• Article

The rationale for state efforts to address policy, legislative, and environmental change for obesity prevention

To help address the challenges posed by the obesity epidemic, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) established the Nutrition and Physical Activity Program to Prevent Obesity and Other Chronic Diseases (NPAO). NPAO is a cooperative-agreement program with state health departments to build state capacity and leadership through developing statewide coalitions, state plans and interventions; to evaluate efforts; and, to disseminate evidence-based information throughout communities.

Use of Theory or Research
The NPAO is built upon the Social-Ecological Model, which emphasizes the interconnectedness of elements within society – individual, interpersonal, organizational, community, and social – that invariably affect one another.

Target Audience
NPAO targets statewide populations across its 28 funded states.

The CDC through the NPAO program partners with state health departments. They are uniquely positioned to disseminate scientific evidence in communities throughout their respective states and thus help create change in local systems by implementing multi-level and multi-sectoral environmental and policy interventions that focus on principle target areas. The NPAO is both a capacity-building program that builds partnerships as well as develops state plans and an implementation program that strives for lasting changes in social norms to create a measurable improvement in health.

Based on data gathered through semiannual program reports, this presentation summarizes the accomplishments of the 28 state health departments funded under this program on nutrition-related policy, legislative, and environmental change efforts.

Conclusions and Implications
Findings indicate that the state programs have initiated policy and environmental changes to create conditions that enable and reinforce nutrition-related behavior changes. This project was funded by CDC DNPAO.


Hannan, C., Chappelle, E., Williams-Piehota, P., & Renaud, J. (2008). The rationale for state efforts to address policy, legislative, and environmental change for obesity prevention. Journal of Nutrition Education and Behavior, 40(4, Suppl. 1), S22. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jneb.2008.03.014