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Healthy Weight, Healthy People, Healthy Communities

Paths to Healthy Weight (Agency for Healthcare Research & Quality Innovations Exchange) 

  • Innovations Worth Scaling Up to Help People Scale Down
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Obesity is a long-recognized and fast-growing public health issue in the United States, with serious health and economic consequences. Reversing the trend is a national priority. Underserved people and communities, including racial and ethnic minority populations, are both at greater risk for obesity and more likely to experience its health and economic impact.

Collaborate for Healthy Weight

Prevention Center for Healthy Weight

The Prevention Center for Healthy Weight is a nationwide effort focused on the prevention and treatment of childhood and adult obesity. Funded by a $5 million cooperative agreement awarded September 2010 to the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality Go to exit disclaimer., which is working with HRSA and a consortium of organizations. The Prevention Center’s mission is to work with communities to promote positive primary care, public health and individual change to reverse the obesity epidemic facing our Nation. 

The Prevention Center also will manage the Healthy Weight Collaborative Go to exit disclaimer., a national effort to develop and share evidence-based and promising community-based and clinical interventions to prevent and treat obesity for children and families. 

At least 50 teams from across the Nation will participate in the Collaborative, working to expand obesity treatment and prevention efforts beyond the walls of a clinician’s office and into the community. 

The teams will work with States, tribes and other interested groups to develop practical approaches that link primary care, public health and communities to prevent and treat obesity for children and families.

Using established quality improvement methods, the Prevention Center for Healthy Weight will provide training and technical assistance to the teams.

Health Centers

HRSA-supported health centers provide primary health care on a sliding fee scale to people, regardless of their ability to pay. They help patients manage diabetes, high blood pressure and other diseases and conditions associated with overweight. HRSA partners with the National Institutes of Health to use NIH's We Can! ™ program in health centers and prevent overweight among youth age 8 to 13.

Health centers have also developed their own programs focused on preventing childhood obesity, such Fit-4-Life, which provides nutrition education and promotes physical activity for the youngest patients -- birth to age 3 -- at the Urban Health Plan in New York. Learn more on page 3: Urban Health Beat (PDF - 443 KB) Go to exit disclaimer.

Rural Health Outreach

Rural Health Care Services Outreach grantees have developed  strategies to address obesity, including individual and family education, fitness programs, clinical interventions and social marketing campaigns focused on preventing childhood obesity. Learn more about the Rural Health Care Services Outreach grant program.

Maternal and Child Health

The Maternal and Child Health Block Grant provides funds to U.S. States and territories to improve the health of all mothers, children, and their families. More than half of the States and territories (34 of 59) identify reducing obesity and overweight as a priority need. The percentage of children, ages 2 to 5 years, receiving WIC (Women, Infant and Children) services with a Body Mass Index (BMI) at or above the 85th percentile is one of 18 performance measures used to track progress towards achieving goals. See the data for any or all States and territories since 2004: National Performance Measures Multi-Year Report.

Training Programs in Nutrition grants promote public health nutrition for children, adolescents, women, and families by providing graduate training to nutritionists and registered dietitians. See funded projects.

Employer Toolkit provides large employers with information, practical strategies and comprehensive analysis of the childhood obesity epidemic in terms of health consequences and costs. Developed with HRSA support, the toolkit provides strategies and solutions for employers and parents that speak to the problem of healthy weight management: Reducing Child & Adolescent Obesity — Addressing Healthy Weight For Employees and Their Children Go to exit disclaimer..

Bright Futures is a national health promotion and disease prevention initiative that addresses children's health needs in the context of family and community. Health care providers, parents and policymakers alike use the guidelines to help them improve and maintain the health of children, adolescents and women.

For Children and Adolescents

For Women

Date Last Reviewed:  May 2017

By the Numbers

U.S. Adults: Most Are Overweight
(age 20 and older)

Adults Obesity Rates

source: 2006 estimates from Prevalence of overweight, obesity and extreme obesity among adults

U.S. Children: Increasingly Obese

Children Obesity Rate Increase

source: 2008 estimates from Prevalence of Obesity Among Children and Adolescents

TXT4Tots Library: Messages for Better Health

TXT4Tots is a library of short, evidence-based messages in English and Spanish. Messages are targeted to parents and caregivers of children between 1 and 5 years old and focus on nutrition and physical activity.  More>>

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We Can! Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition.