Member to Member

In your Title V program, how do you promote positive nutrition and reduce obesity in children [working in partnership] with Women, Infants and Children (WIC) Program, Chronic Disease Directors and Public Health Nutrition? 

Joan Wightkin, DrPH
Maternal & Child Health Program Director
Louisiana Office of Public Health, DHH

The MCH and CSHCN programs in Louisiana share a full time Registered Dietitian (RD) assigned from the Public Health Nutrition Program (which includes the WIC Program). This RD serves on the Louisiana Obesity Council, created by state legislation. The Council was instrumental in helping to pass several pieces of legislation, including: the requirement of physical activity for students (K-8, at least 30 minutes per day) and establishment of School Health Advisory Councils in each city, parish and other local public school board; an amendment to the 2005 School Vending Bill to provide 100 percent (previously 50 percent) of high school beverages adhere to healthy guidelines; providing for health-related fitness assessments to determine physical fitness levels of students in schools. 

MCH is planning a childhood obesity prevention program in childcare programs across the state. The childcare program will include a Registered Dietitian working with childcare settings to implement the Nutrition and Physical Activity Self- Assessment for Child Care program, designed to enhance policies, practices, and environments in child care by improving the nutritional quality of food served, the amount and quality of physical activity, staff-child interactions, and the facility nutrition and physical activity policies and practices and related environmental characteristics.  

Linda Kenney, MPH
Director, Bureau of Family Health
Kansas Department of Health and Environment

Kansas Keeps Moving! We have a long history of promoting healthy food choices and behaviors to reduce childhood obesity. In collaboration with WIC and other public health partners, we provide consumer education materials via our website. We facilitate continuing education for local and state staff on breastfeeding management and support, appropriate methods of obtaining and monitoring anthropometric measurements and the latest research surrounding childhood obesity. Every year, we pitch in on Kansas Kids Fitness day, a statewide event to promote physical activity among third-grade students. 

Kansas shares information regarding childhood obesity, physical activity promotion, and healthful eating with local staff through newsletter articles and e-mails. Educational resource materials that promote healthy food choices, family meals, and physical activity for families are made available to all local health departments. We help health departments identify funding streams to support nutrition and physical activities at the community level.   

Deborah Aquino
Title V Maternal & Child Health Program Manager
Bureau of Child, Family and Community Wellness
Nevada State Health Division 

Our Title V program is working with many of our partners to address the growing problem of childhood obesity. We work closely with the Breastfeeding Coordinator from Nevada WIC in order to promote healthy nutrition from the start. We also recognize that in order to choose preventive activities and interventions that will work for our population, we need to assess the scope of the problem and identify what is already working well. For the third year, the Title V program has partnered on a kindergarten survey that includes collecting BMI information. Our Wellness Coordinator has worked with our State Health Officer to develop recommendations based on findings from a 2009 State Legislative mandated collection of height and weight data from a representative sample of Nevada’s fourth, seventh and 10th-grade students. Among their recommendations are implementing a Statewide School Wellness Rating System that would allow Nevada to evaluate the implementation level of the State’s School Wellness Policy implemented in 2005. Lastly, Nevada’s Chronic Disease Coalitions and others continue to advocate on behalf of our children for healthier school lunches, adequate time for recess and physical education in our schools and safe routes to schools for biking and walking.   

Cathy R. Taylor, DrPH, MSN, RN
Assistant Commissioner
Tennessee Department of Health

Tennessee’s Title V, WIC, Chronic Disease and Nutrition sections are aligned with state and federal initiatives to combat child obesity. Comprehensive health promotion, WIC services and nutrition counseling are provided in all of Tennessee’s 95 county health departments. Providers, home visitors and TennderCare/Medicaid outreach staff facilitate referrals to WIC, participate in initiatives such as Coordinated School Health and the Gold Sneaker program (recognized as a best practice by the National Governor’s Association for promoting healthy innovations in child care centers). Also, a statewide awareness program, called GetFitTN was created to address the rising epidemic of Type 2 diabetes and risk factors that lead to diabetes, like obesity. This program includes an interactive website,, which features interactive games and trivia to teach kids and adults to choose healthy foods and portion sizes and has tips on ways to move more throughout the day. The website also includes sample lesson plans for teachers who want to incorporate fitness and nutrition information into the classroom. An additional program, Project Diabetes, is a $22 million initiative administered by the chronic disease and nutrition staff to target diabetes and obesity reduction via locally-designed and implemented programs across the state. Lastly, there are exciting new Title V-HRSA grantee collaborations that have produced opportunities for provider-focused nutrition and fitness education. For example, one promising collaboration targets obesity prevention among children and youth with special health care needs and their families.