The NAACP is utilizing its voice to help sound the alarm about childhood obesity through the ACT (Advocacy, Community Mobilization and Training) Against Childhood Obesity initiative.
The NAACP is utilizing its voice to help sound the alarm about childhood obesity through the ACT (Advocacy, Community Mobilization and Training) Against Childhood Obesity initiative. Since the ratification of the 2009 childhood obesity resolution, the NAACP has positioned itself to address childhood obesity with the release of its childhood obesity manual in September 2011. Through funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, the NAACP is also supporting grassroots childhood obesity advocacy projects for communities of color in three states, each with a particular focus:
- Competitive Foods in Schools: To reduce unhealthy foods sold during the school day and through out-of-school programs.
- Built Environment To increase opportunities for physical activity through the development of joint use agreements, which allow communities access to semi-private facilities, equipment, and infrastructure such as playgrounds, trails and gymnasiums. Additionally, the work targets comprehensive improvements in local infrastructure, such as broader public transportation options that include comprehensive sidewalks, cross walks, and bike lanes.
- Healthy Food Financing/Food Access: To increase access to and consumption of healthy food options at the local level, address food deserts through healthy corner store initiatives, and advocate for investments that support local, sustainable food systems and economies that support wholesome nutrition.
How to Get Involved:
The NAACP’s history has long shown that the collective voices of a determined, organized few can swell to encompass the power of many. If you or your unit would like to become involved in the childhood obesity movement, here are some important points to keep in mind:
- A good place to start is to identify and engage with organizations on the ground that are already actively engaged in this work, especially those that focus on people of color. Search for community action groups in your area via general web searches, community bulletin websites, and nonprofit networks.
- If you are already involved in the work or partnering with organizations working on childhood obesity, we understand that resources are always a challenge. Voices for Healthy Kids (VFHK) is a collective initiative that aims to help all children achieve a healthy weight and supports advocacy-based work at every level, particularly through funding for local, grassroots efforts. Voices provides support on a rolling basis to national organizations and grassroots groups whose work aligns with their policy focused goals, and they are an ongoing partner of the Health Department. We encourage our units with experience in local and/or state level advocacy to research funding provided by Voices: http://voicesforhealthykids.org/.
- The childhood obesity initiative centers on advocating for policy change that will effectively reduce childhood obesity among African Americans and other highly-impacted people. As you seek to engage in this work, please recognize that the mix of policy solutions will be multifaceted because of the connection between health and other social factors. Proposed policies will likely extend into different but related areas, such as education, housing, employment, violence, wages and benefits, and even voting rights—all of which impact the health and well-being of children and can help to reverse childhood obesity. In looking at policy solutions in other areas, consider their potential impact on kids’ health.
- For more information about the childhood obesity initiative, please contact the National Health Department at Health@naacpnet.org.