who Are Childless

A new report from the U.S. Census Bureau provides a snapshot of the wellbeing of older adults who are childless.

The report shows how declines in marriage and fertility and increased cohabitation in the general population are starting to be reflected in the lives of aging adults.

The report, Childless Older Americans: 2018, found that 15.2 million (16.5 percent) of 92.2 million adults aged 55 and older are childless. Moreover, the new data found that those aged 55 to 64 were more likely to be childless.

The report explores childless adults’ personal net worth, educational attainment, and relationship and household information.

More information on the report can be found here.

NHLP Releases Survey Showing Impact of the End of Eviction Moratorium

Rising eviction cases, more illegal evictions and lockouts, and judges ignoring or inconsistently applying federal and state law are some of the problems a new survey identifies since the end of the federal eviction moratorium.

The survey, from the National Housing Law Project (NHLP), shows that courts and landlords continue to evict tenants despite receiving rental assistance funds and legal protections for tenants.

The findings show that 66 percent of respondents—consisting of legal aid and civil rights attorneys in 41 states, the District of Columbia, and Puerto Rico—reported increasing eviction cases, and 40 percent reported rising cases of landlords lying in court to evict tenants. Approximately 86 percent of respondents reported landlords collecting rental assistance but proceeding with evictions or simply refusing to apply for funds.

NHLP lays out several recommendations, including:

  • Reform landlord–tenant law to provide basic due process to tenants.
  • Expand tenant access to justice by enacting right to counsel laws.
  • Fix rental assistance programs by requiring lease renewals, non-eviction pledges, and stays on cases until funds are disbursed.
  • Create eviction diversion programs focused on housing stability for tenants.
  • Invest in federal and other affordable housing through the Build Back Better Act.

For more information, visit https://www.nhlp.org/covid/survey.

Study Finds Widespread Support for Tackling Health Disparities by Addressing Social Determinants of Health

A recent study coauthored by Econometrica’s Health Director, Dr. Kristie McNealy, found that there is widespread support among researchers for efforts that attempt to reduce health disparities by using a multilevel approach to address the social conditions that help drive those disparities.

In particular, the study focused on what is currently known about multilevel diabetes prevention and treatment interventions for American Indians and Alaska Natives (AI/AN) and First Nations people in the United States and Canada. Diabetes is a significant issue among AI/AN and First Nations people, who have a higher prevalence of diabetes than any other racial or ethnic group, as well as higher rates of comorbidities and complications such as hypertension and cerebrovascular disease.

Such health disparities are often connected to “social determinants of health,” or the conditions of the environment where a person or group lives—such as access to housing or healthcare—that affect their health, functioning, and quality of life. For example, AI/AN and First Nations people experience a range of significant inequities, including lower graduation rates, higher poverty rates, and decreased access to healthcare, that undermine their health and contribute to higher rates of diseases like diabetes.

Multilevel interventions aim to prevent and/or treat chronic diseases related to social determinants of health by mobilizing support at many levels, from the individual to the policy level. The study’s authors identified 10 multilevel diabetes prevention and/or treatment interventions specifically aimed at AI/AN and First Nations people:

  • All 10 interventions focused on diabetes prevention.
  • Eight interventions were specifically focused on youth.
  • Multilevel design elements were largely individual-, school-, and community-based.
  • Three interventions also included environmental- or policy-level components.

Beyond these 10 interventions, the review found that there is little literature about multi-level diabetes prevention/treatment programs for AI/AN and First Nations people. However, the authors did find widespread support among experts for reducing health disparities by addressing the social factors that contribute to those disparities. “Researchers and interventionists should consider multi-level approaches with well-designed, appropriately funded evaluation strategies for diabetes prevention and treatment interventions,” the authors conclude.

To learn more, you can read the full article here.