should be shared among communities as should examples of community action plans. For example, in Washington State, the Healthy Communities Tool Kit was developed to share the information gained by two communities, Moses Lake and Mount Vernon, in mobilizing their community in promoting healthy lifestyles (Washington State Department of Health, 2006). Community stakeholders and the relevant government agencies and foundations need to cultivate open communication, identify ways to learn about promising practices in other communities, and focus attention on the lessons learned about the promotion of healthy lifestyles in other locales. The Health and Wellness Coalition of Wichita (2005), for example, commissioned a study to identify obesity prevention efforts in other cities of similar size. Furthermore, focus groups were held with Wichita residents to identify factors that motivate physical activity as well as those that were barriers to physical activity.
Communities are where the efforts of government, industry, health care systems, foundations, schools, nonprofit organizations, and many other groups come together to provide increased opportunities for physical activity and enhanced access to foods and beverages that contribute to a healthful diet. Communities differ in the extent of the resources that they have available to devote to childhood obesity prevention efforts. Communities must face the obstacles of limited budgets and competing priorities, and efforts that result in benefits to multiple needs of the community are encouraged.
Each of the report’s four recommendations (Chapter 2) is directly relevant to promoting leadership and collaboration and improving the evaluation of community-based interventions, policies, and initiatives. The following provides the report’s recommendations and summarizes the specific implementation actions (detailed in the preceding section) that are needed to improve childhood obesity prevention efforts in communities.
Recommendation 1: Government, industry, communities, schools, and families should demonstrate leadership and commitment by mobilizing the resources required to identify, implement, evaluate, and disseminate effective policies and interventions that support childhood obesity prevention goals.
Implementation Actions for Communities
Community stakeholders should establish and strengthen the local policies, coalitions, and collaborations needed to create and sustain healthy communities.