Who We Are

Overweight and Obesity in San Diego County

Nationwide, concerns have been growing about the ongoing childhood obesity epidemic. In a community often referred to as “paradise,” people may be shocked to discover that many neighborhoods in San Diego County struggle with access to healthy, affordable food and opportunities for safe physical activity. Just over one in three children here are overweight or obese.

San Diego County faces the same challenges confronting other U.S. communities – ensuring that our neighborhoods have access to opportunities that promote optimal health for children and their families. In response to this challenge, we are taking direct action and in doing so, we have earned San Diego County a reputation for innovation, collaboration, and commitment to solving this issue.

San Diego County Childhood Obesity Action Plan

In October 2004, at the recommendation of County Supervisors Ron Roberts and Pam Slater-Price, the San Diego County Board of Supervisors voted unanimously to support and fund the creation, coordination and implementation of a county-wide plan to end childhood obesity. This effort expanded upon the work of the Coalition on Children and Weight San Diego, a grassroots organization dedicated to the prevention of childhood obesity, and was supported by Community Health Improvement Partners (CHIP), County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency (HHSA) staff, and other partners.

After a year-long process guided by a steering committee comprised of public and private stakeholders, the Call to Action: San Diego County Childhood Obesity Action Plan (Action Plan) was published in January 2006, and has since been revised in 2010 and 2015. The Action Plan emphasizes policy and environmental changes with the recognition that it is easier for individuals to make healthy choices to reduce and prevent childhood obesity when the physical and social environment in which they live supports these choices. The Action Plan provides strategy recommendations in the seven most influential domains (i.e., sectors) in creating healthy environments:

  • Government,
  • Healthcare,
  • Schools and After-school,
  • Early Childhood,
  • Community,
  • Media, and
  • Business.

San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative

Immediately following publication of the Action Plan, the San Diego County Childhood Obesity Initiative (COI) was formed to engage community partners and assure effective implementation of the strategies outlined in the plan. With core funding from the First 5 Commission of San Diego County and the County of San Diego HHSA, and additional capacity building funding from The California Endowment, CHIP was engaged to facilitate the COI. The COI is guided by a Leadership Council comprised of representatives from each of the seven domains as well as other key stakeholders from San Diego County.

The COI was established as a public-private partnership and this collaborative spirit continues to guide its work. Over the years, the COI has developed an infrastructure that includes active domain workgroups; engagement of volunteer leaders or “champions” in each domain; engagement of new and existing partners; organizational and project evaluation; and bi-annual domain council meetings, at which domain champions share their work and identify cross-domain collaborative opportunities. By engaging agencies, institutions, organizations, neighborhoods, and individuals to work together to combat childhood obesity, the COI is leveraging existing resources and promising practices. The COI continues to engage new and non-traditional partners to join the cause, bringing a wide range of viewpoints to the table and extending our impact.