Q&A with Andrea Haqq, Panelist on “A Calorie Is a Calorie—or Is It?”

6/7/2011– Childhood Obesity Conference


Dr. Andrea Haqq“It is important to recognize the complexity of obesity and recognize that in obesity prevention and treatment, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution,” says Andrea Haqq, associate professor in the Division of Pediatric Endocrinology at the University of Alberta. Dr. Haqq is a member of the expert panel on the mini-plenary session, "A Calorie Is a Calorie - or Is It?" Part of the Conference's Basic and Applied Research track, this session will explore differences in caloric value and metabolism of fats, proteins and carbohydrates within each macronutrient category. Dr. Haqq shares the details of her research and sheds light on the complexity of the obesity epidemic.


Childhood Obesity Conference: What can you tell us about your most recent work in childhood obesity?


Dr. Haqq: Much of my research focuses on Prader-Willi Syndrome (PWS), a rare genetic disorder (1/10,000 – 1/15,000) accompanied by growth failure (related in part to growth hormone deficiency), central hypogonadism leading to incomplete or absent puberty, developmental delay and obesity caused by uncontrolled hunger and food-seeking. Complementary work explores other unique metabolic factors related to the development of insulin resistance in general obesity.


Our prior studies suggest dysregulation of the hormone ghrelin, which plays a central role in food intake. Given the critical implications of the disorder for understanding appetite control and weight gain, our comprehensive clinical PWS studies are important to (1) delineate the pathophysiology of obesity and its complications in PWS in order to design novel treatments that will improve overall quality of life and prevent premature mortality; and (2) to apply these novel findings to the prevention and treatment of non-syndromic childhood obesity. This rare disease and other metabolic profiling studies in obesity remind us of the critical biologic drivers of our current burgeoning obesity epidemic and provide further understanding of general childhood obesity.


COC: What advice do you have for others working in obesity prevention research?


Dr. Haqq: It is important to recognize the complexity of obesity and recognize that in obesity prevention and treatment, it is not a one-size-fits-all solution!


COC: What first brought you to this area of work?


Dr. Haqq: Early in my training, I was exposed to great unique training in understanding the biologic and genetic drivers of obesity. This area is a fascinating and continually evolving area of research.


COC: What do you think is the most promising development in obesity prevention today?


Dr. Haqq: Further recognition of the complexity of obesity should lead to more innovative strategies for prevention and treatment.


COC: What are you hoping to learn at the Childhood Obesity Conference?


Dr. Haqq: I hope that the Conference will allow for further international productive collaborations to explore more novel areas of obesity prevention and treatment.




Movie Screening: Nourishing the Kids of Katrina: The Edible Schoolyard

5/31/2011 – Childhood Obesity Conference


Nourishing the Kids of Katrina: The Edible SchoolyardWe are happy to announce a second movie screening taking place at the Childhood Obesity Conference on Wednesday, June 29th, at 7:15 p.m.


Nourishing The Kids Of Katrina: The Edible Schoolyard is a documentary film that follows the compelling story of how renowned Berkeley educator and chef Alice Waters' “Edible Schoolyard” program—which teaches students how to grow, cook and eat fresh healthy foods—helped revitalize a New Orleans charter school after the devastation of Hurricane Katrina.


The award-winning film features interviews with Alice Waters, health professionals, educators and students. It includes remarks by President Barack Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama about the development of the White House organic garden, issues of childhood obesity and health, and the importance of good nutrition. The story is told from the perspective of filmmaker Robert Lee Grant, who experienced Hurricane Katrina while living in New Orleans. Watch the trailer.


We are also screening the documentary Riding Bikes with the Dutch. To learn more about this film, click here.




