Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Eating, Active Living Initiative
Kaiser Permanente’s Healthy Eating, Active Living (HEAL) initiative is a multifaceted approach to promoting a healthy lifestyle that integrates prevention-oriented delivery system interventions, community-based initiatives, organizational practice changes, and a media campaign.
Delivery system interventions. In 2002, Kaiser Permanente launched the Weight Management Initiative to introduce and evaluate evidence-based clinical practice changes to support prevention and treatment of overweight. Key elements of this initiative include assessment of BMI as a vital sign, physician training programs on counseling strategies, and point-of-care prompts in examination rooms.
Community health initiatives. The multisectoral HEAL initiatives bring together community-based organizations, schools, public health departments, and the health sector to work together on change strategies, with an emphasis on making changes in institutional practices, public policy, and the built environment.
Organizational practice changes. Efforts are also focused on increasing access to opportunities for physical activity and offering low-calorie high nutrient foods and beverages within Kaiser Permanente medical facilities by sponsoring farmers markets at hospitals and medical office buildings, significantly changing the contents of the vending machines, ensuring that a minimum of 50 percent of vending machine slots supply food and beverages that contribute to a healthful diet, and improving the nutritional quality of foods offered in hospital and medical center cafeterias.
Public policy advocacy. Kaiser Permanente has also funded public health advocacy organizations and has backed legislation designed to make it easier for people to be more physically active and have increased access to foods that contribute to a healthful diet.
Media campaign. In 2004, Kaiser Permanente launched its Thrive advertising campaign. Intended principally to communicate the organization’s philosophy of prevention and health promotion to current and prospective members, it has also sought to influence social norms with billboards, television advertisements, and radio spots.
SOURCES: Kaiser Permanente (2006); Loel Solomon, Kaiser Permanente, personal communications, June 2006.