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


Over the last three decades, the prevalence of obesity among adults has more than doubled. A third of American adults are currently obese and two-thirds are overweight. Overweight children are more likely to be overweight or obese as adults. Although not all scientists agree, the weight of evidence indicates that this places them at risk for serious chronic diseases, including diabetes, heart disease and cerebrovascular disease which leads to strokes. Prominent obesity disparities are seen by socioeconomic status and race or ethnic group. Some disparities have narrowed, but unfortunately this appears to be due to increasing rates of obesity among the middle-class rather than lower rates for any 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 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.


  • Beyond Health Care: New Directions to a Healthier America

    This Commission report, Beyond Health Care: New Directions to a Healthier America, describes the Commission's work and provides recommendations for moving forward to ensure all Americans have an opportunity to lead healthier lives.

    See the Report

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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

    Guest Post: “What does ‘good health’ mean to girls?”

    by Laurie A. Westley, Senior Vice President, Girl Scouts of the USA
    November 05, 2009

    America’s health starts with healthy children, but what does “good health” mean to kids? At Girls Scouts of the USA, we’re working to bring an important perspective to the table: we know what works for girls. Read More

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News and Events

  • USA Today: A healthier Head Start focuses more on preventing obesity

    December 08, 2009

    Many preschool children in Head Start programs are being offered fruits and vegetables and low-fat or non-fat milk daily as directors are increasingly concerned about childhood obesity. The children also have a chance to play each day. Read More

  • 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

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