Q&A with Lexi Nolen, Panelist on “Health in All Policies”

5/24/2011 – Childhood Obesity Conference


Dr. Jennifer WolchLexi Nolen, director at the University of Texas Medical Branch’s Center to Eliminate Health Disparities, will contribute to our Community Nutrition and Physical Activity Track. Her work includes community-based research and interventions as well as policy development on issues of health disparities and public health. As a speaker in the mini-plenary session, “Health in All Policies: A Good Solution Solves Multiple Problems,” Dr. Nolen will offer insight on social determinants of health and advocacy strategies for health equity. Read on for our Q&A session with Dr. Nolen.


Childhood Obesity Conference: What challenges, achievements or new goals can you share about your work in obesity prevention?


Dr. Nolen: My work involves a holistic community development approach to disaster recovery, including consideration of the impact of disasters on childhood obesity as well as other health issues. We have undertaken work on GIS-based Health Impact Assessment as a strategy both for identifying priorities and sensitizing the community to social determinants of health.


COC: What advice do you have for others working to advance the “health in all policies” concept?


Dr. Nolen: Community sensitization and conversation, and combining top-down and bottom-up approaches, underpinned with quality research, are essential to effective community change.


COC: What first brought you to this area of work?


Dr. Nolen: I worked internationally as the coordinator of the Global Equity Gauge Alliance, then on the secretariat of the WHO Commission on Social Determinants of Health. When I returned to the United States, I hoped to apply my experience to a domestic context. Little did I know that Hurricane Ike would redefine Galveston, Texas, six months after I arrived…


COC: What do you think is the most promising development in obesity prevention today?


Dr. Nolen: The multi-sectoral approach (if not inter-sectoral approach) that is developing, and the level of public attention to the issue from community to federal government.


COC: What are you hoping to learn at the Childhood Obesity Conference?


Dr. Nolen: I hope to stimulate my brain by being around smart people doing the work in ways I haven’t thought of.




5 Easy Tips to Dive into Social Media

5/11/2011 – Martin Kearns, PreventObesity.net


Martin KearnsA Message from Martin Kearns, Keynote Speaker


Social media has revolutionized the way people communicate. Politicians share news that they’re running for office on Twitter. Friends organize plans to get together over Facebook. Parents post videos of their kids to YouTube, allowing family to stay connected from across the country.


But how can social media help you in your efforts to combat childhood obesity? How can you use social media at the Childhood Obesity Conference in June? And how can you maximize its benefits to make it work best for you? I’ll be sharing my thoughts on this in a keynote session, but before then I’ve come up with five easy tips to help you dive into the world of social media.


1. Sign Up. It seems pretty self-explanatory, but if you or your organization doesn’t have an account for the major social networking sites — Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn — get one! Please also join PreventObesity.net. I’m co-director of this exciting project, in which we’re building an online network of dedicated leaders and supporters working to combat childhood obesity. It’s a great way for you to meet with others in the field and get tools to help with your efforts, so be sure to sign up as a leader. The best part: It’s free!


2. Get Connected. Once you’re signed up for social media sites, you can begin to meet others.

  • Like the Childhood Obesity Conference’s Facebook page, a gathering place for conference-goers, and join the conversation.
  • Follow the Childhood Obesity Conference on Twitter. Their Twitter handle is @ObesityConf. Be sure to “tweet” at them to introduce yourself!
  • Dive into these social networking sites! Find other individuals and organizations involved with childhood obesity efforts. Follow these folks on Twitter, like them on Facebook and connect on LinkedIn.
  • Another connecting tip: type the official Conference hashtag — #COC11 — into search.twitter.com. A quick explainer: a “hashtag” is used to help folks find tweets relating to a specific topic on Twitter. It always has a # in front of it, letting Twitter know to include that subject in the specific search. So, if you search for “#COC11,” you’ll find folks who are chatting about the Conference. When you mention the Conference on Twitter, be sure to use the hashtag so others can connect to you.


3. Talk the Talk. Major conferences with thousands of participants can be overwhelming, but Twitter helps break it down. The most popular method is live tweeting. It’s simple enough: When in a session or meeting, share your thoughts in a quick tweet or two. Don’t try to cover everything, just interesting tidbits you think are relevant or feedback you’d like to share. Include the hashtag, #COC11, so you can have conversations with others, including people who can’t attend the event but are following it on Twitter. Some sessions might have their own hashtag — I’ll call my session #SocialCOC, for example — so keep that in mind, too. If you want to see what others are saying, search for the hashtag, and you’ll see tweets from other conference-goers. It’s a great way to find out what’s happening in sessions you can’t make.


