Active for Life: Generations Working Together to Prevent Childhood Obesity

An RWJF National Program

Dates of Program: August 2005 through July 2008

Field of Work: Increasing physical activity and healthy eating among children and improving public policy and neighborhood physical environments to better accommodate healthy living.

Problem Synopsis: Since the mid-1970s, overweight and obesity have increased among adults, children and adolescents.

Synopsis of the Work: Active for Life®: Generations Working Together to Prevent Childhood Obesity (Generations) awarded grants to four organizations, all previous recipients of grants under RWJF's Active for Life®: Increasing Physical Activity Levels in Adults Age 50 and Older national program. Generations' four grantee organizations created and implemented program and policy change projects that paired adults with children ages 3 to 12. The Generations program targeted minority children in low-income communities at risk for obesity.

Key Results

  • Participating organizations created and implemented intergenerational interventions in which senior citizens and children engaged in shared activities that helped both groups become more physically active and adopt healthier eating habits.

  • Organizations struggled to make the leap from delivering services to advocating for policy and environmental change, but did realize some gains in this area. Changes included revising food options in school cafeterias, mandating physical activity in after-school programs, building gardens in recreational spaces, making school facilities available for longer hours to facilitate physical activity, repairing damaged sidewalks and creating walking paths in communities.

  • All four sites sustained key elements of their projects, and three secured funds from public agencies or other foundations to continue their projects after RWJF funding ended.