Second annual Food Day preparations underway; report touts dental therapy as effective method to improve oral health for youth; plus, a push to evict McDonald’s and other fast food restaurants from hospitals. Those stories and more topping public health headlines today, Wednesday, April 11, 2012.

Preparations Underway for Second Annual Food Day
Food movement leaders are gearing up for the second annual Food Day, the nationwide celebration of healthy, affordable, and sustainably produced food. More than 2,300 events in all 50 states took place on the first Food Day, and organizers intend for Food Day 2012 to represent an even bigger grassroots campaign for improved food policies. Food Day is October 24 every year. Plus, be sure to watch this new video on examples of activities from last year.

Associated Press via Greenfield Daily Reporter – Report: Dental therapists worldwide offer safe effective care to children
A new report on dental therapists says the midlevel practitioners offer safe and competent care worldwide, primarily to children in locations with rare access to dentists. But the document was quickly criticized by the American Dental Association, which said it appeared to support a predetermined conclusion.

USAToday – Do McDonald’s burgers and fries belong in hospitals?
Talk about your mixed messages. Go to grab a bite in some hospitals and you will see cafeterias offering salad bars and other healthful fare right next to McDonald’s outlets offering burgers and fries. Nearly two dozen hospitals that host McDonald’s restaurants just got a letter from an advocacy group asking them to evict their fast-food tenants and to “stop fostering a food environment that promotes harm, not health.” The group, Corporate Accountability International, is leading a larger campaign to get McDonald’s to stop marketing to kids. That effort has been endorsed by nearly 2,000 health professionals, some of which work at the very hospitals still housing the fast food giant, says campaign director Sara Deon.

Denver Post – Drilling concerns: Erie monitoring air, water quality but can’t enforce rules
This town is trying a new approach to protect residents riled by oil and gas drilling along Colorado’s Front Range: implementing local air- and water-quality rules. Town officials are asking companies to let them review drilling plans for compatibility with local development. They’re demanding new drilling operations capture 100 percent of air emissions. They’ve begun using a $50,000 device that tests water for hydrocarbons.

Reuters – Appeals court hears case of graphic tobacco ads
The government on Tuesday defended graphic tobacco labels and advertising that use pictures of rotting teeth and diseased lungs as accurate and necessary to warn consumers about the risks of smoking.

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