What Can You Do To Prevent Childhood Obesity?

Trust for America’s Health’s The State of Obesity offers some sobering facts about obesity and overweight rates among adults. In 2012, 34.9% of adults were obese, with an additional 33.6% overweight. For those individuals, there are significant risks associated with these conditions. In addition, being overweight or obese can be symptomatic of broader lifestyle choices, such as being too sedentary or eating a poor diet. Losing weight by changing these lifestyle choices is usually paramount to improving one’s health.

However, as almost anyone who has tried to lose weight can attest, it is not a simple matter to change lifestyles. Personal willpower often needs to be bolstered with the support of a network. Many adults who try to lose weight will enlist friends who want to lose weight together, or family members to encourage a household change in activity level and food choices.

There is no need for that network to stop there. Communities, businesses especially, have their own stake in improving the health of citizens. A 2009 article in Health Affairs estimated that obesity in the United States was responsible for $147 billion in costs per year. Not only do healthier citizens result in a healthier community, they result in a healthier workforce.

Over the past two years, the U.S Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center have produced two research reports, Navigating Obesity, and Aligning Communities, that addresses how that network can be built, and the role that different community stakeholders, such as businesses, government agencies, and nonprofits play in its development.

As part of our organizations’ partnership to create healthier communities, and to help combat obesity in communities, Trust for America’s Health, The Anthem Foundation, and The U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation have worked together to create an informative and helpful infographic, What Can You Do To prevent Childhood Obesity?, embedded below.  

The infographic offers 43 different strategies for eight different groups of stakeholders. It is a great place to start developing the plans necessary for your organization to play a role in improving community health, particularly around weight management and obesity. There is something for every community group to accomplish, from supporting access to healthy foods to advocating for healthy environments. If all of the stakeholders included in the infographic work together towards the common goal of improving community health, we can help improve the lives of individuals and lower medical costs for everyone.