Obesity Prevention Initiatives

Community Initiatives

Healthy Corner Stores

The department supports University of Missouri Extension–St. Louis to work with corner stores in their service region to increase accessibility of healthy foods and nutrition education to support behavior change among local residents. 

Click here to view the webinar Starved for Access: Understanding the Realities of Rural Grocery Stores presented by Kara Lubischer and Connie Mefford from University of Missouri Extension.
Webinar PowerPoint

For additional information about opportunities for working on healthy retail projects, please contact Pat Simmons at pat.simmons@health.mo.gov.

Maternal Child Health Program

More than 50 Missouri counties have selected obesity as a priority issue.  The local public health agencies (LPHAs) in these counties work on evidence-based system changes that will improve nutrition and activity status of their residents.  These contracts have resulted in the creation of walking trails community gardens and breastfeeding-friendly environments, improved school menus and healthy restaurant options and workplaces. 

Chronic Disease Primary Prevention Program

Similar to the MCH Program, the CDPP Program assists LPHAs with building the capacity to prevent chronic disease.  In 2013, four counties were funded to make policy and environmental changes to reduce three primary risk factors for developing chronic disesases: tobacco use, physical inactivity and unhealthy eating. Counties have been successful in creating walking trails, building community gardens, establishing farmers markets and improving the school nutrition environment, among other successes.

Worksite Lactation Accommodation

The Department supports LPHAs in their efforts to improve breastfeeding duration within their counties.  LPHAs assist local employers to create appropriate spaces for female employees to express breast milk at work. 


The Missouri Council for Activity and Nutrition (MoCAN) has been helping to coordinate the state’s prevention efforts and implement the state’s obesity prevention plan.  Representatives from over 45 organizations sit on the Council and participate in work groups.  The work groups are: Policy, Schools and Child Care, Health Care, Messages, Built Environment, Food Systems and Worksites. 
More information about the work of each group can be found at this address:   http://extension.missouri.edu/mocan/.

Communities Putting Prevention to Work Statewide Policy and Environmental Change Initiative

States received support through a cooperative agreement with CDC to promote state-wide policy and environmental changes that support and institutionalize healthy behaviors related to obesity control, nutrition, physical activity and tobacco control and prevention. Missouri’s goals for this work were to increase access to fresh fruits and vegetables and to increase the number of safe places to be physically active.


Fit WIC is a nationwide program to prevent childhood overweight in young children ages 2-5 in the WIC community. FITWIC encourages participants to engage in outdoor play through its goal of getting families more active.  Encourages parents walking or bicycling with children, participating in community physical activities, and centering family outings around physical activity.  http://www.dhss.mo.gov/WICLWP/FitWIC-MO.html

Child Care Initiatives  

Missouri Eat Smart Child Care Initiative

Through a partnership with the Child and Adult Care Food Program, the Team Nutrition Program and the Child Care Health Consultation Program, child care providers receive training and technical assistance to improve the nutritional quality of their menus and the environment in which meals are consumed.  More than 40 child care centers have been recognized as Eat Smart Centers.

I am Moving, I Am Learning

This is a specific initiative to increase physical activity in child care facilities.  Child care providers are trained to incorporate physical activity into their daily routines.

Missouri MOve Smart Child Care

Similar to the Eat Smart Initiative, child care providers are encouraged to adopt best-practices for incorporating policies and practices that encourage physical activity.  

Cooking Matters

Series of cooking classes for child care providers to help gain the skills and confidence needed to prepare healthier meals.

School Based Initiatives

Team Nutrition Program

Team Nutrition is an initiative of USDA Food and Nutrition Service.  Its goal is to improve children's lifelong eating and physical activity habits through training for child nutrition foodservice professionals, promoting quality nutrition curriculum in schools and child care facilities, and building school and community support for healthy school environments.  Missouri’s Team Nutrition Program is working on three interventions which are described below:

  1. HealthierUS School Challenge Training Intervention focuses on training school food service employees on meeting the HealthierUS School Challenge and providing HUSSC Coaching in 12 schools. 
  2. Evaluation of Local Wellness Policies
  3. Training Opportunities
    We partner with the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education to provide training to school food service professionals on implementing healthier menus and creating cafeteria environments that promote healthy behaviors.

Safe Routes to School Program State Network Project (in cooperation with MoDOT)

The project aims to increase physical activity among children by improving the environment and supporting policies to make it safe, convenient and fun for children to walk and bicycle to and from school.  DHSS is a member of the state network of partners that encourages communities to work on safe routes to school. http://www.modot.mo.gov/safety/saferoutestoschool.htm