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A newly formed coalition of over 22 organizations has set out to identify and support policy that will have the most impact on the obesity epidemic. Over the past year they have identified priorities and secured legislation for each one.

During the 80th Legislative session 6 priorities were identified and 2 months into the session, there were bills filed that addressed each of these priorities. The Partnership for a Healthy Texas: Conquering Obesity collaborated with both the House and the Senate to turn five of these six bills into law.


Guiding Principles

  • The Partnership began over in 2006 when key individuals from American Cancer Society, American Diabetes, American Heart Association, Texas Medical Association, Texas Pediatrics Society, as well as Texas Action for Healthy Kids determined they could be most effective in having an impact if they banded together, identified specific issues they had in common and worked cohesively to develop policy to address those issues. At the same time, the Texas Department of State Health Services was working to identify ways to implement their statewide obesity plan. Obesity was identified as a high priority issue for each organization involved and with the help of Methodist Healthcare Ministries and the Texas Health Institute, the August 2006 Obesity Health Policy Forum was held. Over the subsequent months, the group expanded to include other organizations involved in promoting the health of Texans.
    After the Obesity forum, the Partnership met and identified six priorities to focus on for the 80th legislative session. Working with Senator Jane Nelson, four of the six priorities were addressed in the Senate‚Äôs Health and Human Services Interim Report. The Partnership subsequently held two events at the Capitol to bring targeted information on the obesity epidemic to the attention of legislators. In December, Deanna Hoelscher, Director of the Michael and Susan Dell Center for Advancement of Healthy Living demonstrating the serious obesity challenge facing Texas school children by sharing the most recent School Physical Activity and Nutrition (SPAN) data.  In January 2007, the Partnership brought together research experts that were involved in the development of a state-wide policy document called the Texas Obesity Policy Portfolio which identifies evidence based policy and initiatives that have proven to have a positive impact on fighting obesity.
    After the January forum, the Partnership began working with individual legislators to provide information and insight into the issues involved in nutrition, physical education and activity, and worksite wellness.
    The six priorities identified by the Partnership were:

    • Codifying the Texas School Nutrition policy into Texas Law
    • Requiring physical education for every grade K-12
    • Funding to implement coordinated school health programs as mandated in legislation along with a comprehensive obesity prevention and control program statewide
    • Strengthening the implementation of and improving accountability for current legislation
    • Comprehensive nutrition and physical activity public awareness campaign, including the Texas Fruit and Vegetable Month Proclamation
    • Promoting worksite wellness programs

    Legislation was passed on five of the six priorities by the end of the session. Progress was made toward the objectives on the sixth priority through meetings with staff from the appropriate state agency.

    In the fall of 2007, the Partnership began its second initiative, first developing recommendations for interim studies and submitting them to the appropriate legislative entities. Second, the Partnership is supporting the state-wide Live Smart Texas coalition in their development of an agenda to implement the state obesity plan. The Partnership volunteered to be the policy arm for this endeavor. Third, the Partnership has convened workgroups to identify program gaps and funding needs to begin establishing legislative priorities for the next Texas legislative session.

    The Partnership is now a recognized and valued partner in the fight against obesity and will continue to have a strong influence on Texas policy. We believe that all organizations have something to contribute and  working together we can have a successful impact on obesity issues.

Partnership for a Healthy Texas
Texas Health Institute

8501 N. MoPac Expressway, Suite 420
Austin, Texas 78759
(512) 279-3905


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