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Preventing Chronic Diseases, Improving the Public’s Health

Woman holding bag of groceriesFollowing substantial increases in obesity over the last few decades, about one-third of adults and 17% of children are obese. Obesity places individuals at risk for many diseases including diabetes, heart disease, and certain cancers and has a large impact on the U.S. economy with approximately $147 billion in annual health care costs. DNPAO supports healthy eating, active living, and obesity prevention by creating healthy options in our nation’s child care centers, schools, worksites, cities, and communities

Partnerships with state, local, territorial and tribal health departments, private enterprise, non-profit organizations, health care professionals and coordination with other federal agencies extend our work and reinforce consistent public health recommendations and promising practices.


CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO) addresses three important risk factors for illness, disability, and premature death.

  • Improve dietary quality to support healthy child development and reduce chronic disease
  • Increase physical activity for people of all ages
  • Decrease prevalence of obesity through prevention of weight gain and maintenance of healthy weight

DNPAO Core Functions

  • Leadership of strategic public health efforts
  • Surveillance
  • Policy analysis and planning
  • Applied Research
  • Program development and technical assistance
  • Promoting evidence-based practice
  • Evaluation
  • Partnerships
  • Training
  • Communication and media relations

Healthy People in Healthy Places

Young girl holding basket of vegetablesDNPAO promotes healthy food and activity choices through environments that ensure the availability of free, good-tasting water, safe locations for physical activity, and healthier foods including affordable fruits and vegetables. Additionally, DNPAO promotes breastfeeding and helps reduce vitamin and mineral deficiencies that affect nearly one-third of the world’s population.

Disparities in physical activity, nutrition and obesity are well documented, and DNPAO works to achieve optimal health for all population groups including those most impacted by chronic diseases.

DNPAO Priorities

DNPAO strives to provide an environment where more people will eat healthy foods and be physically active at every age in the following settings:

  • Healthier food retail outlets in more places for more people
  • Adoption of nutrition and physical activity standards in schools and child care centers
  • Healthier choices in work places and public facilities through food service, vending and concession guidelines
  • Maternity care practices and work place policies that support breastfeeding
  • Increased activity levels by promoting safe and convenient options for physical activity
  • Community and residential planning that supports healthy choices

Division Leadership

  • Janet Collins, PhD, Division Director
  • Ann O’Connor, MPH, Deputy Director (Acting)
  • Deborah Galuska, PhD, Assoc. Director of Science
  • Kevin Ryan, Assoc. Director of Policy, Partnership and Communication
  • Rosanne Farris, PhD, Program Development and Evaluation Branch Chief
  • Capt. Laurence Grummer-Strawn, PhD, Nutrition Branch Chief
  • Joan Dorn, PhD, Physical Activity and Health Branch Chief
  • Capt. Heidi Blanck, PhD, Obesity Prevention and Control Branch Chief


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  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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    Atlanta, GA 30333
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