To reverse the obesity epidemic, community efforts should focus on supporting healthy eating and active living in a variety of settings. Learn about different efforts that can be used in early childhood care, hospitals, schools, and food service.
Improving the Early Care and Education (ECE) environment of child care and early education facilities may directly impact what children consume and how active they are, as well as help them develop a foundation of healthy habits for life.
Salad Bars to Schools is a unique public-private partnership to mobilize and engage stakeholders at the local, state and national level to promote and sponsor salad bars in schools. Helping children develop good eating habits early in life helps maximize academic performance during the school years and promotes wellness throughout their lives.
There are many different programs and policies that can contribute towards the creation of healthy community food environments. These include providing incentives for supermarkets or farmers markets to establish their businesses in underserved areas, placing nutrition and calorie content on restaurant and fast food menus, and implementing and supporting nutrition standards for childcare, schools, hospitals, and worksites.
Hospitals reach a large population of employees, patients and visitors and can have an impact on neighboring communities. This makes them an important setting for obesity prevention efforts.
There are many different types of strategies to increase physical activity in the community. These strategies include point-of-decision prompts to encourage use of paths or trials, individually adapted health behavior change programs, enhanced school-based physical education, and large-scale media campaigns that deliver messages by television, radio, newspaper, and social media. They may also include efforts to increase the places where people can be active, such as opening school facilities to public use and creating walking trails. Some strategies may involve community design changes.
To reverse the obesity epidemic, schools should focus on supporting healthy eating and active living throughout the school day. Learn about different efforts that can be used in the school community
- Encourage children to drink water in place of sugar-sweetened beverages and ensure access to free drinking water as an alternative to sugar-sweetened beverages before, during, and after school.
See Water Access in Schools [PDF-1.80MB]
- Ensure that the available food and beverage options are healthy and help youth eat food that meets dietary recommendations for fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and nonfat or low-fat dairy products.
See Nutrition Standards for Foods in Schools
- Limit foods and drinks with added sugar, fat and salt that can be purchased outside the school lunch program.
See Recommended Nutrition Standards for Foods Outside of School Meal Programs [PDF-1.46MB]
- Use CDC’s School Health Index (SHI), a self-assessment and planning tool, to improve their health and safety policies and programs.
See School Health Index
- Create a Local School Wellness Policy to promote student health and reduce childhood obesity.
See Local School Wellness Policy
- Increase the amount of time that students are being moderately to vigorously physically active during physical education classes.
See Strategies to Improve the Quality of Physical Education [PDF-597KB]
To reverse the obesity epidemic, workplace efforts should focus on supporting healthy eating and active living in their own workplace community. Learn about different efforts that can be used to create a healthy work environment.
- The Worksite Walkability is an audit tool is designed to assess pedestrian facilities, destinations, and surroundings along and near a walking route and identify specific improvements that would make the route more attractive and useful to pedestrians.
- Steps to Wellness: A Guide to Implementing the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans in the Workplace
The Steps to Wellness is a tool kit that helps employers create or expand wellness programs by increasing the physical activity of employees.
- Learn about supporting breastfeeding in the workplace. See Breastfeeding Promotion & Support to find out how Health Care and Employment can support breastfeeding.
- Healthy Food Service Guidelines
Food service guidelines are used to create a food environment in which healthier choices are more available for consumers. These guidelines are used to increase the availability of healthier food and beverages, and to display them more prominently, so that healthier options are more accessible.
- Page last reviewed: March 14, 2017
- Page last updated: March 14, 2017
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