Welcome to the State of California 

Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative Fact Sheet

MO-07-0087 NUPA


  • Healthy eating and physical activity promotion is integrated and coordinated within MCAH and its local programs. These programs include, but are not limited to the local MCAH Jurisdiction Allocations, Comprehensive Perinatal Services Program, California Diabetes and Pregnancy Program, Black Infant Health Program, and Adolescent Family Life Program. Program activities include:
  • Promoting the development of healthcare policies, training and guidelines that support healthy eating and physical activity for all programs, health care providers, schools, childcare centers, and employers.
  • Supporting MCAH partners throughout the state in the development and participation in local healthy eating and physical activity related coalitions.
  • Using healthy eating and physical activity epidemiological information that is obtained from multiple sources to design, implement, and evaluate initiatives that are effective and reach individuals with the most need.


  • Overweight and obesity, and physical inactivity were estimated to cost California over $21 billion in health care costs and lost productivity in 2000. California had an increase of 109% in its obesity rates during the period 1991 to 2001, the third highest in the nation.  Among California women, the obesity rate has increased more rapidly than it has for men. Uncontrolled maternal diabetes, abnormal birth weight, and lack of breastfeeding may contribute to overweight and obesity later in life. To reduce the incidence of birth defects, 400 micrograms of folic acid daily is recommended for women of reproductive age. In 2005, California was far from meeting the Healthy People 2010 goal of 80 percent for women of reproductive age: only about 40 percent of all women of reproductive age and 28 percent for Hispanic women of reproductive age report taking folic acid supplementation.  Population groups least likely to take folic acid supplements  and at the highest risk for neural tube defects include Hispanic women (especially those born outside the United States), younger women, obese women, and women with poor diet quality. Iron deficiency is the most prevalent nutritional deficiency and is highly associated with poverty. Young children and pre-menopausal women are at highest risk. Severe anemia is associated with a higher mortality rate, low birth weight and pre-term delivery among pregnant women. 


  • Healthy eating and physical activity will be the easy and preferred lifestyle choice of all California women of reproductive age and children to the age of 21 years of age.

Program Objectives

  • Women will enter and continue in pregnancy with optimal nutrition and regular physical activity thus having fewer medical complications and better perinatal outcomes.
  • Reduce perinatal overweight and obesity in order to improve pregnancy-related outcomes such as macrosomia, gestational diabetes, preeclampsia and eclampsia, pregnancy induced hypertension, thromboembolic disease, spina bifida, omphalocele, heart defects and multiple anomalies, neonatal and fetal deaths, labor induction and cesarean section.  In addition, reduce overweight and obesity in women to reduce their risks for heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
  • Increase infants' and children's intake of healthy foods and participation in adequate physical activity in order to reduce the risk of chronic disease later in life.


  • Funding source, Title V. Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health (MCAH) Program administers the Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative. Please see the Nutrition and Physical Activity Initiative for more information.


Last modified on: 9/16/2008 3:08 PM