Half-a-Billion To Fight Obesity

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In what is billed as the largest financial commitment by any foundation to fight childhood obesity, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) says it is dedicating $500 million to the effort over the next five years.

Some 25 million American children and adolescents are overweight or obese, according to RWJF research. Over the past 40 years, the foundation says, obesity rates have soared for all age groups, particularly among children ages 6 to 11, whose rate of obesity has quadrupled.

Healthy Eating Research, an $11 million program launched by RWJF in 2005, was the foundation’s first foray into identifying environmental and policy strategies keyed to reducing youth obesity. Last year, the foundation awarded 14 research grants totaling $3 million to get school cafeterias to improve the nutritional quality of their offerings and reduce portion sizes.

The new cash infusion will expand established programs in low-income communities and put a premium on increasing access to affordable healthy foods, the foundation said. Contact: (888) 631-9989, http://www.rwjf.org.