4. Reach Out. If there’s a specific speaker or participant you’d like to connect with at the Conference, or a question you really want to ask, do it now via social media channels. This allows people to get to know you beforehand, and also lets you get to know them, maximizing your time in San Diego. Remember that sometimes conference speakers are bombarded with questions during sessions, so chatting with them ahead of time will ensure your issues are addressed. Here’s a list of individuals and organizations presenting at the Conference who are on Twitter.


5. Keep in Touch. Don’t let the end of the Childhood Obesity Conference be the end of your social media work. If there’s feedback you’d like to give a speaker, a question you have that didn’t get answered or if you just want to reach out for potential opportunities to work together, use social media! In fact, connect with everybody you meet in San Diego, and you’ll have created a network of collaborators by the time the next conference rolls around.




Youth Scholarship Recipients Announced

5/03/2011 - Childhood Obesity Conference


Loel Solomon


California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition) (CPL) would like to thank all of the amazing youth leaders who applied for their scholarship opportunity. CPL has awarded full scholarships to youth members and adult allies from the following organizations to attend and participate in the Childhood Obesity Conference. Attendees will have the opportunity to learn about the innovative ways these youth advocates from around the country are improving nutrition and physical activity environments in their local communities.


Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Advisory Board

Goodlettsville, Tennessee and Gretna, Louisiana


Anderson Union High School District CUB LEAN

Anderson, California


Better Eating, Activity and Nutrition for Students (BEANS) Program

Ukiah, California


Building a Master Foundation for Food

San Rafael, California


Girls in the Game, Varsity Squad

Chicago, Illinois


Healthy Choices

Stockton, California


Jóvenes SANOS

Capitola, California


Leaders for a Lifetime

Chico, California



Santa Barbara, California


Youth Radio

Oakland, California


Youth Wellness Advisory Board, Fremont Federation of High Schools

Oakland, California




Join Leading Health Care Professionals

4/26/2011 - Loel Solomon, Kaiser Permanente


Loel Solomon


A Message from Kaiser Permanente’s Loel Solomon


As the nation’s largest non-profit, integrated delivery system, Kaiser Permanente sees the causes and consequences of childhood obesity on a daily basis. We know that excellent medical care is absolutely critical, and wholly insufficient, to reverse the epidemic. We need to marry evidence-based clinical interventions with environmental, policy and systems changes that make the healthy choice the easy choice.


Kaiser Permanente has been a longtime supporter of the Childhood Obesity Conference. Since 2001, the Childhood Obesity Conference has been a place where clinicians, advocates, researchers, policy-makers, funders and others have gathered to connect with one another and learn what is on the leading edge of obesity prevention. The Childhood Obesity Conference is a center of gravity and an incubator of a comprehensive approach to obesity prevention—an approach that has been developed, honed and advanced at scientific sessions and hallway conversations. Now that perspective has been broadly adopted by funders, the CDC, the Let’s Move! campaign led by First Lady Michelle Obama and by hundreds of community-based efforts across the country. It’s thrilling to see. The Childhood Obesity Conference deserves a large degree of credit for advancing this approach, and the field.


With a track devoted to health care and prevention strategies, this year’s Conference will help those working in obesity prevention keep their edge. I encourage you to register today.


Loel Solomon

Vice President

Community Health

Kaiser Permanente




Q&A with Jennifer Wolch, Panelist on “Community Greening”

4/14/2011 – Childhood Obesity Conference


Dr. Jennifer Wolch“Do not fall into the trap of environmental determinism,” says Jennifer Wolch, dean of the University of California, Berkeley's College of Environmental Design. Dr. Wolch’s work includes analyzing connections between city form, physical activity and public health and developing strategies to improve access to urban parks and recreational resources. She will share her expertise on urban analysis and planning in the workshop, “Community Greening: The Critical Role of Parks and Open Space.” Dr. Wolch takes our questions and offers insight into her current work.


