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CHHS Expert Comments on Trans Fats

The Food and Drug Administration is expanding its efforts to reduce the amount of artificial trans-unsaturated fatty acids (trans fats) in American diets. The federal agency declared trans fats unsafe for human consumption last week, giving companies three years to come into compliance with the new policy.

Trans fats have been linked to weight gain and heart disease, and the FDA says it expects the ban to prevent thousands of fatal heart attacks a year.

Elizabeth Racine is a registered dietician and associate professor in the Department of Public Health Sciences at UNC Charlotte. She said processed foods high in trans fats are often convenient and cheap, but "we're realizing more and more that these foods are bad for our health. The government does have a role in protecting our nation’s health, so I do think it should be involved in determining what food companies can offer and put policies in place that deter the overuse of these unhealthy foods." Click here for more details.

Web-based Quality of Life Explorer Released

The City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County recently released the updated Charlotte-Mecklenburg Quality of Life Explorer, an interactive online tool that can be used to explore social, housing, economic, environmental and safety conditions in neighborhoods across Charlotte-Mecklenburg.

The Quality of Life Explorer – which was created in partnership with UNC Charlotte and the towns of Cornelius, Davidson, Huntersville, Matthews, Mint Hill and Pineville – includes updated data and a redesigned dashboard, providing seamless access to information and resources.

The Quality of Life Explorer displays maps, trend charts and data tables and provides summary reports for more than 460 neighborhood profile areas across the county. There are also links that provide more information about each variable, as well as resources to take action on the issues that are important to users. While a complete update is typically released every two years, periodic updates, as well as links to neighborhood stories and data analysis, will be released over the coming year.