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Combating Childhood Obesity in Somerville

This four-page case study (2014) from The Intersector Project outlines the cross-sector collaboration used by the Friedman School of Nutrition and Tufts School of Medicine, with The City of Somerville to reduce childhood obesity in Somerville, Massachusetts.

From the Intersector Project

One in six American children was affected by obesity in 2000. In the city of Somerville, outside of Boston, 46 percent of Somerville first and third graders were overweight or at risk for becoming so. Dr. Christina Economos, an associate professor at the Friedman School of Nutrition and the School of Medicine at Tufts University worked with her colleagues in collaboration with the entire City of Somerville to design and implement Shape Up Somerville (SUS). Recognizing that children have limited control over the food and physical activity options available to them, the program sought to prevent obesity in early elementary school-age children through a community-wide initiative focused on environmental and policy strategies to impact energy balance. Over the 2003-2004 and 2004-2005 school years, Shape Up Somerville led to a statistically significant drop in Body Mass Index (BMI) among early elementary school children. As of 2012, Shape Up Somerville is part of the Somerville Health Department and an integral part of community efforts to improve healthy and active lifestyle options for the community.

“A top-down plan cannot address the needs of a diverse community. It cannot sustain over the long haul, because leadership has limited time to devote any single program, and leadership also changes over time. Cultivating a strong grassroots effort is the only way to see an effort like this take root, sustain and grow.”– Mayor Joseph A. Curtatone, Somerville, Massachusetts

This case study, authored by The Intersector Project, tells the story of this initiative.

More about The Intersector ProjectThe Intersector Project
The Intersector Project is a New York-based 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that seeks to empower practitioners in the government, business, and non-profit sectors to collaborate to solve problems that cannot be solved by one sector alone. We provide free, publicly available resources for practitioners from every sector to implement collaborative solutions to complex problems. We take forward several years of research in collaborative governance done at the Center for Business and Government at Harvard’s Kennedy School and expand on that research to create practical, accessible resources for practitioners.

Follow on Twitter @theintersector.

Resource Link: http://intersector.com/case/shapeupsomerville_massachusetts/ (Download the case study PDF here.)

This resource was submitted by Neil Britto, the Executive Director at The Intersector Project via the Add-a-Resource form.

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