About the Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch
The mission of the Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch (NEOPB) is to create innovative partnerships that empower low-income Californians to increase fruit and vegetable consumption, physical activity, and food security with the goal of preventing obesity and other diet related chronic diseases.
Program At A Glance – Creating Champions For Change
From 1980 to 2010, national obesity rates more than doubled for adults and children 2 to 5 years, while approximately tripling among those 6 to 19 years old. In recent years, the national childhood obesity rate has leveled off. California is among a select few states that have reported modest decreases in childhood obesity rates possibly as a result of taking comprehensive action to address the epidemic. Although meeting Healthy People 2020 (HP 2020) targets, a significant percentage (25.4%) of California adults and adolescents (15.8%) are obese. Unfortunately, obesity rates among low-income children 2 to 4 years old (17.2%) and 5 to 19 years old (23.3%) exceed HP 2020 targets. These rates double when overweight and obesity are combined for adults and adolescents and nearly double among low-income children 2 to and 5 to 19 years.
Despite signs of progress, racial and ethnic, socioeconomic, and geographic disparities in obesity rates persist. Among low-income children 2 to 19 years, Hispanics, Native American/Alaskan Natives, Pacific Islanders, and youth ages 9 to 11 were disproportionately affected by obesity compared with other race/ethnic and age groups. The rates of obesity are highest among those with very low income and lowest among higher income Californians.
In 2001, no California County had an adult obesity rate that exceeded the Healthy People 2020 goal of 30.5%. However, by 2012, 21 of California’s 58 counties had adult obesity rates of 30.5% or more. For low-income children, the news is much worse. Only one county in California has an obesity rate among low-income preschool-age children that meets the HP 2020 target of 9.6% and no county has an obesity rate among low-income children aged 5 to19 that meets the HP 2020 target of 14.5%.
California has the highest obesity-related costs in the United States, estimated at $15.2 billion with 41.5% of these costs financed through Medicare and Medi-Cal. In 2012, data indicate that nearly half a million hospital admissions annually are due to obesity-related conditions in the State, accounting for $33.8 billion in hospital charges and representing a 39.7% increase since 2005. If adult BMI was reduced by 5%, California could save $81.7 billion in obesity-related health care costs by 2030. Obesity has also been linked with reduced worker productivity, chronic absence from work, and medical expenditures that total $73.1 billion per year for full time employees in the United States.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) conducts obesity prevention activities through programs in several of its Divisions, including Maternal, Child and Adolescent Health, Chronic Disease Prevention, Health in All Policies and the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Nutrition Division. The mission of the Nutrition Education and Obesity Prevention Branch (NEOPB) is to reduce the prevalence of overweight and obesity in California residents through education and other strategies. NEOPB addresses the statewide obesity epidemic through food and activity education, breastfeeding support, community development strategies and marketing of healthy behaviors, focusing on low income Californians. NEOPB, in a manner consistent with tobacco control, immunizations, HIV/AIDS control and other public health imperatives, works primarily through its counterparts in local health jurisdictions to assess and conduct surveillance of community needs, plan and implement strategies, engage with local stakeholders and to evaluate the health outcomes of the strategies to strengthen the evidence for future practices.
NEOPB by Sections
State Media & Public Relations and Information & Communications Sections:
The State Media and Public Relations sections are responsible for a mass communication campaign and public relations directed to SNAP-Ed eligible Californians through advertising, public relations, and social media. The activities of both sections are integrated with other programs and projects within NEOPB.
The information & Communications Section (ICS) prepares content for NEOPB consumers and intermediaries by producing online and print collateral such as newsletters, brochures, cookbooks, and other publications. The ICS develops, tests, and evaluates NEOPB messages and materials for cultural competency and maintains an inventory of materials available online through the Web Storefront and the Communications Resource Libraries.
Contract Operations Section:
The Contract Operations Section within NEOPB is comprised of two units overseeing general contract operations, and contract compliance. This section is responsible for contract management, solicitations, monitoring fiscal and administrative contract compliance, and providing expert technical assistance and recommendations to NEOPB management and staff regarding contractual issues related to NEOPB Programs. This section ensures the evaluation of contractor performance and compliance with state and federal regulations and program/contract requirements. Section staff works with CDPH Budget Office, Accounting Office, Legal Services, and Contracts Management Unit, as well as the Health and Human Services Agency, the Department of Finance, and other state and federal agencies. Section activities are integrated with other programs and projects within NEOPB.
Fiscal & Administrative Operations Section:
The Fiscal & Administrative Operations Section is comprised of two units: 1) Fiscal Services; and 2) Administrative Services. This section is responsible for NEOPB's annual budget, including fiscal, personnel, purchasing, training, travel, administrative support, and facilities operations-related issues. To ensure program integrity, this section manages the required USDA documentation in compliance with state and federal laws and regulations. Section staff work with the CDPH Budget Office, Accounting Office, and Human Resources Office as well as the Health and Human Services Agency, and the Department of Finance. Section activities are integrated with other programs and projects within NEOPB.
Policy, Partnership, & Program Development Section:
The Policy, Partnership, & Program Development Section is comprised of two units: 1) Policy and Partnership Development; and 2) Program and Resource Development. This section provides leadership, training, technical assistance in the areas of nutrition, education, programs and curriculum, community engagement, and policy systems and environmental supports. Section staff facilitate relationships with public and private partnerships, stakeholders, and advisory bodies; and convene statewide meetings. Section activities are integrated with other programs and projects within NEOPB.
Program Support and Training Development & Support Section:
The Local Agency Support Section and the Training Development & Support Section provide leadership, training, and technical assistance to California's local health departments, partners, and contractors, with a focus on building community capacity to implement programs, policies, and environmental supports that reinforce healthy eating and physical activities, including allowable SNAP-Ed funded activities. Staff are responsible for reviewing and approving work plans and budgets; and for providing leadership and coordination for NEOPB statewide meetings and forums and the Childhood Obesity Conference. Section activities are integrated with other programs and projects within NEOPB.
Research and Evaluation Section:
The Research and Evaluation Section within NEOPB is responsible for planning and implementing formative and outcome evaluations of SNAP-Ed programs. This includes both state-level and local-level evaluation projects. This section is responsible for the conceptualization of evaluation goals and objectives, selection of appropriate evaluation designs and statistical techniques, development of data collection instruments, quality control measures, analytic methods, and interpreting and drawing conclusions related to intervention of the activity being evaluated. NEOPB utilizes a Geographic Information System (GIS) to strategically plan new interventions and identify geographic areas for targeting. Section activities are integrated with other programs and projects within NEOPB.