Shaping a Healthier Generation: Healthy Kids, Healthy America State Profiles of Progress

Through the Healthy Kids, Healthy America program, the NGA Center supported 15 states as they worked to develop policies to prevent childhood obesity. The recognizable progress of each of these states is detailed in this report. Strategies used by the states, and assessed in the report, are grouped into three main categories: child care settings; policy planning and prioritization; and school-based efforts.

Started by former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee and the NGA Center in 2005, Healthy Kids, Healthy America is a state-led program, funded by The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, aimed at creating policies and programs that educate people on the need for sustainable, long-term health and lifestyle changes and empower them how to implement these changes in their daily lives at home, work and school.

Case Studies

State Snapshots
Childcare Settings

  • Kentucky: developed policies to increase physical activity and improve nutrition choices among preschoolers and after-school youth
  • Tennessee: developed a branding campaign, the Gold Sneaker Initiative, to establish high-quality physical activity and nutrition policies within licensed child care facilities

 Policy Planning and Prioritization

  • Michigan: created an executive-level workgroup to develop a five-year policy agenda and transition workgroup efforts to an independent coalition
  • Minnesota: conducted a statewide survey of current policies and programs and developed a five-year policy action plan to prevent childhood obesity
  • Mississippi: established the Governor’s Task Force on Childhood Obesity to develop policy recommendations for coordinated child wellness across all agencies, held a statewide policy summit and developed a blueprint for future childhood obesity policy
  • New Mexico: created a special advisor position to the Secretary of Health to centralize state health efforts to improve children’s health, coordinate the Governor’s Interagency Task Force on Obesity and launched a pilot of childhood wellness program in a local community

School-Based Efforts

  • Indiana: implemented a wellness pilot combining classroom instruction with an online nutrition and physical activity program
  • Louisiana: focused on improving school wellness policy implementation across the state
  • New York: developed guidelines for nutrition and physical activity programs in afterschool programs
  • Rhode Island: focused on school wellness policies and providing 100 percent of schools with technical assistance
  • South Dakota: awarded mini-grants to a dozen schools, districts and out-of-time school programs to improve nutrition and physical activity policy
  • Utah: created teacher training programs for on non-food incentives and increasing physical activity time
  • Virginia: focused on improving the health habits of at-risk students via state assessments of nutrition, physical activity and fitness
  • West Virginia: started a comprehensive wellness check for all incoming kindergarteners in public schools
  • Wisconsin: established an award program to drive policy changes in schools statewide

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