FAQs for High Obesity Program Funding

This page addresses questions regarding the CDC-RFA-DP-23-0013 Notice of Funding Opportunity (NOFO): High Obesity Program (HOP) notice of funding opportunity (NOFO).

Q. If we are proposing to work with an organization with multiple facilities (e.g., schools or health department units), can we get an MOA and/or letters of support from the parent organization (e.g., Arkansas Department of Health or Arkansas Department of Education)?

A. Yes.

Q. We need some clarification on including the Data Management Plan (DMP). Is the full DMP meant to be a part of the 20 page Narrative or are we supposed to wait until the first 6 months, as mentioned in the NOFO?

A. A Data Management Plan is not required for the application. Post award, CDC will work with the recipient to determine if a DMP is deemed required.

Q. Should the letters of support/documentation of coordination come from current partners or from potential partners in the counties that we are proposing? In a previous grant, we were asked to include letters of support (similar to other grants). Are we allowed to submit those letters of support or are we limited to just 2?

A. Letters of Support should be submitted for all partners. There is no limit on the number of letters of support included with the application.

Q. Do we need an MOA/letter of support from ALL proposed partners identified–even in new counties / counties we plan to partner with in Years 2-5?

A. Yes.

Q. Do you need letters from lead agents in all proposed counties, or do we simply list them in the proposal?

A. You can identify and list them in the Project Management Structure and Staff component of your proposal (see page 35 of 56).

Q. You require a health assessment, which typically is used by a coalition in discussions about specific PSE targeted to address needs and priorities arising from the assessment. Given that, when you say the proposal should discuss “strategies,” are you referring to our general approach or something more specific, such as a policy change strategy the community agrees to undertake? Are you asking that we specify which general PSE we are focusing on (e.g., nutrition or built environment)?

A. For this NOFO, the term strategy refers to nutrition, physical activity, Early Care and Education, and Family Healthy Weight Programs. The health assessment should help provide context and data to support the activities grounded in policy, system and environmental (PSE) approaches for each strategy.

Q. Does the requirement to collaborate with other existing or future CDC-funded programs include programs that are currently applying for CDC funding OR programs that have been notified they were awarded funding but have not received it yet?

A. The intent is that you collaborate with CDC-funded programs in your selected geographic areas within the state to complement that work. Your collaborators could be either programs that have been notified that they were awarded funding but have not received it yet or programs that are currently receiving CDC funds.

Q. Can the font on the work plan be smaller than 12 points?

A. No. As noted in the NOFO, unless specified in the “H. Other Information” section, the application narrative must be a maximum of 20 pages, single-spaced, 12-point font, with 1-inch margins, and all pages numbered. This includes the work plan. Content beyond the specified page number will not be reviewed.

Q. The NOFO states the work plan should be one document with a specific file name and the project narrative is another document with a specific file name. Do both documents get uploaded separately or together?

A. The work plan and narrative files should be uploaded separately. However, note that the work plan is part of the narrative 20-page limit and should be page numbered accordingly. The work plan also needs to be single-spaced, 12-point font, with 1-inch margins.

Q. Can funds be used to purchase equipment to support active transportation – as identified by local communities – such as bicycle racks, repair stations, etc.? Is equipment for purchase considered anything over $5K or another limit?

A. In general, funds cannot be used to purchase equipment such as bike racks, playground equipment etc. Recipients should leverage the resources of their partners for such items. Funds may be used to purchase such items for the planning and design of pop-ups and demonstration projects. CDC will work with recipients to finalize budgets and work plans.

Q. Can computers for staff be purchased with HOP funds?

A. You may include administrative needs, such as computers, in the budget narrative of your application. Post-award, CDC will work with recipients to finalize budget and workplan.

Q. Can participant costs and/or stipends for community partners be built into the budget?

A. Compensation proposed for community partners’ time and effort on the proposed work of the NOFO, as applicable, can be included in the budget narrative of your application. Post-award, CDC will work with recipients to finalize the budget and work plan.

Q. Page 9 of the NOFO lists participant incentives for active transit. Is the cost of incentives for individuals to participate in a bike benefits program considered an allowable expense?

