Our History

Why ChildObesity180?

In late 2009 the founders of ChildObesity180, Peter Dolan, former Chief Executive Officer of Bristol-Myers Squibb, and Drs. Christina Economos and Miriam Nelson, nationally recognized researchers in nutrition, physical activity, and obesity at Tufts University, believed the serious issue of childhood obesity demanded a fresh approach. Learn more about the Leadership Team.

Their idea? Bring together for the first time scientific and academic experts with leaders from government, business, and not-for-profit organizations to address this national epidemic.

The founders envisioned a new model of collaboration to tackle the epidemic and identify innovative and integrated solutions with the potential to work on a national scale.

This concept, together with the power of Tufts University and early support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, were the genesis of ChildObesity180.

Today a unique group of national leaders recruited from various sectors of society—public, private, academic, and non-profit is working to “do a 180”, that is, to reverse the trend of childhood obesity.


Childhood Obesity is a Complex Issue

Current childhood obesity statistics are dramatic and worrisome. The current generation may live shorter lives than their parents – a first in this nation’s history. Over the past 40 years, rates of obesity have doubled in 2-5 year olds, quadrupled in 6-11 year olds, and tripled in 12-19 year olds. The causes of obesity are complex and interconnected. The environment created by culture, society norms, community assets, and practices within the home all influence a child’s ability to make healthy choices and, ultimately, influence his or her weight status.


ChildObesity180’s Unique Approach

There are numerous childhood obesity prevention efforts ongoing, but from the start ChildObesity180’s strategy was unique: combine rigorous research and evaluation, innovative strategies, multi-sector collaboration, and eventual widespread promulgation of practices proven to work.

At the outset, ChildObesity180 examined more than 100 recommendations from credible organizations like the Institute of Medicine and the White House Task Force on Childhood Obesity Prevention to identify priority areas with the highest potential for national scale up and probability for success in reversing the childhood obesity trend.

Those rigorously screened priority areas are the foundation of numerous early-stage initiatives created by ChildObesity180 to turn ideas into action: Active Schools Acceleration Project (ASAP), Healthy Kids Out of School, the Breakfast Initiative, and the Restaurant Initiative. More information about each of these initiatives can be found here.


Our Children Deserve Nothing Less

ChildObesity180’s goal is to evaluate early results of each of these initiatives (and potentially others), identify those programs and practices with the biggest potential impact, and disseminate them widely in order to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic and support healthy children.

Concern for the healthy future of our nation's children inspires us all to do everything we can to reverse the trend of childhood obesity at the earliest possible time. Our children deserve
nothing less.