January 12, 2010

Contact: Marlin Williams
(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 215-350-9160)
or Jamie Arehart
(This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 267-350-7699)

Health Promotion Council Receives Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Major Grant to Curb Obesity among Philadelphia’s Schoolchildren

PHILADELPHIA—Health Promotion Council (HPC) has been awarded a $360,000 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) to launch a community-based initiative to combat childhood obesity in Philadelphia. Based on a rigorous selection process that drew more than 500 proposals from across the country, HPC, an affiliate of Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC), is one of 41 sites selected for the RWJF Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities initiative.

According to a survey by PHMC’s Community Health Database, 28.4% of Philadelphia youth are obese and an additional 18.5% are overweight. This means nearly one-half of Philadelphia’s youth are at risk for weight-related health problems such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, asthma and certain types of cancer.

In collaboration with The Food Trust, National Nursing Centers Consortium, University of Pennsylvania and Philadelphia Department of Public Health – Office of Health and Opportunity, HPC will reach the children enrolled in Out of School Time (OST) – an after-school provider network serving more than 20,000 children. “HPC and its partnership will take a policy and systems change approach to addressing childhood obesity in after-school sites. This is particularly exciting because our efforts will be sustainable and our impact with Philadelphia’s youth will be long lasting.” says Marlin Williams, HPC project director.

“To reverse this epidemic, communities are going to have to rally around their kids and provide the opportunities they need to be healthy,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “Through this project, HPC and its partners are doing what it takes to make sure children lead better lives.”

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities is RWJF’s largest investment to date in community-based solutions to childhood obesity. With nine Leading Sites chosen in late 2008, the program now spans 50 communities from Seattle to Puerto Rico. All are targeting improvements in local policies and their community environment—changes that research indicates could have the greatest impact on healthier eating, more active living and obesity prevention. Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities is a cornerstone of RWJF’s $500 million commitment to reverse the country’s childhood obesity epidemic by 2015.

The 40 other cities and regions just announced as Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities sites are:

Benton County, OR
Boone and Newton Counties, AR
Buffalo, NY
Caguas, PR
Charleston, WV
Chattanooga, TN
Cook County, GA
Cuba, NM
Denver, CO
Desoto, Marshall and Tate Counties, MS
El Paso, TX
Fitchburg, MA
Flint, MI
Grant County, NM
Greenville, SC
Hamilton County, OH
Houghton County, MI
Houston, TX
Jackson, MS
Jacksonville, FL
Jefferson County, AL
Kane County, IL
Kansas City, MO
Kingston, NY
Knox County, TN
Lake Worth, Greenacres and Palm Springs, FL
Milledgeville, GA
Milwaukee, WI
Moore and Montgomery Counties, NC
Multnomah County/Portland, OR
Nash and Edgecombe Counties, NC
New Orleans, LA
Omaha, NE
Phoenix, AZ
Rancho Cucamonga, CA
Rochester, NY
San Antonio, TX
San Felipe Pueblo, NM
Spartanburg County, SC
Watsonville and Pajaro Valley, CA

All were selected because of strong vision, partnership and a commitment to make lasting change in their communities. The new program grants will continue through June 2013. Visit to learn more about these communities’ work and plans.


About HPC
Health Promotion Council of Southeastern Pennsylvania (HPC) holds the mission to promote health, prevent and manage chronic disease through community-based outreach, education, and advocacy. Together with its innovative work with underrepresented minority groups and unique programs advocate healthier lifestyles, HPC advances the field of health promotion in Southeastern Pennsylvania and across the state. For more information on HPC, visit

About PHMC
Public Health Management Corporation (PHMC) is a nonprofit public health institute that builds healthier communities through partnerships with government, foundations, businesses and other community-based organizations. It fulfills its mission to improve the health of the community by providing outreach, health promotion, education, research, planning, technical assistance, and direct services. For more information on PHMC, visit

About Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities
Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), advances community-based solutions that will help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. It focuses on changing policies and environments to support active living and healthy eating among children and families. The program places special emphasis on reaching children who are at highest risk for obesity on the basis of income, race/ethnicity and geographic location. It will support RWJF’s efforts to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in the United States by 2015.

The Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities national program office is housed at Active Living By Design, part of the North Carolina Institute for Public Health at the Gillings School of Global Public Health at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill. Established in 2001 as an RWJF national program, Active Living By Design now serves funders and partnerships across the country that are fostering community-led change to build a culture of active living and healthy eating.

About The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation focuses on the pressing health and health care issues facing our country. As the nation's largest philanthropy devoted exclusively to improving the health and health care of all Americans, the Foundation works with a diverse group of organizations and individuals to identify solutions and achieve comprehensive, meaningful and timely change. For more than 35 years, the Foundation has brought experience, commitment, and a rigorous, balanced approach to the problems that affect the health and health care of those it serves. When it comes to helping Americans lead healthier lives and get the care they need, the Foundation expects to make a difference in your lifetime. For more information, visit