Tamping Down Childhood Obesity

  • Medicine & Health
  • 2007

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, America’s third-largest private grantmaker, with a strong focus on health issues, announced a half-billion-dollar commitment in 2007 to research how fast-rising childhood obesity could be slowed through improved diet and exercise. As their campaign wound down, child obesity wasn’t rising fast any more; in fact it had begun to decline among younger children—from 14 percent of all two- to five-year-olds in 2004 to 8 percent in 2012. Buoyed by that progress, the foundation announced an additional $500 million commitment in 2015, bringing its total spending to a billion dollars. The next phase of the effort will emphasize educating parents on the advantages of a healthy diet, with a particular emphasis on poor and minority families, where obesity is commonest. More exercise, improved nutritional content in school lunches, calorie reduction in snacks and drinks, and similar efforts will be supported by foundation grants.