Newly released: Recommendations from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America. Time to Act: Investing in the Health of Our Children and Communities calls for action on early childhood, healthy communities, and bridging health and health care. Read the report and explore the charts, infographics, and videos at

Adult Chronic Diseases

Chronic diseases in adulthood such as diabetes, heart disease, cerebrovascular disease leading to strokes, and arthritis, are major causes of illness, disability, and premature death in the U.S. Social factors (such as income, education, community characteristics, and working conditions) play a major role in these conditions. There are large disparities in most major adult chronic diseases according to socioeconomic status and racial or ethnic group.


  • Issue Brief: Education Matters for Health

    This Commission issue brief, Education Matters for Health, discusses the large body of evidence linking education and health and examines why, across America and generations, people with more education live longer and experience better health outcomes.


  • Fact Sheet: Improving the Health of All Americans through Safe and Healthy Housing

    Poor quality and inadequate housing contributes to health problems such as infectious and chronic diseases, injuries and inadequate childhood development.


  • Fact Sheet: Improving the Health of All Americans by Focusing on the Early Years of Life

    Deficits in brain, cognitive and behavioral development early in life are strongly linked to important health outcomes later in life, including cardiovascular disease and stroke, hypertension, diabetes, obesity, smoking, drug use and depression.


  • Fact Sheet: Improving the Health of All Americans through Better Nutrition

    Poor nutrition is threatening America’s health. Today’s children may be the first in American history to live sicker and die younger than their parents’ generation. Experts warn that excess weight could reduce average life expectancy by five years or more in the next few decades.


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  • Stories

    April Manzanares

    When Wal-Mart rolled out its Personal Sustainability Project in 2006, it presented its employees with a challenge: What’s the one change you would make in your life to make the world a better place? April Manzanares, a Wal-Mart people manager in Broomfield, Colo., knew the answer right away. She wanted to be healthier. Meet April Manzanares


    Kathleen Dolezal

    When it came to warding off the threat of diabetes that has plagued her family, Kathleen Dolezal got a boost from an unexpected source: her employer, the State of Nebraska. Meet Kathleen Dolezal


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  • Leadership Blog

    A Closing Word from Risa Lavizzo-Mourey on the Commission to Build a Healthier America

    by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, President and CEO, Robert Wood Johnson Foundation
    December 17, 2009

    After a year and a half, two major reports and national events, three regional field hearings, nine issue briefs, two chart books, and more than 50 meetings with leaders from government and the private sector, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Commission to Build a Healthier America has come to a close. Read More

    From Congress to the Cafeteria: Healthy Food is a Priority

    by David R. Williams, Ph.D., Staff Director
    November 03, 2009

    The Commission recognized the importance of nutritious food for improving the health of Americans when it released its recommendations in April. It saw communities without any access to grocery stores and fresh produce, school meals for children containing chicken nuggets, pizza and fries, and a country disconnected from the food system it relies on for its nutritional wellbeing. But recently, the tide has begun to turn. Read More

    Live from APHA: Working Together to Make Americans Healthier

    by Staff, Commission to Build a Healthier America
    November 10, 2009

    From RWJF’s liveblog of the 2009 American Public Health Association (APHA) conference in Philadelphia comes a new post on Commission and its recommendations for improving America’s health. Read More

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News and Events

  • Washington Post: America's economic pain brings hunger pangs

    November 23, 2009

    The nation's economic crisis has catapulted the number of Americans who lack enough food to the highest level since the government has been keeping track, according to a new federal report, which shows that nearly 50 million people -- including almost one child in four -- struggled last year to get enough to eat. Read More

  • The Health Care Blog: We the Consumers

    November 10, 2009

    As part of the work of the Commission to Build a Healthier America, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation released an issue brief in September, titled Education and Health. The RWJF study finds that those of us that never graduated from high school are twice as likely to report being in poor health than college graduates. Read More

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