The mission of IHW is to prevent and address overweight and obesity. We work with partners to improve the social, political, and physical environment to make healthy eating and active living easier choices for all residents. IHW will lead the state in achieving the objectives in Eat Smart Move More RI: A Plan for Action 2010-2015.
Since 2000, preventing obesity and related chronic diseases has been a priority for the Rhode Island Department of Health. Rhode Island was one of the first six states to receive funding from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to develop a coordinated obesity prevention infrastructure. The Department of Health started the Initiative for a Healthy Weight program to lead the state in making it easier for Rhode Islanders to eat well and Move More.
By building infrastructure, our staff and our partners’ expertise and resources is used to implement statewide nutrition and physical activity policies and interventions. We do this by providing training to our partners and sharing best practices, improving communication and building partnerships around obesity prevention, and developing action plans with our partners to address obesity in a coordinated way.
We believe, and research shows, that behavior change is more likely to take place and continue when the environment makes it easier for people to make the healthy choice. We develop and manage specific, evidence-based programs and initiatives with the goals of increasing physical activity and improving nutrition by changing the policies, systems, or environments that prevent people from making better choices.
We track and share obesity, physical activity, and nutrition trends in the state and make recommendations for programs and policies that will improve these trends. We produce reports on the state of obesity and related risk factors, as well as reports on obesity prevention efforts in Rhode Island.