Strategies Proposed by Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Partnerships to Prevent Childhood Obesity

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Institute of Medicine have recently added environmental and policy changes to their existing recommendations of evidence-based strategies to prevent obesity in the United States. CDC recommendations cover 24 community strategies in six categories.

These researchers compared CDC recommendations to those proposed by 41 grantee sites in the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation's Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities (HKHC) national program to support communities to reduce obesity through policy, systems and environmental changes. Since HKHC focuses on children aged 3 to 18, two CDC recommendations were not assessed (Category 3–encouraging breastfeeding; and Category 6–encouraging communities to organize for change).

Here is how the HKHC partnerships aligned with CDC categories:

  • Thirty-one partnerships proposed strategies to promote the availability of affordable healthy food and beverages (Category 1)
  • Four partnerships proposed strategies to support healthy food and beverage choices (Category 2)
  • Fifteen partnerships proposed strategies to encourage physical activity or limit sedentary activity among children and youth (Category 4)
  • Thirty-five partnerships proposed strategies to create safe communities that support physical activity (Category 5)

HKHC partnerships also proposed non-CDC-recommended strategies for preventing childhood obesity, such as building community gardens and creating local food policy councils.