Childhood Obesity Conference: What can you tell us about your recent work in childhood obesity?


Dr. Wolch: Access to parks and especially recreational programs influences the development of obesity in children over time. I believe the challenge is to translate these types of findings into urban planning policy and action.


COC: What advice do you have for others working in built environment, land use and transportation?


Dr. Wolch: Do not fall into the trap of environmental determinism. Behavior is not linked in a straightforward way to environment metrics. Places are complex, multi-dimensional and subjectively experienced.


COC: What first brought you to this area of work?


Dr. Wolch: Working on a project related to urban trails with colleagues from public health.


COC: What do you think is the most promising development in obesity prevention today?


Dr. Wolch: Awareness of the importance of physical activity and ways to encourage it through smart planning, programming and design is promising; also, the huge interest in local sustainable food systems is a big plus.


COC: What are you hoping to learn at the Childhood Obesity Conference?


Dr. Wolch: What others are doing!




Movie Screening: Riding Bikes with the Dutch

3/30/2011 - Childhood Obesity Conference


Riding Bikes with the Dutch movie poster.Pick up your kids from school, shop for groceries or just go for a joy ride—but take a bike instead of your car—and repeat this every day. It’s a lifestyle for some and inspiration for the documentary Riding Bikes with the Dutch, screening at the Childhood Obesity Conference on Wednesday, June 29, at 7:15pm.


The film compares the bicycling culture of Holland with the car-centered lifestyle of Southern California. “In the U.S., bicycles are perceived either as high-performance sports machines, toys for children or a last resort,” says filmmaker Michael Wolfgang Bauch, resident of Long Beach, California, and speaker on the mini-plenary session “Visionary Approaches to Creating Active Communities.” “This cultural perception intrigued me as it was in direct contrast to the values shared by my family living in Europe who use bikes as daily transport.”


Bauch, who counts bike riding as one of his favorite activities, noticed that many of his errands were less than three miles away by bike. After equipping his bike with a simple and inexpensive basket, he began pedaling to the grocery store, bank, post office and cross-town meetings. According to Bauch, integrating a bike into his daily life was easy, and biking was oftentimes quicker than going by car and facing traffic and finding a parking spot.


In 2007, Bauch and his family exchanged their California home for an apartment in Amsterdam, where Bauch embraced—and filmed—the city’s bike culture. When Bauch returned home to complete the film—with the plan to compare the Los Angeles freeways with the bike-filled streets of Amsterdam—efforts to make Long Beach more bike-friendly had increased. In the film, Bauch presents Long Beach as a foreshadowing of the rethinking of America’s preferred mode of transportation. Along with Bauch, Charlie Gandy, Long Beach’s mobility coordinator, will contribute to the mini-plenary session, offering an inside look at Long Beach’s transportation transformation.


Watch the trailer for Riding Bikes with the Dutch.




Improving Access to Healthy, Fresh Food

3/23/2011 – Childhood Obesity Conference


Photo by Fair Food NetworkIn Michigan, the number of residents receiving federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) benefits, often referred to as food stamps, has risen 50 percent in the past two years. Double Up Food Bucks, a program that doubles these benefits at farmers’ markets, is expanding across the state in an effort to provide low-income residents with improved access to healthy, fresh food.


With Double Up Food Bucks, shoppers can use SNAP benefit cards at farmers’ markets to purchase fresh fruits and vegetables. For every $2 spent, they receive $2 in bonus tokens, up to $20 a day. These tokens can be used toward more locally-grown fruits and vegetables at the market.


“Double Up Food Bucks is a win-win for Michigan,” says Linda Jo Doctor, program officer at the W.K. Kellogg Foundation and moderator for the workshop, “Moving Toward Healthier and Sustainable Food Systems.” “It should attract more customers to our state’s farmers, which could help stimulate the local economy, and it should give low-income families access to healthy, fresh produce, which could help lower obesity rates.”


