The State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America 2016 was released yesterday by the Trust for America’s Health and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The annual report is highly regarded as one of the nation’s most comprehensive documents on the current state of the U.S. obesity epidemic. The American Council on Exercise (ACE) issued the following statement in response to the report:
One especially encouraging and essential aspect of the report is the importance of community collaboration in addressing key health issues, an issue that ACE also strongly advocates for.
The report states that “Many of the most successful approaches for preventing obesity focus on matching the specific needs and leveraging the existing resources within a local community. These place-based approaches ensure that people who live in the community are invested in making a difference in their own cities and towns.”
The report goes on to describe the details of how community collaboration, or “place-based approaches,” would create “local partnership networks that involve leaders from the public health, healthcare, education, philanthropic, social service, transportation and housing sectors.” According to the report, those key community stakeholders are best suited to identifying local resources and determining the most effective strategies in achieving their shared goal.
“ACE is encouraged by these findings,” says ACE CEO Scott Goudeseune, “as they reinforce what we believe as an organization, and lend support to the community-based, physical-activity focused partnerships across the country that we have been privileged to play a role in bringing into existence. There is a real opportunity, right now, to dramatically impact the obesity rate in this country, but it will require exactly the kinds of collaboration and community focus that this report spells out.”
As one example of how ACE has championed community-led efforts, the organization has provided curriculum support and study assistance that have helped to build the capacity of the Active RVA movement with Sports Backers, a Virginia-based nonprofit dedicated to making physical activity a priority in people’s lives. The support provided by ACE has allowed the organization to increase the number of fitness professionals in the Richmond, VA area who will in turn become community leaders dedicated to tackling physical inactivity issues that contribute to the current state of obesity.
ACE is leading the charge to educate, train and create opportunities for health and fitness professionals to facilitate behavior changes that combat the obesity epidemic in the communities in which they live and work. We are excited to be a part of creating a brighter future in which we see the number of physically active people steadily rise through the continued development of our efforts across the nation.
View the full The State of Obesity report here.
For more information or to join ACE in advocating for health and physical activity, please visit us here.