Obesity Prevention

Updated:Jul 13,2012

The American Heart Association covers many areas when it comes to heart disease and stroke (see list at right). The current priority is for quality physical activity and strong nutrition policies and programs and further research to effectively treat and prevent obesity.

Support Physical Activity and Healthy Eating in the School Environment 

  • Promote efforts within the school environment that will lead to increased physical activity and healthy eating. 
  • Require that quality health education is provided to all students as an integral part of K-12 education. 
  • Require physical activity, in addition to physical education, be incorporated into the school day. 
  • Require nutrition policies that are consistent with the beverage, snack and reimbursable meal guidelines for the Healthy Schools Program. 
  • Support the creation and/or strengthening of school health councils, Coordinated School Health programs and wellness policies.

Support Physical Activity and Healthy Eating in the Community Environment 

  • Promote efforts within the community environment that will lead to increased physical activity and healthy eating. 
  • Promote built environments that integrate physical activity into daily life. 
  • Provide increased access to healthy foods and provide safe routes to schools and school sites that offer walking/biking options for most students. 
  • Create and maintain a wellness environment in the workplace. 
  • Provide calorie information on menus and menu boards at point-of-purchase and the development and implementation of a consumer education campaign to help people “know their energy needs” for recommended daily calorie intake and food and beverage serving sizes. 
  • Reduce trans fats - through a phased-in approach - in packaged foods, baked goods, restaurant meals and school meal programs, provided healthy alternatives and practical guidance are taken into consideration.

Require Quality Physical Education with Minimum Standards in Schools

  • Require, through the implementation and enforcement of appropriate standards, that quality physical education is provided to all students as an integral part of K-12 education. 
  • Recommended minimum standards for elementary students is at least 150 minutes during each school week and at least 225 minutes per week for middle school students and that successfully meeting minimum standards in physical education is a requirement for high school graduation. 
  • Provide that states develop standards for student learning in physical education that reflect the National Standards and that physical education is delivered by certified/licensed physical education teachers. 
  • Monitor policies that establish fitness testing and assess student knowledge gain within quality physical education programs.

For more information about the policies on this page, please contact Carter Headrick, 512.423.5733


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Advocacy Contacts

The American Heart Association/American Stroke Association advocates for sound public policy strategies aimed at reducing heart disease and stroke. We have government relations teams in all 50 states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia. Learn who your federal and state staff contacts are and how to reach them about policy issues.