Field of Work: Childhood obesity
Problem Synopsis: More than 23 million children and adolescents in the United States are overweight or obese. Lower-income communities, communities of color, and southern states bear the brunt of the childhood obesity epidemic.
Synopsis of the Work: Each of the 49 communities in Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities has created a broad partnership to expand access to affordable, healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity for children and families. Partners include public health agencies, nonprofit organizations, faith-based groups, and academic institutions, as well as urban planners, parks departments, and school districts.
The program is targeting children who are at highest risk of obesity based on race or ethnicity, income, or geographic location. And the communities, in turn, are focusing on neighborhoods where unemployment, poverty, crime, dangerous traffic, and a lack of grocery stores prevents children and families from gaining access to healthy food and engaging in physical activity.
By the end of 2010, 34 of the 49 participating communities had achieved policy or environmental changes. Examples include:
- Regulations promoting physical activity and good nutrition at more than 200 faith-based child-care centers with some 17,600 children in Jefferson County, Ala.
- A resolution and action plan to make Houghton, Mich., a bicycle friendly city. The American League of Cyclists has since cited Houghton as one of just 158 bicycle friendly communities nationwide.
- A "livable streets" resolution in Kansas City, Mo., that will guide plans and investments to make streets accessible for walking and bicycling as well as driving.
- A Food Policy Council in Grant County, N.M., which is recommending policy changes and implementing projects to encourage local food production and availability.
- A Healthy Selection Program in Baldwin Park, Calif., where 14 corner stores are stocking healthy products and displaying signs pointing customers to them.