Healthy Eating by Design

Field of Work: Changing local food and nutrition policies and environments for children

Problem Synopsis: By 2005, approximately 9 million children age 6 and older were considered obese. Part of the problem is that children and families living in low-income communities have limited means to buy and limited access to healthy foods, such as fresh fruits and vegetables.

Synopsis of the Work: The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) selected 12 community partnerships participating in its national program Active Living by Design to implement strategies to provide affordable, healthy and appealing food options to children and families by changing local food and nutrition policies and environments. Seven school-based partnerships and five community-based partnerships participated in Health Eating by Design.

Key Results

  • Policy Actions and Changes. The 12 partnerships achieved six policy changes in schools and communities and acted in dozens of other policy change efforts, moving many partners for the first time to engage in policy development.

  • Physical Projects to Improve the Healthy Eating Environment. Four school-based partnerships enhanced the physical environment in the school, with a focus on the cafeteria.

  • Programs—New or Expanded—to Support Healthy Eating or Access to Healthy Foods. Seven partnerships offered cooking demonstrations or classes.

  • Sustaining Healthy Eating Work Beyond RWJF Funding. Four partnerships used additional grants from RWJF to disseminate, institutionalize and sustain their healthy eating work.