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AHA and RWJF Launch New Initiative to Reverse Childhood Obesity by 2015

by Pamela M. on Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) and the American Heart Association (AHA) have announced an ambitious and bold collaboration to reverse the nation’s childhood obesity epidemic by 2015.

In 2007, the RWJF committed $500 million toward its goal of reversing the childhood obesity epidemic by 2015. This remains the largest commitment any foundation has ever made to the issue. Building upon the AHA’s extensive advocacy capacity and experience, and RWJF’s strategic commitment and momentum in addressing the issue, RWJF will provide AHA $8 million in initial funding to create and manage an advocacy initiative focused primarily on changing local, and state policies to help children and adolescents eat healthier foods and become more active.

The currently unnamed initiative begins in February 2013 and presents extraordinary leadership opportunities to save young lives, restore family health, and ultimately improve the quality of life in communities across the United States. Collaboration and cooperation with a diverse array of organizations will be central to success. Under the new initiative, RWJF and the AHA will focus on policy interventions to advance six priorities that research shows are likely to have the greatest impact on childhood obesity.

The AHA will develop the overarching strategy that knits together efforts across all six priorities:

•           improving the nutritional quality of snack foods and beverages in schools;

•           reducing consumption of sugary beverages;

•           protecting children from unhealthy food and beverage marketing;

•           increasing access to affordable healthy foods;

•           increasing access to parks, playgrounds, walking paths, bike lanes and other opportunities to be physically active; and

•           helping schools and youth-serving programs increase children’s physical activity levels.

As part of this initiative, RWJF and the AHA are committed to reaching communities hardest hit by the epidemic, including communities of color and lower-income communities.

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