Childhood Obesity: Sharing What Works

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The statistics are startling. According to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of obese high school students has nearly tripled in the past three years. Thirty-two percent of children diagnosed with diabetes in one study had type 2 diabetes—the type normally  associated with obese adults. Obesity among children, once a rarity, has become an epidemic in this country. We must do more to ensure the health of America’s children.

Fortunately, schools across the country are responding to this health crisis. Many innovative programs are taking place at the local or school district level, but all too often those programs operate in a vacuum and are not publicized, even in neighboring counties. That’s why The Council of State Governments—whose childhood obesity prevention efforts are supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) through the Leadership for Healthy Communities national program—visited a select group of exemplary programs. These programs take place at schools recognized by The Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Health Magazine as some of the healthiest in the country. 

Each year, through its Healthy Schools Program, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation recognizes and award schools striving to improve students’ access to healthy foods and physical activity. The Alliance is partnership between the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, and the Healthy Schools Program receives support from RWJF.

These programs come from schools that face a wide variety of circumstances. Some of the programs are located in fairly wealthy communities, while others serve students primarily from lowerincome households. Some schools serve mostly white students, while others serve mostly Hispanic students. A few of the districts are small and rural, while others are some of the largest in the country. 

But the common factors among these programs are that they can be reproduced in other schools and districts across the country, and that they are making a difference in the lives of children. Here’s how these programs are making progress.
Download the report to find out more about ten successful programs.