District of Columbia: Fighting Obesity Across the Generations

In 2014, Rockson Community Development Corporation in Washington, DC, received a mini-grant from the District of Columbia Department of Health to help people in Ward 7 be healthier through the Enriching Lives–Building Health Program (ELBHP). Preventive Health and Health Services (PHHS) Block Grant funds were used to pay for ELBHP staff salaries and membership fees to use plant beds in a community garden.

The ELBHP staff know that people participate in healthy activities for different reasons, depending on their age. Children and adolescents might sign up to learn how to make better health choices, battle peer pressure, please their parents, or find something healthy to do during the weekends, after school, or in the summer. Parents and other adults in midlife might try to eat healthier foods, manage their weight, or quit smoking. Grandparents and other older adults might want to manage their weight or a chronic health condition and get more exercise.

ELBHP sponsored many community activities to meet the different needs of children, youth, midlife adults, and older adults. They offered a Jazzercise class,
a coffee-and-conversation club for older adults to talk about living with chronic diseases, a hip-hop dance class for teenagers, and a weekly fitness class that let teens use the sports equipment at a local community center.

Program activities were also designed to benefit the whole family so that people of all ages could share their talents, spend time together, and build relationships. Some of these activities included a walking club, a community garden, healthy recipe cooking classes, and health information booths at community events.

As a result of the ELBHP activities in Ward 7 in 2014, almost 300 people in the community had opportunities to exercise regularly, learn how to cook healthier food, and understand how the food they eat can affect their weight and health. Every day, the PHHS Block Grant is making a difference in the lives of people of all ages in this community.

Story year: 2015

Photo: Adult hip-hop dancing

Hip-hop dance classes for teenagers are among the many activities supported through the Enriching Lives–Building Health Program in Washington, DC.

Page last reviewed: April 17, 2018