A report by the National Conference of State Legislatures highlights actions on school nutrition, body mass index and fitness screening, transit-oriented development and local food production and consumption as emerging trends in state policies designed to prevent childhood obesity.
“Promoting Healthy Communities and Preventing Childhood Obesity: Trends in Recent Legislation” analyzes state measures addressing healthy eating, physical activity, healthy community design and access to healthy food. More legislation was considered in each of these categories in 2009 than during the preceding two years, and at least 80 bills were signed into law.
The major trends in 2009 included:
The report points to the availability of federal funding through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) as one of the catalysts for action. ARRA contained funding to help schools purchase, renovate or replace equipment to prepare healthy meals and to ensure students and community members have safe spaces for regular physical activity, including sidewalks, trails and bike paths for getting to school.
Support for this report was provided by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation as part of its Leadership for Healthy Communities national program.