Turning great ideas into healthier communities

Issue Areas

Obesity Prevention

The obesity epidemic is a growing threat to our nation's long-term health, with communities of color and low-income populations disproportionately at risk. To reverse these trends, public health efforts must address the root causes of obesity, such as a lack of access to community environments that support healthincluding green spaces and parks, accessible and affordable healthy food and school lunches, and active transportation options. 

PHI is committed to advancing obesity prevention solutions, in both the U.S. and across the globe. Our experts have decades of experience in preventing obesity on the local, regional, national and global levelsfrom advocating for policies to increase access to healthy foods, curb tobacco use and promote physical activity, to building multi-sector partnerships with health care, business, education and government to broaden  prevention efforts. We believe in focusing on solutions that address the environmental and social determinants of health in order to advance equitable health solutions.

Our expertise includes:

  • Research: From studying which communities are most at risk and why in order to inform better obesity prevention strategies, to disease surveillance, our experts are available to support your research needs. 
  • Program development and management: PHI experts have led obesity prevention programs in local, regional, state-wide, and national settings. We are available to provide programmatic development support, or lead obesity prevention projects. 
  • Advancing policies to promote community health: We also specialize in developing and advocating for policies, at the local to international levels, to increase access to healthy foods and safe places to be physically active, along with other best practices in obesity prevention. 
  • Network and coalition building: Work with us to forge multi-sectoral partnerships with health care, business, education and government to broaden your obesity prevention efforts. We can help you create broad-reaching collaboratives for health that lift up local leaders' voices in the fight against obesity.  
  • Leadership development:  PHI will help you develop and launch leadership programs to strengthen local leaders and organizations to become effective change agents in the movement to build healthier communities in the fight against obesity. 


Resources and Tools

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Amy DeLisio

Amy DeLisio, MPH, RD is the director at the Public Health Institute Center for Wellness and Nutrition (CWN) and has over fourteen years of experien...

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Michael Dimock

Michael R. Dimock, president of Roots of Change Fund (ROC), is a national food movement organizer and thought leader on food and farming systems ne...

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Genoveva Islas

Genoveva Islas, MPH, directs Cultiva La Salud, which works to address poor nutrition and physical inactivity in the San Joaquin Valley by creating ...

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Christy McCain

Christy McCain, MPH, a project director with PHI, has more than 15 years of domestic and international health experience, including survey dev...

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Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra

Suzanne Ryan-Ibarra, PhD, MPH, is a Principal Investigator and Senior Research Scientist at the Public Health Institute. She has more than 10 years...

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Lynn Silver

Lynn Silver is a senior advisor at PHI for chronic disease and obesity. She works to enhance and strengthen PHI's portfolio of programs in chro...

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California Health Interview Survey

The California Health Interview Survey (CHIS), the nation's largest state health survey, is a collaboration of PHI, the California Department o...

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California Project LEAN

California Project LEAN (Leaders Encouraging Activity and Nutrition) is a program of the Public Health Institute. It works to advance nutrition and...

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CAN-Act (the California Association of Nutrition & Activity Programs) supports healthy eating and active living in California by providing lead...

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Center for Wellness and Nutrition

The Public Health Institute Center for Wellness and Nutrition recognizes the connections among local community environments, poor diet, physic...

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Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program

The Central California Regional Obesity Prevention Program (CCROPP) began in 2005 as a model program utilizing a policy and environmental change ap...

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Cultiva La Salud

As an initiative of the Racial and Ethnic Approaches to Community Health (REACH), Cultiva La Salud works in Fresno, Kern and Stanislaus counti...

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Dialogue4Health (D4H), a project of PHI, is a community that conceives, builds and shares strategies to improve the public's health. D4H p...

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Health in All Policies

The Health in All Policies Task Force is a collaborative project between the Public Health Institute, the California Department of Public Health, a...

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Network for a Healthy California, Supplemental Nutrition Education Program Education
(PHI program 1997-2015)

PHI partnered with the California Department of Public Health to implement the Network for a Healthy California (Network), the largest and most div...

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Public Health Alliance of Southern California

The Public Health Alliance of Southern California (Alliance) is a coalition of the executive leadership in local health departments in Southern Cal...

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Roots of Change

Roots of Change (ROC) is a think tank-and-do tank working to ensure emergence of a sustainable food system in California. ROC provides road maps to...

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Tracking California

Tracking California (formerly the California Environmental Health Tracking Program) compiles, analyzes, and shares data to identify and understand ...

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Here's How We're Making a Difference

Changing Health Behaviors

Photo by Tim Wagner/HEACThe Network for a Healthy California, the innovative nutrition education partnership with PHI and the California Department of Public Health, helped to drive a 92 percent increase in the number of low-income Californians eating recommended levels of fruits and vegetables, which is critical to prevent diet-related illness.

The Network’s work lives on as PHI’s Center for Wellness and Nutrition.



PHI Wins U.S. Obesity Data Challenge

How can data and communications help communities reverse the obesity epidemic? In August 2015 HealthData+, a partnership between PHI and Live Stories, won top prize at the U.S. Obesity Data Challenge. The HealthData+ tool is a simple, curated dashboard to help health officials tell a powerful story about the root causes of obesity. The dashboard provides customizable data visualizations at the national, state, and local level as well as an interactive map, national benchmarks, and written content to contextualize the data. 

View the tool.

PHI's CA4Health Changes Beverage Policies at Central Valley Head Start Centers

Photo credit: Tim Wagner

CA4Health, PHI’s statewide Community Transformation Grant covering rural and small California counties, worked with Head Start Centers across four Central Valley counties to adopt strong new healthy beverage standards to help give these children a head start to a healthier life.

As a result, 1,500 children through age five now drink water and unflavored milk (and breast milk for those up to 12 months) instead of soda, sports drinks, juice and juice drinks, and flavored milk.