HWTF Solution (program description)
In 2004, the HWTF Commission addressed the growing epidemic of childhood obesity by awarding 21 grants to programs that implement proven, innovative methods of increasing physical activity and improving nutrition choices. Representing an investment of more than $9 million over three years, the grants were designed to effect change in policies, as well as social and physical environments, to encourage healthier lifestyles.
Key Accomplishments (outcomes to date)
- Well over half of the children who reported eating no fruits and vegetables at baseline reported eating at least one serving per day at the end of the program.
- There were decreases in the reported consumption of candy, chips, sweetened drinks and whole milk.
- Most of the childhood obesity grants have developed sustainability plans to continue momentum post-funding.
- During the grant program, grantees generated over $790,000 in additional funding resources.
- Over 400 local policy changes were made related to healthy eating and physical activity as a result of this funding.
Findings from the Childhood Obesity Grants Cohort Study produced by East Carolina University, which followed over 1,300 children, provide evidence of the program’s impact. At the end of three years:
- 90% of children either improved or maintained their Body Mass Index (BMI) category
- 35% of overweight lowered their category
- 16% of obese lowered their category
- 38% (or over one-third) of participants increased the number of days/week they are physically active.
In the HWTF grant cohort, obesity prevalence remained stable. The study demonstrated that, with a relatively small investment, interventions were able to prevent the expected increase in childhood obesity that has been observed nationally.