Nearly one in six children in the U.S. is obese, representing a serious public health problem, and contributing to increased risks for many chronic conditions later in life. Obesity is also an issue that often affects low-income families facing multiple social challenges, including poverty, early adversity, and trauma. Bringing together public health and Medicaid leaders provides an opportunity to leverage their respective strengths to advance interventions aimed at this epidemic.

This brief describes cross-sector interventions tested by five states participating in the Center for Health Care Strategies’ Innovations in Childhood Obesity initiative — Arizona, Maryland, Oklahoma, Oregon, and Texas. Opportunities for cross-sector collaboration emerging from this work include: (1) training peer health workers within communities; (2) adopting childhood obesity incentive measures; (3) establishing school partnerships with Medicaid and public health; and (4) embedding dietitians in community settings.

Innovations in Childhood Obesity and this brief are made possible by Kaiser Permanente Community Benefit.