A $2 million initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) is bringing together five civil rights organizations with the prominence and strength to help reverse childhood obesity, especially in African-American and Latino communities where the epidemic continues to hit hardest.

Over the next 16 months, the groups will aim individually and collaboratively to advance the public advocacy and policy changes critical to creating healthier communities. The initiative recognizes the power of their work to solve systemic issues of racial and social injustice.

The organizations include the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC); Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF); National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP); National Council of La Raza (NCLR); and National Urban League (NUL).

Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey

“These national organizations are coming together to take a stand,” said Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, M.D., M.B.A., president and CEO of the Foundation. “They will help ensure that all communities benefit from the policy and environmental changes we know are necessary to reverse childhood obesity.”

RWJF’s announcement of the initiative coincides with September’s designation as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month. Prevention is acutely needed in communities of color given the troubling disparities that persist in rates of childhood obesity and related health problems.

RWJF also has a national program, Salud America!, led by the team behind SaludToday, to increase the number of researchers and the amount of research to reduce the childhood obesity epidemic among Latinos.

RWJF also has a Multicultural Newsroom covering Latino and African-American health care issues.

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