WHO WE ARE
Leadership for Healthy Communities (LHC) is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation designed to support local and state government leaders nationwide in their efforts to reduce childhood obesity through public policies that promote active living, healthy eating and access to healthy foods. LHC places special emphasis on promoting policies with the greatest potential for increasing sustainable opportunities for physical activity and healthy eating among children at highest risk for obesity. Efforts funded under this program are expected to contribute to the Foundation’s goal of reversing the epidemic of childhood obesity by 2015.
WHY WE DO IT
America is in danger of raising the first generation of children who will live sicker and die younger than the generation before them. Obesity rates have skyrocketed among both children and adults, as have rates of related illnesses like type 2 diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and asthma. These illnesses disproportionately affect African-American, Latino, Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islander children living in low-income communities. Obesity also poses a tremendous financial threat to our economy and our health care system. Researchers estimate the epidemic costs our nation $147 billion annually in direct medical expenses and indirect costs, including lost productivity and absenteeism. Leadership for Healthy Communities works with local and state government leaders because they make important decisions that affect people’s opportunities to eat healthy foods and be physically active within their communities. At first glance, you might think these daily decisions are about budgets, laws, regulations or zoning, but they are also about sidewalks, bike trails, playgrounds, recreation centers, school meal programs, neighborhood farmers’ markets and fast-food billboards near schools. We help government leaders make the connection between their policy priorities and decisions and the health of their constituents—and we support them in their efforts to create healthier communities.