A. No. Incentives for active transportation projects refer to administrative procedures that prioritize investments in active transportation projects as part of Statewide Transportation Improvement Programs or the Transportation Improvement Program, at the metropolitan regional level. Please refer to page 54 of 56 for the complete definition.

Q. Do you want budgets for each county in addition to an overall budget?

A. No. Budget is for the proposed project overall.

Q. Our team has started to establish a strong implementation plan for the Family Healthy Weight Program to be conducted across 10 counties. We would need to hire someone to actually deliver the program for children ages 2-5. We also would want to offer incentives for participants and purchase any teaching materials. Are these allowable costs for our new grant submission?

A. Year 1 is intended for planning for the Family Healthy Weight Program (FHWP) (e.g., staff time to conduct assessments, partnership engagement, etc.). If the applicant has already completed appropriate planning, then startup costs such as staffing related to program delivery; licensing fees and training; program delivery costs, such as program materials and supplies; and program support costs, such as removing barriers to participation like transportation are allowable.

In areas where any programs are reimbursable (e.g., through Medicaid), the program cannot be reimbursed for the same participant both through Medicaid and cooperative agreement funds.

Incentives for participant participation in the FHWP are not a permissible expense under this NOFO; however, you may partner with other organizations for them to offer participation incentives. Additional guidance will be provided to recipients after the awards are made and recipients will work with their Project Officer to determine appropriate expenditures.

Q. Are tribal nations eligible for this funding opportunity?

A. This funding opportunity is limited to those listed and described in the Eligibility Information section on page 20 of 56.

NOTE: There is an error on page 9, in the Strategies and Activities section. “Once the strategies are implemented in the initial local areas identified by the applicant, additional local areas or counties with obesity prevalence ≥ 40% may be addressed in subsequent years.” The sentence should read: “Once the strategies are implemented in the initial local areas identified by the applicant, additional local areas or counties with obesity prevalence greater than 40% may be addressed in subsequent years.”

Q. How was eligibility determined? How were the counties with an adult obesity prevalence of more than 40% determined?

A. Eligible applicants are land grant universities that have counties in their state with an adult obesity prevalence over 40%.The list of counties with an adult obesity prevalence of more than 40% are estimates from CDC PLACES using the Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System, CDC, 2020. Small area estimates are derived from methodology described in PLACES: Local Data for Better Health.

Q. We understand how the counties with an adult obesity prevalence of more than 40% were determined, however can we propose another analysis that will show additional eligible counties?

A. No.

Q. Pages 5 and 6 of the NOFO list all strategies as “implement local level policies…” Page 7 (last paragraph) asks us to include levels of influences for strategies with the options including “state” level. Are state-level strategies acceptable?

A. Yes, provided the applicant makes the connection as to how this work would support the implementation of the NOFO work at the local level.

Q. Can a phased approach be used (beyond the needs assessment)? For example, can the project timeline incorporate a pilot and/or ramp up phase prior to expanding to all counties?

A. Yes, a phased approach for implementation can be used.

Q. Do we have to implement all strategies/activities in every county we work in, or do we need to ensure we are using all the required (and any optional) strategies overall (across all participating counties)?

A. The required nutrition and physical activity strategies should be implemented in every county with which you propose to work. The optional early care and education and family healthy weight program strategies may each, or both, be implemented in none, some, or all proposed counties.

Q. Do we need to have the exact priority population and activities for each strategy included in the application? Or can we put who we think we will work with and activities so we can work with our counties in the first year to identify who are the right people and what are the right activities to implement?

A. The application should include proposed identified priority population(s) and proposed activities for each strategy. CDC will work with recipients to refine budget and workplan as appropriate.

Q. Can you have two (.5 FTE) program managers vs. one at full time?

A. Yes, you can have two .5 FTE program managers.

Q. How does DNPAO define “lead cooperative extension staff”?

A. Cooperative Extension staff who have a lead role in the work proposed.

Q. Is a full-time employee required in each county or can 1 FTE cover multiple counties?

A. Staffing plan must include at least one lead cooperative extension staff within each county.  This does not require a full time equivalent per county.

