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The Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities National Program

Strunk, Sarah L. MHA; Bussel, Jamie B. MPH

Journal of Public Health Management and Practice: May/June 2015 - Volume 21 - Issue - p S1–S3
doi: 10.1097/PHH.0000000000000188
Original Articles

In 2007, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced a bold and unprecedented commitment of $500 million to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity by 2015, especially in communities at greatest risk based on income, race, ethnicity, and geographic location. To support this work, the foundation launched an array of complementary initiatives aimed at building the evidence base, testing advocacy approaches, and supporting on-the-ground action to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities (HKHC), a 5-year $33.4 million national program, was one of the foundation's earliest such investments. Building on previous successes, HKHC was designed to address the policies, systems, and environments that make it easier for low-income children and their families to engage in physical activity and play and to access healthy food in their communities. As part of its strategy, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation funded 50 multidisciplinary partnerships across the country, with a special focus on 15 southern states where health disparities were most significant. The selection of Active Living By Design to lead the HKHC National Program Office and Transtria, LLC, to lead the evaluation leveraged these organizations' experience in addressing the systemic issues that contribute to physical inactivity and unhealthy eating, using a broader healthy community lens. Key elements of HKHC included funding, ongoing technical assistance and consultation, a peer learning network, and participatory evaluation. The successes of the HKHC grant program are well documented in this journal as well as through case studies and case reports, spotlights, leadership profiles, and other products available at and

This article describes Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity, especially in communities at greatest risk based on income, race, ethnicity, and geographic location.

Active Living By Design, Chapel Hill, North Carolina (Ms Strunk); and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, Princeton, New Jersey (Ms Bussel).

Correspondence: Sarah L. Strunk, MHA, Active Living By Design, 400 Market St, Ste 205, Chapel Hill, NC 27516 (

The authors declare no conflicts of interest.

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