In February, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation announced $1.2 million in funding to support the program. Currently serving residents in Battle Creek, Detroit, Ypsilanti and Ann Arbor, Double Up Food Bucks anticipates serving residents in Flint, Grand Rapids, Kalamazoo, Lansing, Saginaw and Traverse City by late summer 2012.


“Low-income communities have less access to fresh, healthy foods,” says Oran Hesterman, speaker at the Conference and president and CEO of Fair Food Network, which operates the program. “Double Up Food Bucks provides an incentive to use SNAP benefits at markets filled with fresh food rather than stores with few healthy choices. This not only stretches residents’ food dollars, it keeps those food dollars in the local community, supporting local farmers.”


Watch this video to hear Hesterman and Michigan residents speak about Double Up Food Bucks. For a panel discussion on how food systems could be redesigned to deliver more healthful outcomes, attend this workshop at the Childhood Obesity Conference; find related sessions in the Agriculture and Food Systems track.




Q&A with Frances Kuo, Panelist on “Community Greening”

3/9/2011 – Childhood Obesity Conference


Dr. Frances (Ming) KuoFrances (Ming) Kuo, director of the Landscape and Human Health Laboratory at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, focuses on the relationship between human health and green space. She will share her research in the workshop “Community Greening: The Critical Role of Parks and Open Space.” Part of the Built Environment, Land Use and Transportation track, this session will explore the impact of community green spaces, such as parks, joint use facilities and tree canopies, on children's health. Dr. Kuo speaks to us about her recent work and shares advice for others working in this sector.


Childhood Obesity Conference: What can you share about your work in childhood obesity?


Dr. Kuo: I’m interested in the role of “nearby nature”—tree-lined streets, green neighborhoods and schoolyards, nearby parks—in childhood obesity.


COC: What advice do you have for others working in the built environment?


Dr. Kuo: Consider “leftover” land—ranging from large undeveloped natural areas to dead ends to drainage ditches—a resource for combating childhood obesity and bringing children in contact with nature.


COC: What first brought you to this area of work?


Dr. Kuo: My interest in Active Living Research. I serve on Robert Wood Johnson’s national advisory committee on Active Living Research and have learned about childhood obesity and the innovative work to combat the epidemic.


COC: What do you think is the most promising development in the world of obesity prevention today?


Dr. Kuo: The level of national attention to childhood obesity and the interest in “No Child Left Inside” strike me as extremely promising.


COC: What are you hoping to learn at the Childhood Obesity Conference?


Dr. Kuo: Everything! An overview of the field, state of the art research methods, and who is doing what.




Building on Walmart's Lead

2/22/2011 – Marion Standish, The California Endowment


Heal Cities ImageSadly, millions of Americans live in communities where finding a cheeseburger is much easier than finding an apple. Known as food deserts, these communities tend to have a higher prevalence of obesity, type 2 diabetes and poverty.


Data we have helped collect at The California Endowment, a private health foundation, shows that lack of access to healthful foods is a key contributor to obesity and chronic disease that costs the U.S. health care system billions of extra dollars and cuts thousands of lives short every year. Research also shows that when those same Americans have better access to healthy foods, they change their eating habits and these new habits lead to reductions in obesity.


That's why we are pleased to see Walmart unveil its new Healthier Food Initiative. As the country's largest grocer, Walmart has the power to dramatically impact people's health, or as first lady Michelle Obama said when she joined Walmart in announcing the new initiative, "the potential to transform the marketplace."


We know that people choose from foods that are readily available to them. By requiring suppliers to change the formula for thousands of everyday packaged food items to reduce sodium and sugar, and to remove trans fat, Walmart is saying it's time for all food retailers to think about the quality and health impact of the products they sell. Pricing these improved packaged foods at prices comparable to their less healthy counterparts helps consumers make the healthier choice the easy choice.


