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Your Environment. Your Health.

Environmental Solutions to Obesity in America's Youth

June 1-2, 2005



The rise in childhood obesity is due to complex interactions across a number of environmental contexts that influence eating and physical activity (IOM2004). This environment is characterized by:

  • Urban and suburban designs that discourage physical activity.
  • Economic and time pressures on families that result in frequent consumption of convenience foods.
  • Reduced access to and affordability of nutritious foods in some communities.
  • Decreased opportunities for walking or biking to, at, or after school.
  • Increased sedentary screen time.

The second annual NIEHS national conference on obesity and the environment will highlight the effectiveness of interventions aimed at reducing obesity in youth.

Conference Topics

  • What approaches support a healthy physical and nutritional environment for youth?
  • What are effective prevention and treatment strategies?
  • How can we act on the best available evidence?
  • How can the environment be modified to promote healthier eating and increased physical activity?
  • How can environmental interventions address disparities in the prevalence of overweight and obesity?
  • What can we do to develop and enhance public-private partnerships?

Post-Conference Information

Below is the conference agenda with links to speaker biographies, summary information and presentation slides.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

Welcome Address and Opening Remarks

Dr. David Schwartz (12KB), Director, National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

Dr. Julie Gerberding (21KB), Director, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Keynote Address

Mr. Lynn Swann (16KB), Chairman, President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
Presentation Slides (10MB)

Vice Admiral Richard H. Carmona (9KB), Surgeon General

Plenary Session - Obesity in Youth: Basic facts, issues, and implications. What we know about obesity in youth.

Moderator: Dr. Shobha Srinivasan (20KB), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

Obesity in Youth: An Overview and Call to Action
Dr. Ross Brownson (13KB), St. Louis University School of Public Health
Presentation Slides (6MB)

Health consequences
Dr. Jeffrey B. Schwimmer (10KB), University of California - San Diego

Plenary Session - Environment and Childhood Obesity

Moderator: Mr. Robin Hamre (15KB), Centers for Disease Control

Sprawling Development, Sprawling Waistlines, and How to Fix Them
Gov. Parris Glendening (14KB), Smart Growth Leadership Institute: Former Governor of Maryland
Summary Information (97KB)

Urban Design, Lifestyle, and the Development of Chronic Health Problems
Dr. Roland Sturm (23KB), RAND

Mindless Eating: Hidden Persuaders That Make Children Lose and Gain Weight
Dr. Brian Wansink (10KB), University of Illinois , Urbana-Champaign
Presentation Slides (2MB)

Summary Information (430KB)

Panel Session - Government Leaders in Action

Moderator: Gov. Parris Glendening (14KB), Smart Growth Leadership Institute; Former Governor of Maryland

State Delegate Bill Bronrott (34KB), District 16, Maryland

Surgeon General Kimberlydawn Wisdom (21KB), Michigan
Presentation Slides (2MB)

Dr. Barbara Dennison (8KB), New York State Department of Health and Human Services

Reception- Sponsored by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
Reception and Exhibit Program (540KB)

Thursday, June 2, 2005

Plenary Session - Overview of Environmental Interventions

Mr. David Brown (16KB), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

Kaiser Permanente’s Comprehensive Public Health Approach to the Epidemic of Childhood Obesity
Dr. William Caplan (8KB), Kaiser Permanente Care Management Institute
Presentation Slides (193KB)

Summary Information (510KB)

Shaping America’s Youth: Observations from the SAY Survey and Registry; Programs Directed at Physical Activity and Nutrition
Dr. David McCarron (9KB), Academic Network
Presentation Slides (395KB)

CLOCC: A Childhood Obesity Prevention Effort in the Chicago Environment
Matthew Longjohn (14KB), M.D., MPH Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children
Presentation Slides (1MB)


A. State-Level Initiatives – North Carolina: Eat Smart, Move More…NC

The North Carolina Division of Public Health (NCDPH) will share an overview of their comprehensive work with state and local partners in addressing nutrition and physical activity to prevent obesity and other chronic diseases. The NCDPH, with numerous partners, have developed and implemented creative initiatives, exemplary programming, multilevel interventions and successful community-based grants programs. As a result of these programs, policy and environmental changes are taking place throughout the state in support of Eat Smart, Move More... North Carolina.
Summary Information (8KB)

Moderator: Ms. Cathy Thomas (15KB), Physical Activity and Nutrition Branch, NC DHHS


B. Living by Design: Developing Community-Based Models for Obesity Prevention

This presentation will focus on Active Living by Design, a national program of The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and its comprehensive 5Ps model to increase physical activity through changes in community design. A brief overview will be provided, followed by case examples from Active Living by Design partnerships in Somerville, Massachusetts, Chicago, Illinois, and Columbia, Missouri that will focus on how they are addressing childhood obesity.

