Childhood Obesity

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Building upon the Community Foundation’s work on the Greenways Initiative and The Great Outdoors Initiative, the Foundation began to identify opportunities to more specifically address the epidemic of childhood obesity in our region. The Community Foundation invested in several programs and outreach strategies within schools, hospitals, public health agencies, public television and radio and other nonprofit organizations that were addressing many of the risk factors that lead to childhood obesity. The Foundation has supported programs that increased physical activity during the school day, created more access to fresh produce and other healthy foods and linked families to healthy resources through programs such as Detroit Public Television’s “Get Up, Get Out.”

The Community Foundation also convened a learning series in conjunction with the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health that brought together representatives of more than 60 nonprofit organizations in the region and experts from across the country. The Healthy Children, Healthy Communities learning series identified specific strategies and interventions directed at reducing and preventing childhood obesity. The focus areas included promoting physical activity and healthy eating in children and families; changing school environments to increase physical activity and healthy eating; and regional and community approaches to increase physical activity and healthy eating. The learning series is available as a free Web course through the Michigan Public Health Training Center. To register, individuals can go to, then click on “Courses” in the top menubar. Scroll down to “Healthy Children, Healthy Communities: a Learning Series on Childhood Obesity.”  

As the Community Foundation has learned from the experts, we can all do something to address the issue of childhood obesity rather than being consumed by the daunting statistics --whether it is changing our activity levels or changing school policies to limit sugary snacks and beverages or simply spreading the word about how to create healthier lifestyles.

Some examples of our investment in addressing childhood obesity include the following: Model Programs

Henry Ford Health System $100,000 Funding to support a partnership between Henry Ford’s Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention (CHPDP) and City Year Detroit to establish obesity prevention programs in five Detroit public schools. This program promoted proper nutrition and physical activity among students. The CHPDP and City Year Detroit worked with school personnel, parents, students and other community members to form Coordinated School Health Teams in each of the five schools.

Chelsea Community Hospital $120,900 Funding for Move Forward! Healthy Choices for Kids and Families, a comprehensive program to promote proper nutrition and physical activity for Kindergarten through fifth-grade students at elementary schools in Chelsea, Michigan. Move Forward! engaged students in intensive and wide-ranging activities focusing on enhancing personal health. The comprehensive program included components relating to physical activity, food choices, classroom curriculum and family support.

University of Michigan $72,000 Funding to expand Project Healthy Schools, a middle-school based obesity prevention program. This project involved sixth grade students and their teachers at middle schools in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Activities included health monitoring and screening, distribution of pedometers, classroom curriculum geared towards behavior change, and pre and post activity surveys.

Eisenhower Dance Ensemble $44,700 Funding to support an obesity prevention program using dance as an intervention. The project featured a collaborative relationship between Eisenhower Dance Ensemble, Beaumont Hospital and Pontiac School District.

Detroit Science Center $100,000 Funding to support the creation of permanent exhibits and programming to combat childhood obesity

Boys and Girls Clubs of Southeast Michigan $45,330 Funding to support a program to promote healthy lifestyles among youth. Programs were run in all locations of the Boys&Girls Clubs of Southeast Michigan.

Community Education and Planning

City of Detroit – Department of Health and Wellness Promotion $5,000 Funding to promote community education and discussion regarding childhood obesity and potential plans of action.

Washtenaw County - Department of Public Health $5,000 Funding to promote community education and discussion regarding childhood obesity and potential plans of action.

Macomb County – Department of Public Health $5,000 Funding to promote community education and discussion regarding childhood obesity and potential plans of action.

University of Michigan- School of Public Health $66,225 Funding to support development of curriculum for an obesity prevention and outdoor education seminar series in southeast Michigan

Broad Community Outreach

University of Michigan- Michigan Radio $50,000 Funding to support a 12-part series of radio broadcasts regarding physical fitness and proper nutrition for children. The stories focus on individuals and programs in southeast Michigan; however, the broadcasts were heard throughout the state.

Detroit Public Television $10,000 Funding to support a weekly television show entitled “Get Up, Get Out”, which highlights activities in the metropolitan area that families can engage in with their children outdoors. Funding specifically supported the inclusion of information regarding proper nutrition and physical fitness for children.

Final version of report regarding obesity seminar series.pdf248.3 KB
Health Children-Healthy Communities-Web Course Info.pdf969.5 KB
Childhood_Obesity_Web_Course.pdf43.94 KB
CO_Resources.pdf90.01 KB
Resource_List.pdf111.37 KB
Childhood_Obesity_Resources.pdf22.69 KB