Walmart's commitment to build stores in under-served areas is also great step forward. In California, lower-income communities have 20 percent fewer healthy food sources than higher-income ones. Studies have shown that with each additional supermarket in a census tract, fruit and vegetable consumption increases.


But what excites me most about Walmart's actions is its commitment to lower the price of produce. Low-income families struggle to access fresh fruits and vegetables—even when they are readily available—due to cost. Parents have to make tough decisions when feeding their families. Sometimes volume trumps nutrition simply because of cost. Unfortunately, those are most often the least healthy choices. Walmart's commitment to lower produce prices could help many parents serve more healthful fare to their families on a consistent basis.


These are promising steps made by the largest retailer in America. Walmart's actions present a challenge to other food retailers to follow the company's lead. Moving forward, we urge food retailers and their suppliers to build on Walmart's leadership by:


  • Promoting healthy products by giving them prime shelf space or making a commitment to place them on end-cap displays;
  • Further reducing sugar content. With all the evidence we have linking sugar to health issues like obesity and diabetes, we urge more than a 10 percent sugar content reduction;
  • Partnering with the Institute of Medicine and the Food and Drug Administration to write standards for all grocery stores and all food manufacturers.


Other food retailers are sure to follow Walmart if they want to remain competitive.


We look forward to the day when every person has the information, resources and choices needed to live a healthy lifestyle.


Marion Standish is the Director of Community Health at The California Endowment, a host of the Childhood Obesity Conference. Source: San Francisco Chronicle.




Healthier School Meals: Up for the Challenge?

2/8/2011 – Childhood Obesity Conference


Healthier School Meals


Many schools across the nation are transforming into healthier places as part of the HealthierUS School Challenge (HUSSC). Established by the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA), the HUSSC is a voluntary certification initiative for schools participating in the National School Lunch Program. It recognizes and awards schools that have created healthier environments through their promotion of good nutrition and physical activity. Today, 1047 schools in 38 states have received HUSSC awards for meeting program criteria. The program, a key component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move!” campaign, aims to reach 1250 schools by June 2011.


Improving the quality of foods served to students is a major part of achieving a HUSSC award. Primary menu criteria include offering a different fruit every day each week (at least one per week must be fresh); a different vegetable every day each week (at least three per week must be dark green or orange vegetables, such as broccoli and carrots); a serving of dried beans and peas once per week; and at least three servings of whole grains each week.


“To accomplish these criteria, schools are utilizing salad bars featuring fresh fruits and vegetables and even dried beans and peas, such as kidney beans or garbanzo beans. Innovative approaches to include whole grains include using brown rice instead of white rice in teriyaki bowls, whole grain pizza crust, whole grain pasta in macaroni and cheese, and switching to whole grain breads, rolls and tortilla chips,” says Carol Chase, Nutrition Education Administrator at the California Department of Education (CDE), who oversees the HUSSC in California.


How does a school make sure students will be on board with the new menu? Involve them. “Some districts have shared that when deciding which new healthy menu items to try, they first allow students to taste-test them and provide feedback,” says Chase. “The new items seemed to be better accepted with this approach, especially if students get involved with marketing the new items through making posters and decorating the cafeteria.”


With the National School Lunch Program feeding more than 30 million children each day, improving school meals is critical. Dr. Janey Thornton, USDA Deputy Under Secretary for Food, Nutrition and Consumer Service, will share more reform efforts undertaken by school districts at the Childhood Obesity Conference in the mini-plenary session, School Meals: Taste Good? Look Good? Good for You? Conference attendees will hear how schools have successfully transformed their lunch menus to offer healthier and more appealing meals. In the meantime, you can learn more about HUSSC and read tips from award-winning schools online.




Health in All Policies: What Does It Really Mean?

