AAP Childhood Overweight and Obesity
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Partner with the Community

Image of a community sports facilityThe purpose of this portal is to create awareness around the role of our community in healthy active living.
This site will highlight some examples of how communities can positively impact health and provide resources on how pediatricians and families can work within the community to promote healthy active living.

Where children live, play and go to school, also known as their food and fitness environment, is an important component in determining whether they end up healthy or not. When children do not have access to a healthy environment, their health and quality of life are impaired. When we improve the food and fitness environment, the health of the children who live in that environment improves as well. Pediatricians and families can play a role in creating environments that support active healthy living.

Review a gallery of children's artwork as an example of a great way to engage children in healthy active living.


Healthy Community Design

A healthy community as described by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Healthy People 2010 report as one that continuously creates and improves both its physical and social environments, helping people to support one another in aspects of daily life and to develop to their fullest potential. Healthy places are those designed and built to improve the quality of life for all people who live, work, worship, learn, and play within their borders -- where every person is free to make choices amid a variety of healthy, available, accessible, and affordable options.

In April 2002, the American Planning Association identified six qualities that describe healthy community design. Communities that have a healthy design:

  • Have a unique sense of community and place
  • Preserve and enhance valuable natural and cultural resources
  • Equitably distribute the costs and benefits of development
  • Expand the range of transportation, employment, and housing choices in a fiscally responsible manner
  • Value long-range, region-wide sustainability rather than short- term, incremental, or geographically isolated actions
  • Promote public health and healthy communities

An excellent way to influence your community design is through policies. Policies can be defined as laws, regulations, and rules (both formal and informal). For more information about how to influence your community design visit the advocacy, schools, food and physical activity environment, health equity, and what is happening in your state sections of this Web site. Additional resources can be found at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's policy resources site as it provides a number of policy and legislation resources for professionals working in the physical activity, nutrition and obesity arenas.

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Community Pediatrics

What is Community Pediatrics

As clinicians you can play a role in promoting the
physical, mental, and social health and well-being of
all children in the communities they serve.
Community pediatrics is defined as all of the following:

  • A perspective that enlarges the pediatrician's focus from one child to all children in the community;
  • A recognition that family, educational, social, cultural, spiritual, economic, environmental, and political forces act favorably or unfavorably, but always significantly, on the health and functioning of children;
  • A synthesis of clinical practice and public health principles directed toward providing health care to a given child and promoting the health of all children within the context of the family, school, and community;
  • A commitment to use a community's resources in collaboration with other professionals, agencies, and parents to achieve optimal accessibility, appropriateness, and quality of services for all children and to advocate especially for those who lack access to care because of social, cultural, geographic, or economic conditions or special health care needs; and
  • An integral part of the professional role and duty of the pediatrician.

Excerpt from The Pediatrician's Role in Community Pediatrics
Pediatrics Vol. 115 No. 4 April 2005, pp. 1092-1094

The Academy offers a number of tools, resources, and grants to support pediatricians in engaging in community pediatrics.

Learn More


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