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Obesity Prevention Strategies
Obesity continues to impact the quality of life for many Americans across the nation. In Los Angeles County, the average weight of adults and children has increased over the past decade, leading to an increased risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. In addition, obesity-related chronic diseases continue to rank among the top ten leading causes of premature death in Los Angeles County, including coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, colorectal cancer, and high blood pressure. While most population groups are affected by the obesity epidemic, lower-income individuals and communities of color are impacted the most.
Nutrition and physical activity are modifiable risk factors that may reduce the risk of
obesity and developing chronic diseases. In addition, comprehensive approaches are
required to address the underlying causes of obesity and chronic diseases. A shift in
recent years has expanded obesity prevention efforts from interventions that solely target individuals
to a focus on policy, systems and environmental (PSE) changes.
The Nutrition and Physical Activity Program implements the federally funded grant, Champions for
Change Healthy Communities Initiative. We utilize the model below as a
framework to address obesity and chronic diseases. Read more about the Champion for Change and our grantees.
Policy, Systems and Environmental (PSE) Changes
- Policy, Systems and Environmental (PSE) change strategies provide an opportunity to create
environments that support healthy behaviors and increase community members ability to make
the healthy choice, the easy choice. PSE is defined as:
- Policy change written statement at a legislative or organizational level
- Systems change changes made to procedures or rules within an organization
- Environmental change changes made to physical environment
- For more information about PSE, review the California Department of Public Health, Champion Provider Fellowship PSE Playbook Champion Provider Fellowship PSE Playbook.
- Nutrition education and physical activity promotion represent the core components of the Champions for Change grant. Individual level approaches provide an opportunity to increase knowledge and self-efficacy around healthy eating and physical activity.
- Champions for Change grantees utilize evidence-based curricula to teach nutrition education and promote physical activity in classroom settings throughout Los Angeles County.
- Refers to organizations or institutions, such as churches, food pantries, hospitals, and schools. Champions for Change grantees work in a variety of institutions to implement policies that promote healthy eating behaviors. Below is a list of examples:
- Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) - increases access to local, seasonally grown food to community members.
- Farm to Fork - improves local, healthy food access across different sectors.
- Farm to School - improves local, healthy food access in schools through education, school gardens and procurement.
- Gleaning - increases access to food by collecting excess or leftover food from farms, gardens, and grocery stores and redistributes it to those in need.
- School gardens - supports healthy food access for schools and provides opportunities for nutrition education for students.
- Community Gardens supports healthy food access for communities.
- Refers to policies at the city, municipal or community level. Champion for Change grantees work in a variety of settings to implement policies that promote healthy eating and physical activity. Below is a list of examples:
Increasing availability of fruits and vegetables
- Safe Routes to School creates a safe environment for children to increase their physical activity levels by walking or biking to school.
- Vision Zero - creates a safe environment for community members to increase their physical activity levels by eliminating all traffic fatalities.