1/25/2011 | Dr. Linda Rudolph


Heal Cities ImageThe theme of this year’s Conference, “Celebrating Success and Moving Toward Health in All Policies,” may have some of you wondering just what Health in All Policies is all about. The term Health in All Policies, or HiAP for short, is both self-explanatory and a misnomer. How can this be? Health in All Policies is about considering health when developing all kinds of policies, but the benefits of considering health when making policy decisions extend well beyond health to include economic and environmental sustainability, as well as equity. For example, transportation policies that consider health by supporting walking and biking in place of driving can simultaneously reduce greenhouse gas and air pollutant emissions. Perhaps a more appropriate name would be Health, Equity, and Sustainability in All Policies.


HiAP recognizes that health is impacted by the physical, social, economic and service environments in which people live, learn, work and play, as these environments can make it more or less difficult for individuals to choose healthy behaviors. Healthy community environments are often shaped by decisions made by housing, transportation, education, air quality, parks, criminal justice and employment agencies, among others. To improve health, those of us working in health care and public health need to collaborate with “non-health” partners.


HiAP has been around globally since at least 1986, when the World Health Organization’s Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion recommended that health be “on the agenda of policy makers in all sectors and at all levels.”1 HiAP has been implemented in various ways across the rest of the developed world, but its use in the United States has been limited until recently.


In 2010, California established a Health in All Policies Task Force to identify opportunities for State agencies to improve the health of Californians while advancing sustainability goals, including protecting agricultural lands, improving infrastructure systems, and planning sustainable communities. The California Department of Public Health facilitates the HiAP Task Force, which includes participants from 18 State agencies. In December 2010, the Task Force released recommendations to promote healthy communities and healthy public policies. Many of these recommendations address factors related to obesity prevention, including active transportation and other opportunities for physical activity, and improving access to healthy, affordable foods. I encourage you to take a look at the Task Force’s recommendations, which are available at http://www.sgc.ca.gov/workgroups/hiap.html, as well as to join me at the Conference mini-plenary on Health in All Policies.


See you in June,


Linda Rudolph, MD, MPH

Deputy Director, Center for Chronic Disease Prevention & Health Promotion

California Department of Public Health



1 First International Conference on Health Promotion, The Ottawa Charter for Health Promotion, (Ottawa: World Health Organization, November 1986), http://www.who.int/healthpromotion/conferences/...



Create a Healthy City: Policy Strategies to Reverse the Obesity Epidemic

1/7/2011 | Childhood Obesity Conference


Heal Cities ImageCity leaders can play a major role in reversing the obesity epidemic by advancing policies that improve the health of residents.


In California, the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) Cities campaign offers resources and support for elected officials and city staff in developing and implementing policies that increase access to nutritious foods and promote physical activity. The campaign has helped cities prioritize funding for developing and maintaining parks and recreation facilities; partner with schools to host farmers’ markets on school grounds; and establish wellness committees to assess nutrition in the workplace and incorporate exercise breaks into the workday.


The HEAL Cities campaign recommends these policy options for cities:


  • Update the city’s general plan
    Establishing goals and policies that address the built environment in the general plan is an enduring way to increase resident access to healthy food and routine physical activity.
  • Adopt zoning ordinances
    Zoning ordinances can assure venues for produce sales in underserved neighborhoods, promote walking and biking, and create lively destinations within a city.
  • Create incentives to increase the availability of healthy food in all city neighborhoods
    Cities have powerful planning and economic development tools that can be directed toward grocery store development, corner store conversion, farmers markets and community gardens.
  • Address the health of your city workforce
    Keeping the workforce and their families healthy can increase productivity and decrease chronic disease and its attendant costs.


At the 2011 Childhood Obesity Conference, sessions in Agriculture and Food Systems; Built Environment, Land Use, and Transportation; and Community Nutrition and Physical Activity will address policy change strategies that improve cities and counties.


A full list of the policies recommended by the HEAL Cities campaign and additional resources are available online at www.HealCitiesCampaign.org. The campaign, funded by Kaiser Permanente and the Vitamin Cases Consumer Settlement Fund, is a partnership of the League of California Cities, the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, and the Cities, Counties and Schools Partnership.


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