BOX 6-3

Sonoma County (California) Family Activity and Nutrition Task Force

In 1998, the Sonoma County Family Activity and Nutrition Task Force was initiated to bring together individuals, professionals, and community-based organizations to focus on the health, nutrition, and physical activity levels of children in the county. The task force works through four subcommittees:

  • The farm-to-school subcommittee promotes increased fruit and vegetable availability in the local schools.

  • The direct service subcommittee promotes prevention and treatment options in the community.

  • The community outreach and advocacy subcommittee works to increase public awareness of obesity-related issues and solutions.

  • The child-care subcommittee works with Head Start and the Community Child Care Council to educate parents and care providers about nutrition and obesity-related issues.

In February 2006, the Task Force received a five-year grant from Kaiser Permanente to implement the Healthy Eating Active Living-Community Health Initiative in two local communities, South Park and Southwest Santa Rosa. Phase 1 of the project will involve the development of a community action plan, and Phase 2 will implement and evaluate the plan over four years.

SOURCE: Sonoma County (2006).

gan with a baseline health needs assessment in 1998. That assessment was followed up by a comparable assessment effort in 2002 (Health Collaborative, 2003). The assessments, conducted in collaboration with the University of Texas Health Science Center, provided detailed information on a range of health issues in various areas of the county. Follow-up plans have involved the use of the community health planning tool MAPP (Mobilizing for Action through Planning and Partnerships) (NACCHO, 2004) to develop and implement a strategic plan for next steps in improving the county’s health status (Health Collaborative, 2003; San Antonio Metropolitan Health Department, 2006).

Because childhood obesity may be a vast and complex issue for a community organization with limited time and resources, it may be necessary for a community group to focus on a single, manageable project to yield tangible results and measurable outcomes. For example, a number of community initiatives are focused on building a playground or changing a local school district’s policies related to the availability and sale of competi-

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