New Report Highlights Efforts of Six Cities to Combat Childhood Obesity

May 3, 2010

Gregory Minchak (NLC)

Amanda Straub (NLC)

Amy Vogt (AASA)

Washington, D.C. – As the country’s childhood obesity epidemic poses dire implications for the health and well-being of children, families and communities, city and school district leaders are in a prime position to find solutions. A new report from the National League of Cities (NLC) Institute for Youth, Education, and Families and the American Association of School Administrators (AASA) highlights city-school teams for their successes in developing local wellness strategies to prevent childhood obesity.

Community Wellness: Comprehensive City-School Strategies to Reduce Childhood Obesity highlights six school district/city initiatives, which include efforts to design more walkable cities, improve access to healthy foods and promote physical activity. The cities include Charleston, S.C.; Jackson, Tenn.; La Mesa, Calif.; Oakland, Calif.; San Antonio, Texas; and Savannah, Ga.

The stories featured in the report derive from these city and school district officials’ participation in a technical assistance initiative sponsored by NLC and AASA. The initiative and report were funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation through its Leadership for Healthy Communities national program.

The project was designed to help cities use federally-mandated school wellness policies as the launch pad for the development of broader community wellness plans. It has helped create new opportunities for municipal and school leadership to engage in a dialogue about how to build on new and existing wellness plans and policies.

Leadership for Healthy Communities is a $10 million national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation that supports state and local government leaders in efforts to reduce childhood obesity through public policies that promote active living, healthy eating and access to healthy foods.

The American Association of School Administrators, founded in 1865, is the professional organization for more than 13,000 educational leaders in the United States and throughout the world. AASA’s mission is to support and develop effective school system leaders who are dedicated to the highest quality public education for all children.

The National League of Cities is the nation’s oldest and largest organization devoted to strengthening and promoting cities as centers of opportunity, leadership and governance. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.