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Form a Committee

Forming a committee is a great way to delegate tasks and develop a more comprehensive obesity prevention and control program. Keep the committee size manageable–ideally, three to ten employees, depending on the size of your organization and the scope of the program or activities. This number is small enough to allow meaningful participation by each person, but large enough to generate lots of ideas and provide a variety of skills.33, 34

Determine Functions of the Committee

The purpose of this committee is to develop, guide, and enhance the work life of employees by fostering support for healthy nutrition and physical activity practices. The planning committee serves several purposes in steering the organization's obesity prevention and control program–

  • Develop, guide, and oversee the program.
  • Identify employees' interests.
  • Motivate employees to participate.
  • Keep management excited about the organization's efforts.
  • Discuss potential program components and deciding what activities to include.

Identify Roles and Assign Responsibilities

photo of a meetingOne member of the committee should be identified as the team coordinator. Ideally, this person—

  • Demonstrates solid leadership skills.
  • Understands the committee's mission and can persuasively talk about the program to the newest employee as well as senior management.
  • Supports healthy nutrition and physical activity practices.
  • Works well with a diverse group of people.
  • Motivates and mentors others.
  • Assigns clear responsibilities to each member and identifies next steps.
Having an organized approach and clearly defined roles helps ensure that no one person is overburdened and that everyone maintains enthusiasm. Effective committees have members from all levels of the organization. Potential team members can include the following:
  • Senior and mid-level managers.
  • Staff that represents various employee shifts.
  • Front-line employees.
  • Benefits managers.
  • Union representatives.
  • Human resources personnel.
  • Administrative assistants.
  • Marketing and communications directors.
  • Safety coordinators.
  • Information systems representatives.
  • Health care representatives.

Use the Sample Committee Invitation (DOC-40k) to recruit potential committee members.

Your committee may initially want to meet weekly, then monthly as programs are established. Scheduling will need to be flexible, but all teams should meet at least once each quarter. Everyone should leave meetings with a clear idea of what's expected of them.
 
Use the obesity prevention Committee Checklist (DOC-28k) to guide you through this step.

Additional Resources

Sample 2010 Planning Structures (PDF-176k)
The section of the Healthy People 2010 Toolkit on pages 13–14 provides diagrams of planning structures, including state agency steering groups, advisory boards, support teams, and work groups. 

Eat Smart Move More: Committee Workbook*
The Committee Workbook contains step-by-step instructions for setting up a worksite wellness committee, including sample meeting agendas, employee and worksite surveys, and informational posters and letters.

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