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Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition (We Can!®)

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)

We Can!® is a national movement designed to give parents, caregivers, and entire communities a way to help children ages 8 to 13 years old stay at a healthy weight. The We Can!® national education program provides parents and caregivers with tools, fun activities, and more to help encourage healthy eating, increased physical activity, and reduced time sitting in front of the screen (TV or computer) for the entire family. We Can!® also offers organizations, community groups, and health professionals a centralized resource to promote a healthy weight in youth through community outreach, partnership development, and media activities that can be adapted to meet the needs of diverse populations. Science-based educational programs, support materials, training opportunities, and other resources are available to support programming for youth, parents, and families in the community.

This section provides a selection of resources from NIH’s federal partners and is not intended to be a comprehensive list.

Let’s Move!

The White House

Let’s Move! is a comprehensive initiative launched by the First Lady, Michelle Obama, and dedicated to solving the problem of obesity within a generation so that kids born today will grow up healthier and better able to pursue their dreams. Combining comprehensive strategies with common sense, Let’s Move! is about putting children on the path to a healthy future during their earliest months and years. At the launch of the initiative, President Barack Obama signed a Presidential Memorandum creating the first-ever Task Force on Childhood Obesity to conduct a review of programs and policies relating to child nutrition and physical activity, and develop a national action plan to maximize federal resources and set concrete benchmarks toward the First Lady’s national goal. The Task Force recommendations focus on the five pillars of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative: (1) creating a healthy start for children; (2) empowering parents and caregivers; (3) providing healthy food in schools; (4) improving access to healthy, affordable foods; and (5) increasing physical activity.

Healthy People 2020

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP)

Healthy People provides science-based, 10-year national objectives for improving the health of all Americans. For three decades, Healthy People has established benchmarks and monitored progress over time in order to: encourage collaborations across communities and sectors; empower individuals toward making informed health decisions; and measure the impact of prevention activities. Healthy People 2020 continues in this tradition with an ambitious, yet achievable, 10-year agenda that includes several topics including physical activity, nutrition, and weight status.

Surgeon General’s Call to Action to Prevent and Decrease Overweight and Obesity

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office of the Surgeon General

In 2001, the Surgeon General issued a “call to action”—a science-based document to stimulate action nationwide to solve a major public health problem—on obesity. The report outlined strategies that communities can use in helping to address the problem, including daily, quality physical education for all school grades; healthy food options on school campuses and at school events; the availability of community facilities to encourage physical activity; increased research on obesity; and education for providers on prevention and treatment.

Overweight, Obesity, and Weight Loss Fact Sheet from WomensHealth.gov

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Office on Women’s Health (HHS-OWH)

This fact sheet provides information on the causes and health effects of being overweight or obese and discusses treatment options, including eating healthy foods, engaging in physical activity, taking medication, and considering surgery.

National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The DNPAO works to increase health-related physical activity through population-based approaches; improve those aspects of dietary quality most related to chronic disease and unhealthy child development; and decrease the prevalence of obesity through preventing excess weight gain and maintenance of healthy weight loss. DNPAO’s overweight and obesity website offers extensive information and a variety of resources for individuals, families, and communities, including common obesity facts.

Intensive Behavioral Therapy (IBT) for Obesity (PDF - 2.1 MB)

Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS)

CMS recognizes the crucial role that health care providers play in educating Medicare beneficiaries about potentially life-saving preventive services. While Medicare pays for a variety of preventive benefits, many Medicare beneficiaries do not fully realize that using preventive services can help them live longer, healthier lives. Health care professionals can help their Medicare patients understand the importance of disease prevention, early detection, and lifestyle modifications that support a healthier life. This booklet can help providers communicate with their patients about Medicare-covered IBT for obesity.

U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) External Website Policy

Coordinated by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ)

The USPSTF is an independent panel of non-federal experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine and is composed of primary care providers (such as internists, pediatricians, family physicians, gynecologists/obstetricians, nurses, and health behavior specialists). The USPSTF conducts scientific evidence reviews of a broad range of clinical preventive health care services (such as screening, counseling, and preventive medications) and develops recommendations for primary care clinicians and health systems. The USPSTF recommends obesity screening for all adults External Website Policyas well as children 6 years and olderExternal Website Policy

The Guide to Community Preventive Services External Website Policy

Coordinated by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

The Guide to Community Preventive Services is a free resource to help you choose programs and policies to improve health and prevent disease in your community. Systematic reviews are used to answer questions about which program and policy interventions have been proven effective; whether there are effective interventions for your community; and the cost of effective interventions as well as the likely return on investment from these interventions. The Community Guide includes systematic reviews of interventions in the following areas: provider-oriented interventions (e.g. education, reminders) and interventions in community settings (e.g. reducing screen time, technology-based interventions, specific settings).

The Weight of the Nation Documentary Film Series

This four-part documentary series, each featuring case studies, includes interviews with our nation’s leading experts, and individuals and their families struggling with obesity. The series, a presentation of HBO and the Institute of Medicine, was developed in association with the NIH and CDC and in partnership with the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Kaiser Permanente.