Box 1-2

10 Simple First Steps

  1. Ask your planning director to take a walk with you on the best and the least pedestrian-friendly streets in your jurisdiction.

  2. Have lunch with your health director to discuss childhood obesity prevention.

  3. Post a blog entry asking the community for ideas for reducing childhood obesity.

  4. Propose that the next appointment to your planning board be selected from a pool of applicants that will provide a health perspective.

  5. Contact your state and national associations for an update on the latest work they are doing on childhood obesity.

  6. Look at the child care licensing regulations in your community and see whether nutrition and physical activity are adequately addressed.

  7. Check with your state department of transportation on the requirements, process, and deadlines for applying for funding from the federal Safe Routes to School program.

  8. Ask the health department to analyze numbers from any available surveillance data aggregated, for example, by city council or supervisorial district. The results might help local elected and appointed officials understand existing health disparities in their community.

  9. Ask your police chief what could be done to enforce existing pedestrian safety laws or what new laws might be needed.

  10. Review bus routes and schedules to see whether changing them could make parks, recreation centers, and supermarkets more accessible.


CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention). National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES). (accessed May 20, 2009).

Chomitz, V. R., M. M. Slining, R. J. McGowan, S. E. Mitchell, G. F. Dawson, and K. A. Hacker. 2009. Is there a relationship between physical fitness and academic achievement? Positive results from public school children in the northeastern United States. Journal of School Health 79(1):30–37.

Daniels, S. R. 2009. Complications of obesity in children and adolescents. International Journal of Obesity 33(Suppl. 1):S60–S65.

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