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Center for Family health

CDPH Promotes Healthy Eating and Active Living

On September 28, 2022, the Biden Administration hosted the White House Conference on Hunger, Nutrition, and Health.  The White House has set a goal of ending hunger and increasing healthy eating and physical activity by 2030, so that fewer Americans experience diet-related diseases like diabetes, obesity, and hypertension.

It has been more than 50 years since the White House has held a conference of this kind.  That pivotal conference led to the creation of important programs like the National School Lunch Program and the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC). The Administration released a new National Strategy (PDF) that identifies steps the federal government will take and activates the public and private sectors to address the connections among food, hunger, nutrition, and health. The new national strategy is built around five pillars, listed below.

CDPH is home to the Center for Healthy Communities and the Center for Family Health, which have exemplary programs focusing on promoting healthy eating and active living, as well as on innovative chronic disease prevention and control.  

1. Improve food access and affordability

  • CDPH has modernized the California WIC program shopping experience with an Electronic Benefits Transfer (EBT) card and app, enabled video and phone appointments, and utilized digital outreach strategies to increase participation among eligible and enrolled WIC families.
  • Since 2021, as part of a provision in the American Rescue Plan, WIC families have received an increased monthly cash-value benefit to buy more fruits and vegetables which was paired with a statewide digital outreach campaign to promote the consumption of fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy diet.
  • CDPH's CalFresh Healthy Living program, funded by USDA SNAP-Ed, implements policy, systems, and environmental level (PSE) change initiatives throughout the state to improve food access through retail store initiatives, farmers markets, and improved local food systems.
  • CDPH's CalFresh Healthy Living program works with schools and child care sites across the state to ensure strong nutrition standards and healthy food procurement including farm to school initiatives.

2. Integrate nutrition and health

  • CDPH's CalFresh Healthy Living program funds the Champion Provider Fellowship, a program that trains, empowers, and supports health care providers to improve the health of their communities beyond the clinic.
  • CDPH's CalFresh Healthy Living program funds work in health care settings to support growing fresh fruits and vegetables onsite, hosting food pantries for patients, aligning with fruit and vegetable prescription programs, and bringing farmers markets into clinics.
  • As part of the certification process, California's WIC local agencies screen participants for nutritional risk and food insecurity at no cost. WIC provides referrals to health and community services as needed.
  • CDPH's Black Infant Health (BIH) and Comprehensive Perinatal Service Program (CPSP) provides food insecurity screenings throughout a woman's pregnancy and supports referrals for family to the WIC program and the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP).
  • CDPH's California Home Visiting Program and the Adolescent Family Life Program provide nutrition education and screen and connect families with services to increase food security.

3. Empower all consumers to make and have access to healthy choices

  • CDPH develops practical nutrition education for WIC families by experts who specialize in maternal and early childhood nutrition and breastfeeding preparation and support.
  • CDPH has invested in WIC online nutrition education and remote breastfeeding counseling and makes available WIC nutrition education content that is mobile-friendly, multilingual, diverse, culturally appropriate, and compliant with Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) requirements.

4. Support physical activity for all

  • As part of WIC's nutrition education, CDPH offers physical activity education and promotion tailored for young children (ages 1 through 4 years) and for people who are pregnant or postpartum.
  • CDPH's CalFresh Healthy Living program supports increased physical activity opportunities and access including active transportation policy supports like Safe Routes and Complete Streets in communities.
  • CDPH's CalFresh Healthy Living program works in schools and early childcare settings to promote active school days through active recess and physical activity in the classroom.    
  • CDPH provides staffing and technical support to The Governor's Advisory Council on Physical Fitness and Mental Well-Being, a newly convened Council led by Co-Chairs First Partner Jennifer Siebel Newsom and Ronnie Lott. The Council's mission is to promote the physical fitness and mental well-being of all Californians at all ages.

5. Enhance nutrition and food security research

  • CDPH publishes research and data on nutrition, breastfeeding, maternal and infant behaviors, public policy, and food policy related to WIC.
  • CDPH's CalFresh Healthy Living program evaluates the effectiveness of multi-level, multi-sector public health approaches to increase access to and consumption of health foods
  • CDPH's State Physical Activity and Nutrition program examines the effectiveness of evidence-based strategies at state and local levels to improve nutrition and physical activity.​

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