Using funding from the CDC’s Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) initiative, King County, Washington was able to address obesity and health inequality among youth in the community through the creation of the Healthy Eating Active Living (HEAL) program. Focusing on neighborhoods with lower incomes and higher rates of physical inactivity, poor diet, and chronic disease, HEAL’s school-based interventions targeted students in grades K-12, with a goal of improving nutrition and increasing physical activity. Program activities centered around healthy eating included: highlighting locally produced foods in the cafeteria or classroom, hosting special event meals with local farmers or producers, developing a nutrition curriculum, coordinating field trips to farms, training food service staff to prepare and promote fresh, local food, and implementing changes to school cafeteria menus. HEAL also worked to implement new physical education curricula in schools, providing training to teachers, and purchasing new gym equipment. Additionally, students and staff were empowered to make healthy choices through the Commit to Fit initiative where they could earn points by exercising or organizing healthy community events then redeem their points for prizes and rewards. Program impact on childhood obesity was assessed through Washington State’s Healthy Youth Survey data. In 2012, two years after the program’s launch, obesity prevalence among students in grades 8, 10, and 12 in King County showed a statistically significant decrease, while no change occurred in the remainder of the state.
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