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Robert Wood Johnson Foundation to Invest $500M Over 10 Years in Childhood Obesity Research

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation will commit $500 million over the next decade to target childhood obesity across the country, organization officials announced earlier this month in New York City. RWJF is the nation's largest philanthropy devoted solely to public health

This investment builds on another $500 million commitment the foundation, headquartered in Plainsboro, NJ, made in 2007, bringing the total to more than $1 billion to reverse childhood obesity rates among those most impacted.

"By 2025, we want to ensure that children in America grow up at a healthy weight, no matter who they are or where they live," RWJF President and CEO Risa Lavizzo-Mourey said in the organization’s official announcement. "We have made substantial progress, but there is far more to do and we can't stop now.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, obesity has more than doubled in children and quadrupled in adolescents over the past 30 years. In 2012, more than one third of children and adolescents were overweight or obese. RWJF officials say research shows rates may be decreasing among the nation's youngest children; Women's Sports Foundation research, notably Her Life Depends On It II, examines the critical role sports and physical activity play in the prevention and reversal of childhood obesity.

New RWJF initiatives will include identifying strategies to help eliminate the health disparities that contribute to higher obesity rates among children of color and those living in poverty.

The foundation will also focus on ways to ensure children enter kindergarten at a healthy weight, make a physical activity a part of children's everyday routine, eliminate consumption of sugar-sweetened beverages among children up to five years old and make nutritious food and beverages affordable.

In addition to its commitment to fighting childhood obesity and promoting public health, the RWJF also presents the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy, an honor that acknowledges sports organizations and individual sports philanthropies that have demonstrated excellence, leadership, and a sustained commitment toward a mission that serves and improves the lives of others. In 2012, the Women’s Sports Foundation was a proud recipient of this honor, recognizing our Travel & Training Fund and GoGirlGo! grants, as well as our research initiatives.