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Childhood Obesity

Childhood Obesity

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Published by ATT
childhood obesity

July 2010 | www.rwjf.org
For the most current version of our strategy, please visit our Web site at www.rwjf.org/childhoodobesity.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is committed to tackling one of today’s most urgent threats to the health of our nation’s children and families—childhood obesity. Our goal is to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015. We need to restore “energy balance” in children’s lives, so they aren’t taking in more calories than they burn. T
childhood obesity

July 2010 | www.rwjf.org
For the most current version of our strategy, please visit our Web site at www.rwjf.org/childhoodobesity.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is committed to tackling one of today’s most urgent threats to the health of our nation’s children and families—childhood obesity. Our goal is to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015. We need to restore “energy balance” in children’s lives, so they aren’t taking in more calories than they burn. T

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Published by: ATT on Feb 17, 2011
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childhood obesity 
people—are either obese or overweight,putting them at higher risk or serious,even lie-threatening health problems.In addition, signicant disparitiesexist. For example,
percent o Latinochildren and
percent o Black children ages
are overweight orobese, compared with
percent o  White children. Tere are also signicantdisparities in terms o access to healthy ood and sae places to play. A study o nearly 
neighborhoods oundthat communities o color and racially mixed communities have access to ewersupermarkets than predominantly Whitecommunities. And communities withhigh levels o poverty are signicantly lesslikely to have places where people canbe physically active, such as parks, greenspaces and bike lanes.I we don’t reverse the childhoodobesity epidemic, the current generationo young people could be the rst in U.S.history to live sicker and die younger thantheir parents’ generation. Overweightand obese children are at higher risk thantheir healthy-weight peers or a host o serious illnesses, including heart diseaseand asthma. Obese children already arebeing diagnosed with health problems We ocus on advancing policy changesthat the latest research suggests will helpchildren decrease the number o excesscalories they consume by reducing theirintake o unhealthy oods. At the sametime, we encourage policies that resultin increased physical activity in schoolsand communities.o succeed in reversing the epidemic,every part o our society must be involvedgovernment, schools, community andnonprot organizations, health careproviders, media, the ood and beverageindustry, and, o course, parents. ogether, we
prevent childhood obesity.
Childhood obesity threatens the healtho our young people and their uturepotential. oday, more than
millionchildren and adolescents in the UnitedStates—nearly one in three young
For the most current version o ourstrategy, please visit our Web site at www.rwj.org/childhoodobesity.
 July 2010 | www.rwj.org
Te Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is committed totackling one o today’s most urgent threats to the health o our nation’schildren and amilies—childhood obesity. Our goal is to reverse thechildhood obesity epidemic by 
. We need to restore “energy balance” in children’s lives, so they aren’ttaking in more calories than they burn. o do that, we have to changethe environments in which we live.Our strategy is to help change public policies, school and neighborhoodsettings, and corporate practices in ways that make
communitieshealthier. We place special emphasis on reaching children who areeither at greatest risk or obesity and related health problems or havelimited access to healthy oods and sae places to play: Black, Latino, American Indian and Asian/Pacic Islander children, as well aschildren living in lower-income communities.
RWJ049_Child-Obesity_10e.indd 17/19/10 10:22 AM
once considered to be “adult” illnesses,such as type
diabetes and highblood pressure.Obesity also poses a tremendousnancial threat to our economy and ourhealth care system. It’s estimated thatadult obesity costs our nation as much as$
billion per year in medical expenses.Childhood obesity alone carries a hugeprice tag—up to $
billion per year indirect health care costs.By reversing the epidemic o childhoodobesity, we will make our nation healthier,save lives, ease the nancial strain on ourhealth care system and increase economicproductivity or the next generation o  American workers.
In the simplest terms, childhood obesity results rom energy imbalance—childrenconsuming more calories than they burn.Te latest research shows that theenvironments in which we live and thepublic policies our leaders enact directly impact the oods our children eat andhow much activity they get. When schoolshave healthy oods and beverages in theircaeterias and vending machines, studentseat better. When communities have parksand sidewalks in their neighborhoodsand strong physical education programsin their schools, children are more active. When there are nearby supermarketsand armers’ markets that sell aordablehealthy oods, amilies eat more nutritiously.But when communities are dominatedby ast ood and oer ew places to play,children eat worse and are less active, andtheir health suers. Ultimately, we allpay a price, in higher health care costs,increased school absenteeism and reducedeconomic growth.
