Our Impact

The San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative (COI), facilitated by Community Health Improvement Partners, has become recognized nationally as a model public-private partnership focused on obesity prevention. From 2005-2010, the collective efforts of the Initiative’s over 200 partners contributed to a 3.7% decrease in childhood obesity rates in San Diego County at a time when many California counties saw increases.



  • Completed and implemented re-designed domain work plans, enabling improved tracking of progress toward domain objectives.
  • Facilitated a strategic planning retreat resulting in key strategies in four operational infrastructure areas: (1) Demonstrated Impact/Evaluation; (2) Financial Stability; (3) Infrastructure & Partnerships; and (4) Identity and Marketing.
  • Facilitated domain workgroups to share best practices, develop partnerships, and leverage resources to create healthier environments within domains and the community at large. Built partnerships with more than 200 public and private agencies and individuals.
  • Released an updated and expanded San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative’s Call to Action: Childhood Obesity Action Plan.

The Government Domain engages government entities to incorporate health into all policies. Recent activities include:

  • Supported local municipalities to adopt municipal general plans and regulations that support health.
  • Hosted some of the country’s leading experts to explore the health and economic impacts of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSBs), and discuss innovative policy solutions to address the problem. These experts outlined current local, state, and federal policy initiatives to reduce access to and consumption of SSBs, and the impact of recent soda taxes implemented in Mexico and Berkeley, California. The panelists discussed the targeting by the beverage industry of demographic groups such as Latinos and African-Americans. Another speaker presented groundbreaking research looking at anticipated health impacts and positive financial return on investment of a national soda tax, and eliminating tax subsidies for advertising unhealthy food, including SSB’s, to youth. Experts included Harold Goldstein, DrPH, Kimber Stanhope, PhD, RD, Xavier Morales, PhD, MRP, and Michael Long, SD.
  • Conducted a policy scan of San Diego County municipal governments, compiling a listing of policies, regulations, and codes related to safe routes to healthy places (utilizing Circulate San Diego’s data) and sugary sweetened beverages.
The Healthcare Domain engages healthcare stakeholders to support and advocate for healthy systems, policies, and environmental changes. Recent activities include:

  • With partners from American Red Cross WIC program and Scripps Health, facilitated trainings for healthcare providers and staff members to ensure consistent messaging and enhance breastfeeding environments for pregnant women and new mothers.
  • Encouraged providers to adopt 5-2-1-0 messaging. Messaging has been adopted by the AAP and several major healthcare systems.
  • Oversaw the work of the Nutrition and Healthcare Leadership Team (see details in CHIP Food System section.)
The School and After-School Domain supports school staff, teachers, administrators, and community residents in promoting nutrition and physical activity opportunities in schools and neighborhoods. Recent activities include:

  • Convened District Representatives and identified opportunities where they could provide technical assistance to school districts on local school wellness policies.
  • Identified and assigned 16 San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative partners to districts across San Diego County.
  • Updated the school wellness policy clearinghouse with current wellness policies from 40 San Diego County school districts including example policy language in 24 categories.
  • Facilitated the San Diego County Farm to School Taskforce- comprised of more than 40 members, including more than half of San Diego County’s 42 school districts, two regional distributors, and four local farms- to increase consumption of local, healthful, seasonal foods, and improve food literacy in San Diego County school districts.
  • Hosted a USDA Procurement Training for school districts on incorporating preference for local foods in competitive produce solicitations. The training was attended by over 30 people representing over 15 SD County school districts.
  • Worked one-on-one with two school districts to successfully incorporate language giving preference to high quality, nutritious, local produce in the districts’ competitive produce solicitations.
  • Completed an assessment of Wellness Councils in San Diego County to determine the strength of their physical activity and beverage language in their school wellness policies.
  • Worked in conjunction with CHIP Food Systems department on the 2015 State of Farm to School in San Diego County Report and 2014-2015 Farm to School District Profiles for all San Diego County school districts, and two surveys important for advancing farm to institution work in San Diego County (see food systems section below).
  • Conducted a Local Control Accountability Plan workshop to help participants to gain a better understanding of the LCAP and priority areas. The workshop encouraged schools to include support for healthy school environments in the LCAP to improve school climate and student outcomes and strengthen engagement of students and parents. Sixteen school districts and fourteen community organizations were represented.
The Early Childhood Domain supports parents, teachers, and childcare providers in promoting nutrition and physical activity among young children. Recent activities include:

  • Created a Wellness Champion designation that family child care homes and centers can receive upon meeting certain criteria related to nutrition and physical activity.  To date, 109 family child care homes and centers have received the designation with an additional 51 sites on a wait list.
  • Provided comments on the USDA’s Food and Nutrition Services proposed meal pattern, which would better align the meal pattern with the 2010 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, by requiring more whole grains, a greater variety of fruits and vegetables, and less sugar and fat.
The Community Domain enlists and empowers community organizations and residents to create healthier environments in their neighborhoods. Recent activities include:

  • Developed and piloted a GIS mapping tool that provides historical context of community advocacy and engagement efforts throughout San Diego County. The map will help residents identify advocacy their community and provide opportunities for peer-to-peer networking.

The Media Domain provides ongoing outreach efforts about policy and environmental change as they relate to childhood obesity and building healthier communities. Recent activities include:

  • Disseminated over 12,500 5-2-1-0 outreach materials throughout San Diego County and thousands more via COI partners.
  • Connected with and promoted partners’ efforts and communicated breaking public health news through social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and YouTube. Since their launch, the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative’s social media accounts have amassed more than 1,300 followers.
  • Created a success story template that can be used by all domains to capture their successful collaborative efforts. Engaged domain champions in a storytelling train-the-trainer session to further support efforts to promote San Diego County Childhood Obesity efforts.
The Business Domain inspires the San Diego business community to provide opportunities for a healthier workplace, workforce, and community. Recent activities include:

  • Surveyed 42 San Diego County school districts, representing 100% of all school meals served in the county, to gather farm to school data and provide market information to growers and distributors interested in school food services; published results in the second annual State of Farm to School in San Diego County Report.
  • Hosted the 3rd annual LGL Produce Showcase on October 23rd at the Leichtag Foundation in Encinitas (see food systems section below).
  • Facilitated the Nutrition in Healthcare Leadership Team (NHLT), a consortium representing 22 area hospitals working to advance healthful, sustainable food and beverage practices in healthcare. The NHLT works to engage medical institutions in adopting Healthy Beverage and Vending standards that were jointly developed in line with the COI over-arching strategy of limiting consumption of and access to sugar sweetened beverages.
  • Worked with NHLT members to explore sourcing antibiotic free meats and group purchasing for hospital food service. As a result of the efforts, 2 major healthcare systems began purchasing antibiotic free poultry.
  • The Let’s Go Local! Produce Showcase, was hosted on Oct. 23rd in conjunction with Food Day and brought together institutional buyers and sellers of local food together to develop face-to-face business relationships. Over 200 attendees from schools, hospitals, community orgs, higher ed., childcare, restaurants, and more met nearly 50 exhibitors including local farms, produce distributors, and educational partners.       A 6-month follow-up survey on the impact of the 2014 Let’s Go Local! Produce Showcase found that over 25% of attending sellers (growers and distributors) developed new business relationships with clients met at the Showcase. Other positive impacts included an increase in knowledge of F2S opportunities, distributors now highlighting and/or labeling locally-grown products, and increasing sales of local food to existing clients.