Moderator: Mr. Rich Bell (15KB), Active Living by Design


C. Transportation Initiatives

Active and safe transportation is a critical element to encourage obesity control in our nation’s youth. This session will present transportation success stories from three people whose organizations are actively involved in the provision of active and safe transportation alternatives.

Moderator: Dr. David Belluck (12KB), Federal Highway Administration, U.S. DOT


D. Public Advocacy/Education Initiatives

Moderator: Ms. Karen Donato (22KB), National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, NIH
Presentation Slides (5MB)


E. The Youth Perspective: Youth Engagement in Community Wellness Promotion

The Urban Nutrition Initiative (UNI) is part of the Center for Community Partnerships at the University of Pennsylvania in which students in grades K-16+ address issues of community nutrition and physical fitness through a curriculum that integrates community problem solving across core-subject areas. A team of youth from UNI will share perspectives of their experiences in improving the nutritional ecosystem in Philadelphia . Through a project that integrates community problem solving into year-round school-based programs, youth working with UNI have established several environmental solutions to the obesity epidemic.
Presentation Slides (39KB)

Summary Information (17KB)

Moderator: Ms. Marion Standish, Center for Community Partnerships, University of Pennsylvania

UNI Team:

F. America on the Move

America on the Move (AOM) is a national initiative to inspire people of all ages to make small increases in walking and small decreases in energy intake in order to prevent weight gain and improve health. This session presents AOM progress at the local, state, and national levels.
Presentation Slides (542KB)

Moderator: Dr. James Hill (8KB), University of Colorado Health Sciences Center



A. State-Level Initiatives - California: Environmental Strategies to Improve Healthy Eating and Activity

This panel will address three major areas that have a significant impact on obesity in California's youth: Television/recreational screen time in "tweens", policy change in schools that support healthy eating and physical activity, and the impact of the built environment on youth physical activity and obesity.

Moderator: Leslie Mikkelsen (14KB), Prevention Institute


B. Community Design - Built Environment

The opportunities for children, adolescents and teens to be physically active in the course of their daily routines are determined by the quality of the built environment in their neighborhoods, the location of their school relative to where they live, their proximity to open space and parks, and the design and condition of the streets and sidewalks that they use to get themselves where they want or need to go. This session will provide practical advice to local communities, health professionals, urban planners, school boards, and other participants in the land-use policy and planning process on what modifications can be made to the built environment where kids walk, bike, and play that can enhance their ability and likelihood of being physically active while staying safe at the same time.

Moderator: Ms. Marya Morris (15KB), American Planning Association


C. Innovative Local Strategies for Creating Healthier Living Environments

This session will highlight efforts of local public health departments that are working with external partners (e.g. planning and elected officials) to improve the health and wellbeing of children through built environment interventions. Panelists will explore methods for greater local public health agency involvement, by providing lessons learned, tools and resources used to address root causes of obesity through land use/community design policy decisions.
Presentation Slides (581KB)

Moderator: Dr. Thomas Schmid (10KB), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention


D. Addressing Disparities in Obesity in Vulnerable Populations

Studies show that certain populations are disproportionately prone to obesity. Environmental solutions addressing prevention and treatment should be culturally-relevant and tailored to the needs of each particular population. The three panelists will share their programs’ successes, challenges, and lessons learned.

Moderator: Mr. David Vigil (14KB), New Mexico Public Health Division


E. Health Care Initiatives

The health care industry is expanding efforts to emphasize preventive solutions. More insurance companies, hospitals, and private practitioners are engaging in collaborative efforts with government, communities, and schools. Each panelist will explore how the medical and health insurance communities can be more effective agents of change, both at the individual and community level.

Moderator: Ms. Nsedu Obot Witherspoon (15KB), Children’s Environmental Health Network


F. Researching the Environment-Obesity Link: tools, measures, and methods

Development of reliable environmental measures is key to effective assessment of environment/obesity connections. Researchers in the fields of nutrition, parks and recreation and community design will share their research and insights on environmental measurement tools and methodology.

Moderator: Ms. Leslie Linton (16KB), Active Living Research


Panel Session - Challenges and Solutions: Engaging Leaders on the Childhood Obesity Problem

Leaders in industry, media, and public health professions will discuss their particular solutions and interact in a lively discussion of the obstacles to and remedies for childhood obesity. The audience will be encouraged to ask questions or share their own experience, solutions, and views.

Moderator: Dr. Barry Popkin (15KB), University of North Carolina - Chapel Hill


Closing Keynote/Remarks

Introduction: Dr. Allen Dearry (15KB), National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences, NIH

Govenor Mike Huckabee (20KB), Arkansas

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