California Endowment Commits $26 Million to Prevent Childhood Obesity

The Woodland Hills-based California Endowment has announced a commitment of $26 million to a four-year, multi-pronged initiative designed to fight the growing childhood obesity epidemic in the state.

The goals of the "Healthy Eating, Active Communities," initiative include increasing opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating for children and families, particularly in low-income and rural communities, and developing state and national policy changes that reduce the risk factors for diabetes and obesity. To reach these goals, the initiative will target its resources on the marketing and advertising of unhealthy foods to children, the availability of junk foods and sodas in schools, and the lack of availability of healthy foods and access to physical activity in low-income neighborhoods.

To support the initiative, the endowment recently released a $9 million request for applications for local collaborations in five communities across the state. Comprising community-based organizations, school districts, and local public health departments, the collaborations will work to achieve the initiative's objectives by improving food and physical activity environments statewide.

"Attacking obesity requires action across a broad spectrum," said Dr. Robert K. Ross, president and CEO of the endowment. "California's families, schools, communities, and industries must work together to change environments and behaviors for healthier eating and physical activity, thereby decreasing disparities in health status among us."

"The California Endowment Commits $26 Million to Prevent Childhood Obesity." California Endowment Press Release 10/14/2004.