Diverse Groups Create Road Map for Healthier Lifestyles

Summit on promoting healthy eating and active living: Developing a framework for progress

Tufts University School of Nutrition Science and Policy in Medford, Mass., on behalf of the Partnership to Promote Healthy Eating and Active Living, held a two-day summit on healthy eating and active living in Washington on April 25–26, 2000.

The Partnership to Promote Healthy Eating and Active Living grew out of a 1997 Tufts University conference that called for the creation of public/private partnerships to promote healthy diet and physical activity behaviors, as well as new ideas in research, education and public policy to achieve these aims.

Because physical activity and dietary behaviors are complex, encouraging healthy, active lifestyles among the U.S. population will require the combined expertise and resources of many different disciplines. The summit was considered a first step in bringing these diverse groups together to discuss the issues and develop a "roadmap" for achieving healthier lifestyles.

Six months before the summit, the partnership convened three working groups of experts from the public and private sectors and multiple disciplines. Each working group wrote a paper that was disseminated to conference invitees prior to the summit and published as part of the summit proceedings in the March 2001 Supplement to Nutrition Reviews. (See the Appendix for a list of working group members.) The working groups addressed the following questions:

  • Group 1: How and why individuals make food and physical activity choices and what are the underlying factors that affect these choices?
  • Group 2: How and why do environmental and societal factors affect food and physical activity choices?
  • Group 3: What lessons have been learned from other attempts to guide social change?

Key Results

  • Nearly 200 experts in nutrition, obesity, research, education, community and public health, cultural anthropology, social marketing, consumer and health advocacy, insurance, physical activity, public policy, psychology, communications, biological science, economics and consumer research attended the conference.
  • Surgeon General David Satcher and Secretary of Agriculture Dan Glickman provided keynote presentations. The conference also featured two panels and three working sessions for breakout groups. The effort to create a conceptual framework resulted in a systematic diagram that mapped the determinants (individual, cultural and social) of eating and activity behavior, and linked them to the diverse clusters of knowledge contained within the Partnership.
  • Among the most promising next steps recommended in the summit proceedings published as a March 2001 Supplement to Nutrition Reviews include:
    • More clearly define the "crisis" created by poor diet and sedentary lifestyles.
    • Create connectivity between research efforts, as well as intervention programs, especially at the community level.
    • Identify and train stakeholders to lead communities in affecting social change.
    • Facilitate change through policy support.
    • Identify potential data sources to support specific policy change.


The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) provided $50,000 in support for the summit from April to September 2000.

Other funders of the summit included: Kellogg Foods, Knoll Pharmaceutical Company, Kraft Foods, M&M/Mars, Novartis, Proctor & Gamble, Roche Laboratories, the American Diabetes Association, the Consumer Federation of America and the Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association.

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