Fighting Obesity in Arizona: Programs and Initiatives Making a Difference

June 13, 2023

Obesity remains a major health issue in Arizona, affecting over 30% of adults and leading to other chronic diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. This puts a significant burden on the healthcare system and the overall health of the community. However, the Arizona Department of Health Services (ADHS) has implemented several programs and initiatives to address this issue and promote healthy habits.

One of the key initiatives is the Arizona Nutrition Network (AzNN), which is a statewide program that aims to increase access to healthy food and promote nutrition education. The program works with local organizations, schools, and communities to provide resources and support for healthy food choices. AzNN also offers training and technical assistance to help organizations and businesses develop healthy food policies and practices.

Another crucial program is the Healthy Food Financing Initiative (HFFI), which is a public-private partnership that provides funding and technical assistance to businesses and organizations that want to open or expand healthy food retail outlets in underserved areas. This helps to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and other healthy options in areas where they are not readily available. HFFI has helped to open several new grocery stores and farmers' markets in Arizona, particularly in low-income and rural areas.

In addition to these statewide programs, there are also several local organizations that offer resources and support for those struggling with obesity. For example, the Greater Phoenix Urban League (GPUL) offers a variety of programs and services that promote healthy habits, including nutrition education, cooking classes, and fitness programs. Additionally, the Tucson Medical Center (TMC) has a comprehensive weight management program that provides personalized plans and support for individuals who are struggling with obesity.

While the issue of obesity remains a challenge in Arizona, the government and local organizations are working to provide resources and promote healthy habits to improve the overall health of the community. By increasing access to healthy food and promoting nutrition education and physical activity, we can help to prevent and manage obesity and its associated health risks.