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About Us

Our vision – a world where regular physical activity, good nutrition, and healthy weight are part of everyone's life.

Our mission –– to lead strategic public health efforts to prevent and control obesity, chronic disease, and other health conditions through regular physical activity and good nutrition.

Our goals:

  • Increase health-related physical activity through population-based approaches.
  • Improve those aspects of dietary quality most related to the population burden of chronic disease and unhealthy child development.
  • Decrease prevalence of obesity through preventing excess weight gain and maintenance of healthy weight loss.

Our Work

With fiscal year (FY) 2008 funding of $38 million, CDC's DNPAO is working to reduce obesity and obesity-related diseases. This is done through state programs, research, surveillance, training, intervention development and evaluation, leadership, policy and environmental change, communication and social marketing, and partnership development. See At A Glance 2010 for more.

Supporting State Programs

The Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Program (NPAO) is a cooperative agreement between the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) and 23 state health departments. The program goal is to prevent and control obesity and other chronic diseases through healthful eating and physical activity. The state program will develop strategies to leverage resources and coordinate statewide efforts with multiple partners to address all of the following DNPAO principal target areas:

  1. Increase physical activity.
  2. Increase the consumption of fruits and vegetables.
  3. Decrease the consumption of sugar sweetened beverages.
  4. Increase breastfeeding initiation, duration and exclusivity.
  5. Reduce the consumption of high energy dense foods.
  6. Decrease television viewing.

Our Research

DNPAO supports research to enhance the effectiveness of physical activity and nutrition programs. Topics of these research activities include:

  • the effectiveness of parent-focused strategies to reduce the time children spend watching television
  • the influences of the home environment on sugar-sweetened beverage consumption
  • the use of policy interventions to promote physical activity
  • the effectiveness of breastfeeding interventions in various settings.

Published Research

Bibliography of manuscripts published with DNPAO staff as authors.

For more, see Publications.

Other Activities

Translating Research into Practice
CDC's DNPAO translates the results of research for practitioners and the lay public. For example, our Research to Practice Series helps health professionals stay abreast of the emerging science in nutrition, physical activity and obesity. This series provides an overview of the science on a specific topic that includes implications for public health practice. Some installments include a tool geared to a lay audience which can be used by health professionals in practice to explain concepts correctly and provide practical tips on implementing suggested strategies. Another example of how CDC translates research into practice is The CDC Guide to Breastfeeding, which helps practitioners select effective breastfeeding interventions.

Promoting Worksite Health
To identify strategies that worksites can use to prevent and control obesity among their employees, CDC's DNPAO is conducting systematic literature reviews, evaluating current programs, and conducting demonstration projects at CDC work sites. Data collected are being translated into products that employers can use to design their own programs (e.g., an interactive Web-based tool).

Helping Develop Physical Activity Guidelines
Evidence-based guidelines for physical activity for youth, adults, and older adults are being developed by Department of Health and Human Services. Partners on this project include CDC's DNPAO , the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and DHHS' Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. CDC's DNPAO led the literature review, which provides the scientific basis for the development of the guidelines.

Monitoring Nutritional Status
Through its Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System (PedNSS) and Pregnancy Nutrition Surveillance System (PNSS), CDC's DNPAO facilitates the collection, analysis, and interpretation of key indicators of child nutritional status and behavioral and nutritional risk factors for low-income pregnant women. An interactive Web site trains health professionals to use these systems.

Promoting Fruit and Vegetable Consumption
CDC is the lead federal agency and health authority for The National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance (NFVA) and works with partners and state coordinators to promote increased fruit and vegetable consumption. As a partner in the National Fruit and Vegetable Alliance, DNPAO collaborated with public and private partners to launch the new Fruits & Veggies – More Matters® brand, and continues to promote the brand and messages. CDC's fruit and vegetable Web site,, features new consumer information, recipes and health professional materials. DNPAO also works in the areas of fruit and vegetable research and monitoring of fruit and vegetable consumption.

Encouraging Global Collaboration
CDC's DNPAO World Health Organization Collaborating Center for Physical Activity and Health Promotion provides global and regional leadership in building capacity for evidence-based public health practice and research related to physical activity and health.

CDC's International Micronutrient Malnutrition Prevention and Control Program (IMMPaCt) helps countries build their national capacity to eliminate micronutrient deficiencies. IMMPaCt works with partners such as the United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF), the World Health Organization (WHO), the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), and others. IMMPaCt's support of these efforts includes both funding for and technical expertise in developing surveillance systems to monitor the impact of interventions. In addition, IMMPaCt supports the Flour Fortification Initiative, an effort to create global acceptance for fortifying flour with iron, folic acid, and other micronutrients.

Improving Breastfeeding
CDC DNPAO's approach focuses on policy and environmental change, particularly in maternity care settings as well as other evidence-based strategies. Toward this goal, CDC's DNPAO synthesizes and disseminates evidence, expands the knowledge base through research, and partners with others both within CDC and nationwide in the public and private sectors. CDC DNPAO's breastfeeding work includes monitoring progress on the five Healthy People 2010 breastfeeding objectives via the CDC National Immunization Survey (NIS); creating and disseminating the annual Breastfeeding Report Card, conducting the national census of Maternity Practices in Infant Nutrition and Care, known as the mPINC survey; supporting State Breastfeeding Coalitions; researching determinants and outcomes of feeding decisions via the longitudinal Infant Feeding Practices Study (IFPS); and assisting partners through publications such as the CDC Guide to Breastfeeding Interventions. CDC is a Federal partner on the US Breastfeeding Committee (USBC) and the Federal Breastfeeding Promotion Consortium.
For more information, visit our Breastfeeding Web site.

Organization Chart

Office of the Director oversees the Nutrition Branch, the Physical Activity and Health Branch, the Obesity Prevention and Control Branch, and the Program Development and Evaluation Branch

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