Tackling Childhood Obesity with Advocacy
Obesity is a complex public health problem that requires multi-faceted solutions, including the need to influence policy. Pediatricians have been an untapped resource in the effort to change local policies to better support the fight against childhood obesity.
NICHQ trained multidisciplinary teams in healthcare organizations in Alabama, Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, New Mexico, North Carolina and Texas to establish baseline advocacy skills and develop implementation plans for spreading the learnings in their communities. After testing the work in these seven sites, we established a robust, interactive, online training module to scale the ability to train healthcare professionals nationwide.
More than 350 participants have participated in advocacy trainings and have gone on to work with legislators, school boards, town and city officials, and other leaders to change the policies that affect communities. Some pressed for better nutrition or physical education standards in schools. Others worked with community coalitions to facilitate changes that will make it easier for kids to be active. Our work has led to:
- children having daily access to fresh fruits and vegetables
- new trails where families can walk and bike together
- community gardens where children proudly take home vegetables they’ve helped to grow
- town-sponsored shuttle buses that help residents get to their local farmers market
With comprehensive curriculum and training development to catalyze change, healthcare professionals are helping their communities grow healthy and active children today, tomorrow and for generations yet to come.