Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities (HKHC), an initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), supported multidisciplinary partnerships in 49 communities across the country to promote changes to local policies, systems, and environments that foster healthy living and prevent childhood obesity. Our final report to the field, Growing a Movement, shares how HKHC increased children’s access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity through changes in community policies, systems, and environments.

HKHC evolved from RWJF’s Active Living by Design program, in which 25 community partnerships across the country aimed to change the built environment and support public policies to make physical activity part of everyday life.

HKHC broadened this focus to include policy and environmental strategies that would increase access to healthy food as well as to physical activity for children and families at greatest risk for obesity. The program focused on lower-income communities, communities of color, and Southern states, where the risk of obesity was greatest. This was RWJF’s largest community-based initiative focused specifically on reversing the obesity epidemic.

As the national program office for the initiative from 2008-2014, Active Living By Design:

  • Established a network of grantees that implemented over 1200 policy and environmental changes to prevent childhood obesity, including over 350 farmers’ markets and community gardens, 200 complete streets policies, 60 healthy food retail changes, and 120 improvements to the design, quality, and accessibility of parks and recreation.
  • Helped partnerships leverage grant funds to generate an additional $127 million in cash and in-kind support.
  • Planned and hosted five multi-day annual grantee meetings that included field trips, experiential learning, national speakers, local perspective, and innovative opportunities for peer learning and networking.

Additional services provided included:

  • Grant program design and management
  • Grantee network development
  • Coaching and technical assistance
  • Convenings and training events
  • Tool and resource development
  • Field building with local, state, and national partners
  • Product and results dissemination

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities