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Obesity Prevention Strategies


Obesity continues to impact the quality of life for many Americans across the nation. In Los Angeles County, the average weight of adults and children has increased over the past decade, leading to an increased risk of high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and other chronic diseases. In addition, obesity-related chronic diseases continue to rank among the top ten leading causes of premature death in Los Angeles County, including coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, colorectal cancer, and high blood pressure. While most population groups are affected by the obesity epidemic, lower-income individuals and communities of color are impacted the most.

Obesity Prevention

Nutrition and physical activity are modifiable risk factors that may reduce the risk of obesity and developing chronic diseases. In addition, comprehensive approaches are required to address the underlying causes of obesity and chronic diseases. A shift in recent years has expanded obesity prevention efforts from interventions that solely target individuals to a focus on policy, systems and environmental (PSE) changes.

The Nutrition and Physical Activity Program implements the federally funded grant, CalFresh Healthy Living. We utilize the model below as a framework to address obesity and chronic diseases. Read more about the CalFresh Healthy Living and our grantees.

Framework for Obesity Prevention & Strategies

Policy, Systems and Environmental (PSE) Changes

  • Policy, Systems and Environmental (PSE) change strategies provide an opportunity to create environments that support healthy behaviors and increase community members’ ability to make the healthy choice, the easy choice. PSE is defined as:
  • Policy change – written statement at a legislative or organizational level
  • Systems change – changes made to procedures or rules within an organization
  • Environmental change – changes made to physical environment

  • For more information about PSE, review the California Department of Public Health, Champion Provider Fellowship PSE Playbook Champion Provider Fellowship PSE Playbook.pdf icon

Individual Level

  • Nutrition education and physical activity promotion represent the core components of the CalFresh Healthy Living grant. Individual level approaches provide an opportunity to increase knowledge and self-efficacy around healthy eating and physical activity.
  • CalFresh Healthy Living grantees utilize evidence-based curricula to teach nutrition education and promote physical activity in classroom settings throughout Los Angeles County.

Institutional Level

  • Refers to organizations or institutions, such as churches, food pantries, hospitals, and schools. CalFresh Healthy Living grantees work in a variety of institutions to implement policies that promote healthy eating behaviors. Below is a list of examples:

Food Procurement

food procurement
  • Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) pdf icon- increases access to local, seasonally grown food to community members.
  • Farm to Fork - improves local, healthy food access across different sectors.
  • Farm to School - improves local, healthy food access in schools through education, school gardens and procurement.
  • Gleaningpdf icon - increases access to food by collecting excess or leftover food from farms, gardens, and grocery stores and redistributes it to those in need.

Behavioral Economics

Behavioral Economics

Organizational Policies

Organizational Policies


  • School gardens - supports healthy food access for schools and provides opportunities for nutrition education for students.
  • Community Gardens– supports healthy food access for communities.

Environmental Level

  • Refers to policies at the city, municipal or community level. CalFresh Healthy Living grantees work in a variety of settings to implement policies that promote healthy eating and physical activity. Below is a list of examples:

Increasing availability of fruits and vegetables

food procurement

Healthy Parks

Healthy parks

Active Transportation

Active Transportation
  • Safe Routes to School – creates a safe environment for children to increase their physical activity levels by walking or biking to school.
  • Vision Zero - creates a safe environment for community members to increase their physical activity levels by eliminating all traffic fatalities.

Urban Agriculture

Urban Agriculture
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