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Obesity Coalition

Childhood Obesity Coalition

Health & Wellness Programs for Kids in East Tennessee

The Childhood Obesity Coalition was started in October 2008 led by East Tennessee Children's Hospital. Since then, the Coalition has grown to include more than 50 community agencies and organizations represented by over 130 individuals. The Coalition's mission is to improve the health of children through a community-wide coalition focusing on reducing the incidence of childhood obesity. The vision is to become one of America's fittest cities, a lofty goal which uses an ecological approach of interventions at all levels: individual, family, neighborhood, business, and rules and law. The goal is to reverse the trend of obesity, defined as >95.0 age and gender specific BMI percentile, among children. The Coalition's work is undertaken by three committees: Advocacy, Assessment and Outreach. We invite you or your organization to join a committee or participate in a variety of other ways. Working together we can improve the health of children and families.

To contact the Childhood Obesity Coalition call (865) 541-8218.


Obesity Coalition Programs

  • Health Happens! Preschool Program - The Health Happens! program is sponsored through a grant received from Blue Cross Blue Shield and is offered to preschools in the surrounding counties that meet grant requirements. This program is partnered with the University of Tennessee Department of Nutrition and Public Health. Health Happens! is a nutrition and physical activity program that includes parent and preschool teacher classes.
  • Healthy Kids Club - Healthy Kids Club is sponsored by the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Knoxville, Tennessee. This program is afterschool for elementary and middle school students. Healthy Kids Club consists of cardiovascular activities and strength building exercises along with nutrition information and tastes test that encourage students to build healthy habits at a young age.
  • Kids Can Bike - Kids can Bike is funded through a grant from the Ronald McDonald House Charities of Knoxville, Tennessee. It is in partnership with the City of Knoxville Parks & Recreation, Transportation Planning Organization, and University of Tennessee Department of Kinesiology. The purpose of this program is to encourage children to be active through bike riding, be safe while riding, and to enjoy Knoxville's greenways.
  • Grub Club - Grub Club is a partnership program sponsored by Keurig Green Mountain and Knox County Parks and Recreation. The Grub Club program teaches children about the importance of eating healthy food and how such food is grown and harvested. Grub Club includes educational lessons on gardening and nutrition education, taste tests, crafts, and fun, active games.
  • iRun - iRun is sponsored by Covenant Health Knoxville Marathon. The program teaches participants how to properly train for a race and how to fuel the body. The goal of iRun is to increase a child's physical activity level, educate on the importance of daily exercise and good nutrition, and the enjoyment of living a healthy lifestyle.

Facts About Childhood Obesity

A child who is overweight before the age of 8 is at risk for severe adult obesity.

  • 80% of children overweight at age 10-15 were obese adults at age 25
  • 25% of obese adults were overweight as children
  • 33.1% of Knox County students are overweight or obese

Obese children and adolescents have an increased risk for:

  • Heart disease
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Hypertension
  • Dyslipidemia
  • Stroke, liver & gallbladder disease
  • Sleep Apnea
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Gynecological problems
  • Cancers (breast, endometrial & colon)

Coalition Strategies to Fight Childhood Obesity

  1. Work with individuals, families, clinical settings, schools, communities and government to identify, manage, and ultimately prevent childhood obesity in the community.
  2. Create interventions and models for improvement that can be replicated throughout Tennessee and the nation.
  3. Perform research to learn more about the success of obesity prevention and treatment efforts.
  4. Partner with national experts to improve the care of children who are overweight and obese.
  5. Reduce childhood obesity by promoting policy change.
  6. Build awareness and educate the public about the problem of childhood obesity.
  7. Catalyze partnerships and encourage collaboration among existing community resources.
  8. Plant seeds of information and build momentum for action without being proscriptive.
  9. Ensure strategies emphasize policy and environmental changes and not just individual and family efforts.
  10. Research and provide culturally competent educational materials.
  11. Serve as a forum for speakers.
  12. Engage in outreach and media campaign.
  13. Support the creation of programs and existing programs with similar missions.
  14. Identify funding opportunities to support ongoing efforts.
  15. Facilitate opportunities for organizations and agencies of a like mind to partner on programs and activities that promote healthy lifestyle choices.

Obesity Coalition Partners

  • American Heart Association
  • Big Brothers Big Sisters
  • Blount Benefits
  • Blue Cross Blue Shield
  • Campbell County Schools
  • Cherokee Health Systems
  • Children's Hospital
  • Children's Museum of Oak Ridge
  • Clayton Homes
  • Coordinated School Health Anderson County
  • Coordinated School Health Knox County
  • Covenant Health
  • Down Syndrome Awareness Group
  • East Tennessee Discovery Center
  • FISH
  • Fitness Focus
  • Florence Crittenton Agency
  • Fort Sanders West Fitness
  • Girl Scouts
  • Girls on the Run
  • Greater Schools Partnership
  • Junior League of Knoxville
  • Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation
  • Knox County Board of Education
  • Knox County Commission
  • Knox County Health Department
  • Knox County Parks and Recreation
  • Knox County Schools
  • Knoxville Academy of Medicine
  • Knoxville Academy of Medicine Alliance
  • Knoxville Botanical Gardens
  • Knoxville City Council
  • Knoxville Community Development Corp.
  • Knoxville News Sentinel
  • Keurig Green Mountain, Inc.
  • League of Women Voters
  • Muse of Knoxville
  • New Harvest Park Farmer's Market
  • ORNL/UT Animal Science
  • Our Daily Bread of TN
  • Power Systems
  • Radio Systems Corp.
  • Ronald McDonald House Charities of Knoxville, Tennessee, Inc.
  • Safe Routes to School
  • Second Harvest
  • SuperNoots
  • Transportation Planning Organization
  • United Way of Greater Knoxville
  • UT Ag Extension
  • UT Eco Garden
  • UT Exercise Science
  • UT Farmer's Market
  • UT Gardens
  • UT Medical Center
  • UT Nutrition
  • UT Obesity Research Center
  • Volunteer State Health Plan
  • YMCA

Obesity Coalition Resources

Find links to additional information about fighting childhood obesity in Knoxville, Tennessee.

For Professionals

For Parents

Community Resources

For Teachers

For Kids