Q. Can we include non-extension faculty as co-PI (principal investigator) or part of the project team?

A. Yes.

Q. Are applicants required to already have existing produce prescription and fruit and vegetable incentive programs?

A. The intent of this NOFO strategy is to have the recipient coordinate the uptake and expansion of fruit and vegetable voucher incentive and produce prescription programs for high-risk community members.  Applicants should have demonstrated engagement with existing food security coalitions, equity task forces, or food policy committees that have collaborated, assessed, and initiated planning to support the proposed work to serve the identified priority population.

Q. Can you provide the definition of “uptake ” in the nutrition strategy which states: Coordinate the uptake and expansion of existing fruit and vegetable voucher incentive and produce prescription programs?

A.  Uptake refers to use of available programs.

Q.   For the nutrition strategy, do recipients have to work on both fruit and vegetable incentive and produce prescription programs?

A. Yes.  Applicants should propose work to address both fruit and vegetable incentive and produce prescription programs. Recipients can choose to expand implementation in different populations and/or at different times during the funding period.

Q. What partnerships are advised for the work to address produce prescription programs?

A.  Proposed activities to increase access to produce prescription programs need to coordinate between key partners such as those who oversee screening and eligibility (e.g., healthcare, community health centers, food assistance benefit agencies), retail partners such as farmers markets, retail stores and/or charitable food venues, and non-governmental organizations.  Please refer to the potential activities section of Priority Nutrition Strategy: Fruit and Vegetable Voucher Incentive and Produce Prescriptions for example partnerships to consider.

Q. The REACH NOFO states that nutrition strategy activities must be coordinated through cross-sector community-level nutrition councils or coalitions. What are examples of how recipients can demonstrate that strategy activities are being coordinated through cross-sector community-level nutrition councils or coalitions?

A.  Examples of evidence that demonstrates coordination with cross-sector councils or coalitions are letters of support, MOUs, or MOAs which describe partner roles and responsibilities or shared resources.

Q. Can funds be used to purchase foods for fruit and vegetable voucher incentive and produce prescription programs? Does this include providing funding to partners to incentivize participants who attend evidence-based healthy lifestyle classes?

A.  No, recipients may not use CDC funds to purchase food for the produce prescription programs, or for the fruit and vegetable incentive programs, nor to provide funding to purchase food to partners to incentivize participants.

Q. Will the NOFO support development or implementation of local or setting-specific nutrition guidelines?

A. The NOFO supports implementation but not development of nutrition guidelines. Please refer to the Priority Nutrition Strategy: Food Service and Nutrition Guidelines for additional implementation information.

Q. What food and nutrition standards should we use for food service guidelines?
A. In settings where food is sold, we recommend using the Food Service Guidelines for Federal Facilities[PDF-3.3MB].  In settings where food is distributed, such as food pantries or food banks, we recommend using the Healthy Eating Research Nutrition Guidelines for the Charitable Food System [PDF-4.1MB].  If you have your own guidelines for food service or the charitable food system, you can continue to use them as long as they align with the current Dietary Guidelines for Americans [PDF-31MB].  However, you may not spend time developing your own guidelines as a part of this funding.

Q. Does a program need to have an official health care prescription component for it to qualify as a produce prescription program under the nutrition strategy? For example, we have some existing local programs in our state that provide food boxes to specific populations (e.g., tribal elders, people with diabetes), but do not currently include a prescription from a health care provider. Would this qualify as a prescription program under the nutrition strategy?

A.  In a produce prescription program, the referring agency must have connection to a health provider, which could include physicians, nurses, social workers, dietitians, community health workers, WIC staff, etc. These providers can, for example, provide a paper referral coupon or voucher but may not be defined as an official prescription.

Q. For the nutrition strategy in particular, what type of community health needs assessment should we conduct?
A.  The needs assessment should include a food systems component that will allow the recipient to identify the food access assets and gaps as well as the unique cultural, linguistic, health, and social needs of their priority populations in their setting.  An example of a community needs assessment is included in the local section of the Priority Nutrition Strategy: Fruit and Vegetable Voucher Incentive and Produce Prescriptions potential activities. Recipients may choose to use another assessment.

Connect with Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity