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It Takes a Community to Fight Obesity

The epidemics of obesity and tobacco use are national problems: two-thirds of adults and 1 in 3 children are overweight or obese, and each day 4,000 kids try their first cigarette.

These problems require a national response. That is why I'm excited to share news about a new initiative to reduce chronic disease and promote prevention and wellness: Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW ). The Department of Health and Human Services' Communities Putting Prevention to Work, funded by the American Reinvestment and Recovery Act (ARRA) of 2009, will expand evidence-based strategies, mobilize local resources, and strengthen the capacity of states and communities to promote the power of prevention. The goals are to reduce obesity with increased physical activity and improved nutrition, and reduce tobacco use by helping current smokers quit and preventing kids from starting.

But we cannot do this alone. A CPPW funding opportunity announced last week, invites national organizations as partners to address obesity and tobacco prevention.

The National Organizations component of CPPW is consistent with the First Lady's Let's Move! initiative which calls for public-private partnerships “ state, local and community leaders, parents, teachers, and businesses - to provide schools, families, and communities with simple tools to help kids be more active, eat better, and get healthy.

The availability of $10 million in ARRA funds allows national public or private non-profit organizations to compete for up to $1.5 million to combat obesity and tobacco prevention through:

  1. Sharing expertise with the communities that are funded through other components of CPPW. National Organizations will help funded communities implement policy, systems, and environmental changes. Examples of implementation strategies include: incentives to food retailers to locate/offer healthier choices in underserved areas, healthier choices in child care, schools and worksites, subsidized memberships to recreational facilities, safe routes to school, banning tobacco brand sponsorships of sporting events and evidence-based pricing strategies that discourage tobacco use.
  1. Fostering a national prevention movement by using affiliate networks nation-wide to spearhead new community policy changes.
  1. Enhancing consumer knowledge of obesity and tobacco prevention by expanding the national CPPW media campaign, which will be announced soon.

National organizations have the knowledge, experience and reach to help communities across the nation tackle these hard issues. They will share their expertise and help foster success to demonstrate the power of prevention to the nation.

We hope this funding initiative will help move our country toward a vision of health and wellness for the American people.