The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has announced a pledge of $500 million over ten years to expand efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States.
Building on an earlier $500 million commitment made in 2007, the foundation will work to address health disparities that have contributed to high rates of childhood obesity, with a renewed focus on populations hardest hit by the epidemic, including children of color and children living in poverty. Despite recent data which shows that, after decades of increases, childhood obesity rates have begun to level off, more than a third of young people in the U.S. are overweight or obese and rates among African-American and Latino youth remain higher than those for their white peers.
With the commitment, the foundation will expand its efforts to engage parents, youth, and healthcare providers to prevent obesity in early childhood by reducing consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages; ensure a healthy school environment and daily physical activity for all children and youth; and make healthy foods and drinks affordable, available, and the desired choice in all neighborhoods and communities.
"By 2025, we want to ensure that children in America grow up at a healthy weight, no matter who they are or where they live," said RWJF president and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey. "We have made substantial progress, but there is far more to do and we can't stop now. This commitment is part of the foundation's effort to build a Culture of Health in every community across the country. We all have a role to play in our homes, schools, and neighborhoods to ensure that all kids have healthy food and safe places to play."