Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Pledges $500M To Fund Anti-Obesity Programs, Some of Which Will Target Minority Children
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation on Wednesday announced that it will spend $500 million during the next five years on programs that address childhood obesity, particularly targeting minority children, who are at the highest risk for being obese, AP/Long Island Newsday reports. Nearly 25 million children under age 18 are considered obese or overweight, accounting for $14 billion annually in medical expenses, according to the foundation. The RWJF money will fund programs that aim to improve access to low-cost, healthy foods and to increase physical activity in schools and communities. Other efforts could include education for adults to teach children about good nutrition and exercise, RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey said (Gold, AP/Long Island Newsday, 4/4). She added that many of the children the foundation is trying to target are poor and live in areas with limited access to safe play areas and healthy foods. The foundation aims to build upon and support existing efforts by states, the food industry and other groups to address childhood obesity (Strom, New York Times, 4/4). "We want the best ideas and the best people in the country to reverse this epidemic," Lavizzo-Mourey said, adding, "The epidemic of obesity in children is causing kids to have adult diseases. And those adult diseases have serious consequences and give the potential for having a sicker adulthood and shorter life" (AP/Long Island Newsday, 4/4). According to the New York Times, the RWJF money represents "one of the largest public health initiatives ever tried by a private philanthropy." The foundation over the last few years has pledged $80 million to childhood obesity programs (New York Times, 4/4).This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.