Nutrition and physical activity programs to prevent obesity and other chronic diseases: Program strategies and rationale
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established the Nutrition and Physical Activity Program to Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases (NPAO) with funding from the US Congress to help address the challenges posed by the obesity epidemic. In turn, the CDC issues a program announcement for a cooperative-agreement program with state health departments because of their qualifications to build statewide coalitions, to develop state plans and interventions, to evaluate efforts, and to disseminate evidence-based information throughout communities. The CDC chose to partner with state health departments because they are uniquely positioned to disseminate scientific evidence with relevant complementary evidence in communities throughout their respective states and thus help create change in local systems. By collaborating with state health departments, the CDC through the NPAO program strengthened state- and community-based health-promotion efforts, used evidence-based strategies that were developed from multiple sources, and implemented environmental and policy interventions. This article, based on data gathered through semiannual program reports, summarizes the accomplishments and the progress of 28 state health departments funded under this program. The results indicate that the state programs have initiated policy and environmental changes to create conditions that enable and reinforce health behavior changes. In addition, the states have made progress in implementing interventions to prevent and control obesity and other chronic diseases by collaborating with community organizations and facilitating broad change in institutional systems.