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Help Americans Achieve and Maintain Healthy Weight

Today, about two-thirds of adults and one-third of children in the United States are overweight or obese, increasing their risk for chronic diseases, including heart disease, type 2 diabetes, certain cancers, stroke, and arthritis.  Almost 10 percent of all medical spending is used to treat obesity-related conditions.  In order to reverse the obesity epidemic, HHS is employing a comprehensive approach that includes both clinical and population-based strategies that reach people where they live, work, learn, and play. These strategies are informed by evidence-based guidance found in the Department’s disease prevention and health promotion initiatives such as the Dietary Guidelines for Americans and the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, among others.  HHS also is implementing portions of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative, including Let’s Move! Active Schools, Let’s Move! Childcare, Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties, and Let’s Move! In Indian Country.

Improve Nutrition and Physical Activity in Early Childhood Settings and Schools

HHS is improving program standards for nutrition, physical activity, and television viewing time, and will promote adoption of these standards in child care settings through state licensing programs.  HHS is supporting access to safe, developmentally appropriate play spaces for children’s physical activity.  HHS is expanding proven Head Start health programs to child care centers and other early childhood settings, and is implementing assessment tools.  In collaboration with the U.S. Departments of Education and Agriculture and other key stakeholders, the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition is promoting and implementing school-based interventions to improve nutritional health through school meals, and physical activity opportunities throughout the school day.

Promote Healthy Weight through Medical Settings

HHS is developing training tools to enhance awareness, knowledge, and skills for health care providers and others.  HHS has documented all covered obesity-related services under Medicaid and CHIP and will continue to emphasize healthy weight interventions in pilot and demonstration programs such as the Childhood Obesity Research Demonstration project.  HHS is supporting new health services research and programs focused on healthy weight in high-risk populations, increasing understanding of the forces contributing to obesity, and developing and implementing strategies for obesity prevention and treatment.

Promote Workplace Wellness and Successful Community-wide Policies and Interventions

HHS is identifying and implementing policy changes that can help employees make healthy choices.  HHS is focused on becoming a model healthy worksite, and is helping workplaces become healthier through proven interventions that promote physical activity and healthful nutrition through the Health and Sustainability Guidelines for Federal Concessions and Vending Operations, FitWel, and  Community Transformation Grants.  Through Community Transformation Grants, HHS is working to identify and disseminate model programs that work across community settings.  These grants support the implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based community preventive health activities.  Community programs and policies targeting childhood obesity are being implemented across the country.  The Healthy Communities Study is a five-year observational study that will address the need for a cross-cutting national study of community programs and policies and their relationship to childhood obesity.

Empower Consumers to Make Healthy Choices in the Marketplace

Provisions of the Affordable Care Act ensure that patrons of chain restaurants and vending machines have nutritional information about the food they are consuming.  HHS is implementing these requirements to help consumers understand nutrition information by developing new regulations for labeling these foods on menus and menu boards and in vending machines.