Public policy is guided by rigorous research and people who bridge the scientific and policymaking communities.

CORA research goes beyond the lab or classroom, evaluating real-world changes that take place in our communities. This includes many public policies implemented locally in Seattle or Washington State; CORA investigators are currently evaluating changes such as Seattle's minimum wage increase, improvements in public transportation infrastructure, and sugary drinks tax that will be implemented in 2018.

Overlapping with CORA's other core areas, much of our policy research focuses on how public policy affects underserved communities. These projects do not focus exclusively on diet, physical activity, and obesity, as many of them also study employment and other socioeconomic factors that influence health.



Evaluation of Seattle Sugary Beverage Tax - Seattle recently became one of the first major cities in the U.S. to pass a tax on sugary beverages. The 1.75-cent-per-ounce tax was highly controversial but will be rigorously evaluated by CORA researchers, led by Dr. Jesse Jones-Smith, in partnership with Public Health - Seattle and King County. In addition to studying the tax's impact on sugary beverage consumption, the team is also evaluating how the tax affects local business revenue and employment.

The Minimum Wage Study - In 2014, Seattle increased the city minimum wage to $15/hour - the highest in the country. This project explores the impact of the minimum wage increase on many outcomes, including health and nutrition. The Minimum Wage Study is a collaboration between Dr. Jennifer Otten and several scholars at the UW Evans School of Public Policy and Governance, UW School of Social Work, and Washington Employment Security Department.

Structural and Programmatic Effects of Bus Rapid Transit on Physical Activity - This natural experiment evaluates the impact of King County's expanded Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) lines. Using accelerometer and GPS data, Dr. Brian Saelens and colleagues are studying how physical activity among King County residents increased after two BRT lines were added in 2014.

A Systems Science Approach to Studying Community-based Interventions on Obesity - Using data from the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) program, this project is developing systems science models to examine the effect of community-based obesity prevention programs in Los Angeles, CA. Dr. Edmund Seto works with researchers at UCLA and UC-Berkeley, along with public health organizations, to estimate the impact of policy on early childhood obesity.



Bleich SN, Jones-Smith JC, Walters HJ, Rutkow L. The Voices for Healthy Kids and State Legislation to Prevent Childhood Obesity: An Update. Am J Prev Med. 2018; 54(6):821-824.

Otten JJ, Buszkiewicz J, Tang W, Aggarwal A, Long M, Vigdor J, Drewnowski A. The Impact of a City-Level Minimum-Wage Policy on Supermarket Food Prices in Seattle-King County. Int J Environ Res Public Health, 2017 (in press).

Bekemeier B, Yip MP, Flaxman AD, Barrington W. Five Community-wide Approaches to Physical Activity Promotion: A Cluster Analysis of These Activities in Local Health Jurisdictions in 6 States. J Public Health Manag Pract, 2017 (in press).

Tandon PS, Walters KM, Igoe BM, Payne EC, Johnson DB. Physical Activity Practices, Policies and Environments in Washington State Child Care Settings: Results of a Statewide Survey. Matern Child Health J, 2017; 21:571-582.

Chaparro MP, Harrison GG, Wang MC, Seto EY, Pebley AR. The unhealthy food environment does not modify the association between obesity and participation in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) in Los Angeles County. BMC Public Health, 2017; 17:81

Taber DR, Chriqui JF, Quinn CM, Rimkus LM, Chaloupka FJ. Cross-sector analysis of socioeconomic, racial/ethnic, and urban/rural disparities in food policy enactment in the United States. Health Place. 2016;42:47-53.

Kim DD, Basu A. Estimating the Medical Care Costs of Obesity in the United States: Systematic Review, Meta-Analysis, and Empirical Analysis. Value Health. 2016 Jul-Aug;19(5):602-13.

Johnson DB, Podrabsky M, Rocha A, Otten JJ. Effect of the Healthy Hunger-Free Kids Act on the Nutritional Quality of Meals Selected by Students and School Lunch Participation Rates. JAMA Pediatr, 2016; 170:e153918. 

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