Signs of Progress

Around the United States, many communities are seeing positive results from comprehensive efforts to reduce childhood obesity and ensure every child is able to grow up at a healthy weight.

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Girl running outside near a chalk drawing of the continental United States.

About This Collection

In recent years, some cities, counties, and states have started to see their childhood obesity rates go down. Places reporting declines have implemented a wide range of strategies to make healthy foods available and encourage physical activity in schools and communities. In this collection, we share these communities' unique approaches. While no single local strategy is directly linked with declining childhood obesity rates, the collective effect of their far-reaching changes may be helping to support healthier choices and behaviors among kids and families.

Places Reporting Declines

An Alaska Native Heritage Center employee teaches a student how to play native Alaskan games during their lunch hour.

Anchorage, Alaska

The city of Anchorage reports a 5.4 percent decline in combined overweight and obesity among children in grades K, 1, 3, 5, 7 between 2003-04 and 2013-14.

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Girl and boy play on exercise balls.

California: Southern California

Across Southern California the obesity rate dropped more than 8 percent among children and teens.

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Kids playing on a seesaw and tire swing.


The state of California reports a decline in rates of overweight and obesity for grades 5, 7, and 9.

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Fresh vegetables from the farmer's market.


The state of Colorado reports a 7.4 percent decline in overweight and obesity among young children from low-income families.

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Students eating lunch.

Florida: Seminole County

Florida's Seminole County saw a 13.7 percent overall decline in overweight and obese children in grades 1, 3, and 6 from 2006-07 to 2012-13.

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Signs of Progress: Illinois

Illinois: DuPage County

This county reports A 4.5 percent decline in overweight and obesity among students in grades K, 6 and 9.

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Children participate in innovative physical education classes.

Massachusetts: Eastern Massachusetts

In Eastern Massachusetts, researchers report a 21.4 percent decline in obesity for children under age 6.

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Students running on a field.

Minnesota: Greater St. Cloud

Minnesota's Greater St. Cloud area reports a 24 percent decline in obesity for 12 year olds.

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A little girl holds up her healthy snack: celery with peanut butter and raisins.


Mississippi reports a 11.6 percent decline in overweight and obesity among children in grades K-5.

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Students participating in gym class.

Nebraska: Kearney

The Kearney, Nebraska school district reports a 13.4 percent decline in obesity for grades K-5.

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Children eating healthy snacks in classroom.

Nebraska: Lincoln

February 5, 2015

Lincoln, Nebraska reports an 8.2 percent decline in obesity among children in grades K-8.

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A boy observes a pepper growing in a greenhouse.

New Mexico

June 23, 2016

This state reports an 11.1 percent relative decline in overweight and obesity among third-graders and a 15.5 percent relative decline among kindergartners.

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A teacher dances with children during class.

New York: New York City

February 5, 2015

The New York City Health Department reports a 5.5 percent decline in obesity for grades K-8.

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A young girl drinks from a water bottle.

North Carolina: Granville and Vance Counties

February 5, 2015

North Caronlina's Granville and Vance counties report significant declines in obesity for ages 2-18.

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Students doing yoga in gymnasium.

Pennsylvania: Philadelphia

June 23, 2016

The city of Philadelphia reports a 6.5 percent decline in obesity for grades K-12.

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Young man shows a girl a football.

South Carolina: Cherokee County

June 23, 2016

South Carolina's Cherokee County reports a 21 percent decline in combined overweight and obesity for third-graders, 15.6 percent for first-graders.

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State of Obesity

Obesity Among WIC Participants

Obesity rates declined in 31 states and three territories, increased in four states, and remained stable in the rest from 2010 to 2014 among 2- to 4-year-olds enrolled in WIC.

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Health Policy Snapshot

Declining Childhood Obesity Rates

This policy brief examines reports from across the country to learn more about where progress is being made to address child obesity

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from the blog

Encouraging Progress on the State of Obesity in the United States

Over the course of three decades, obesity rates in the United States reached epidemic proportions. Teaming up to reverse childhood obesity has yielded promising results, but the work is far from over.

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Learn how we work toward

Healthy Children, Healthy Weight

RWJF funds projects that enable children, particularly those most vulnerable, to grow up physically, socially, emotionally, and cognitively well and at a healthy weight.

Learn more about this focus area