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 Schoolsexternal icon 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.
Physical Activity Community Strategies
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.
Digital Health Interventions
The Community Preventive Services Task Force (CPSTF) recommends evidence-based digital health and telephone interventions in community settingsexternal icon, worksitesexternal icon, and institutions of higher educationexternal icon to increase healthy eating and physical activity among adults who want to improve these behaviors.
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 icon[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 Schoolsexternal icon
- 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 icon[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.
- Worksite Physical Activity: A worksite wellness program that includes a physical activity component can help maintain a healthier workforce. Worksites can encourage physical activity through a multicomponent approach of offering management support, physical access to opportunities, policies, and social support programs.
- 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 pdf icon[PDF-161KB] 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.
- Adult Obesity Facts: Statistics on prevalence across states and regions
- Childhood Obesity Facts: Obesity rates among children in the United States