Donor Strategies to Prevent Childhood Obesity: Lessons from Greater Philadelphia

Part of our 2014 commitment to show donors how they can ensure a strong start in life for children.

In 2012, one in three children and adolescents were overweight or obese.  Obesity exacts a tremendous price on overweight children, leading to serious chronic health conditions, disability, and psychological suffering.  And the effects of obesity are not just felt by the individual.  Society suffers from the long-term consequences of those children becoming an overweight population. But this suffering can be avoided.  Donors can help prevent childhood obesity and relieve the great economic, social, and personal burdens of this epidemic.

Donor Strategies to Prevent Childhood Obesity: Lessons from Greater Philadelphia shows why donors should invest in childhood obesity prevention-- and, more importantly, how.

The guide identifies three key strategies for donors who seek change: start early, increase access to healthy foods and opportunities for physical activity, and enable healthy choices in both eating and physical activity.

To help donors put the strategies into action, the guide includes:

• An analysis of five obesity prevention approaches along with impact, costs, and cost-per-impact for exemplary organizations implementing those approaches in Philadelphia
• A review of treatment opportunities for overweight and obese children
• For donors interested in working for change at the national level, an overview of select national players in research, policy, and advocacy for obesity prevention

Across the United States, donors are working on multiple aspects of the fight to prevent childhood obesity. While this guide features approaches implemented nationwide, we focused on examples of their implementation in Greater Philadelphia, a region that many are looking to as a national model due to its decreases in childhood obesity among some of the most affected populations (African-American, Hispanic, and low-income youth). 

The guide is the product of a year-long effort funded through the support of our partners, Greater Philadelphia Food Funders and Philanthropy Network Greater Philadelphia, and developed with input from dozens of experts and leaders in the space.

As always, our hope is that our guidance helps donors move from good intentions to high impact.