RWJF unds eorts at the local, state andederal level to change public policiesand community environments in waysthat promote improved nutrition andincreased physical activity—both o whichare critical to reversing the childhoodobesity epidemic. In particular, we ocuson six policy priorities that the evidencesuggests will have the greatest and longest-lasting impact on our children. Tesepriorities can be supported by numerousapproaches. Some are listed below, butthese are only a handul o examples—there are many promising ways to achievesuccess. Te priorities are:
Ensure that all oods and beveragesserved and sold in schools meet or exceedthe most recent Dietary Guidelines or Americans.
 Junk ood has no place in ourschools, whether it’s served in caeterias;sold in vending machines, school storesor through undraisers; or given away asclassroom treats or rewards.o help promote healthier oods andincreased physical activity in schools,RWJF has supported the Healthy SchoolsProgram since its inception. Te programis an initiative o the Alliance or aHealthier Generation, which was oundedby the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation. As parto its comprehensive approach to helpingeducators make their schools healthierplaces to learn and work, the Alliancebrokered an agreement in
with the American Beverage Association and thenation’s top three beverage companiesto reduce sugar-sweetened beverages inschools. According to an independentevaluation o the agreement, there hasbeen an
percent reduction in beveragecalories shipped to schools since
, the Foundation unded amultimillion-dollar expansion o theHealthy Schools Program to target states with the highest rates o obesity. Teprogram now provides support to schoolsin all
states and reaches more than
schools either in person or online.Te Foundation also is working with TePew Charitable rusts to ensure that thestrongest ederal nutrition guidelines areapplied to all oods and beverages servedand sold in schools.
I we don’tthe current gento live
RWJ049_Child-Obesity_10e.indd 27/19/10 10:24 AM
Increase access to high-quality,afordable oods through new orimproved grocery stores and healthiercorner stores and bodegas.
Researchshows that having a supermarketor grocery store in a neighborhoodincreases residents’ ruit and vegetableconsumption and is associated withlower body mass index (BMI) amongadolescents. Local governments canincrease access to nutritious oods by  working in partnership with the businesscommunity to bring new grocery storesand healthier corner stores and bodegasto underserved areas.RWJF’s
Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities 
program is helping
communities across the country reshapetheir environments to support healthy living and prevent childhood obesity. As part o this eort, many communitiesare building new armers’ markets,bringing supermarkets back to lower-income areas and getting more healthy oods to rural areas. Te Foundation alsois working closely with Te Food rust,a Philadelphia-based advocacy organization whose mission is to ensure that everyonehas access to aordable, nutritious ood.Te Food rust has achieved tremendoussuccess in bringing supermarkets back tounderserved communities in Pennsylvania,and together we’re seeking to replicatethose results in other states.
Increase the time, intensity andduration o physical activity during theschool day and out-o-school programs.
 Schools can increase students’ physicalactivity by requiring active participationin daily physical education classes andby nding ways to add physical activity throughout the day. Ater-schoolprograms located in schools, parksand recreational centers also can ndinnovative ways to help children be active. With support rom RWJF, Save theChildrens Campaign or Healthy Kids isleading advocacy eorts in
Southernstates to help children eat healthier oodsand be more active. Te program works with local advocates to identiy importantpolicy and environmental opportunities,and then crats strategies or tacklingthem. For example, it already has helpedschools in ennessee ensure they are ableto provide students enough time orphysical activity. And or the last six years,Pioneering Healthier Communities, aprogram o the YMCA o the USA, has worked to change the environments o ater-school programs run by the YMCA and other community organizations, somore children can participate in physicalactivity outside o the school day. RWJF issupporting the expansion o the programto more than
communities in at leastsix states.
Increase physical activity by improving the built environment incommunities.
Communities can increaseopportunities or physical activity by building new sidewalks, bike paths, parksand playgrounds or by improving thosethat already exist. o encourage amiliesto use these resources and acilities,they also can implement trac-saety measures and crime-prevention strategies,so children are sae when walking, bikingor playing outside.Te Sae Routes to SchoolNational Partnership works with localcommunities to help more children andadolescents walk and bike to schoolsaely. Te partnership and its statenetworks ocus on removing barriersto physical activity in lower-incomecommunities, expanding sidewalks andbike lanes, and developing anti-crimeeorts that will create saer environmentsor children to be active.
 Active Living Research
continues to build the evidencebase about the importance o physicalactivity and identiy which policiesand programs most eectively supportactivity. Some o its recent research hasound that children who live closer toparks, open spaces, sidewalks and bikelanes are more likely to be active thanchildren who do not.
the childhood obesity epidemic,eration o young people could be the
U.S. history 
 sicker and die younger than their parents’ generation.
RWJ049_Child-Obesity_10e.indd 37/19/10 10:24 AM

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