Nutrition and Physical Activity

Poor nutrition and lack of physical activity are modifiable unhealthy behaviors that contribute to overweight and obesity. These chronic conditions, along with others such as heart disease, diabetes and stroke cause preventable illnesses and lead to early deaths. Engaging in healthy lifestyle habits such as healthy eating and physical activity are essential to the prevention and treatment of chronic diseases. Regular physical activity and healthy eating also increases overall health. The Dietary Guidelines and Physical Activity Guidelines serve as recommendations to guide Americans to increase their health and live their best lives.

The Nutrition and Physical Activity program is committed to promoting healthy eating and physical activity in Georgia by implementing environmental approaches and policies. We seek to encourage all Georgians to consume a variety healthy foods and be physically active to elicit lifelong healthy habits. In turn, this can help reduce the prevalence of chronic conditions, promote healthy weights and increase overall well-being throughout all life stages.

Georgia Facts

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Georgia State Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity Profile for 2017 reported:

  • Adults (18 years and older): 30.5% were obese and 50.8% achieved at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise each week
  • Adolescents (grades 9-12): 17.1% of adolescents were obese and 24.7% exercised for at least 60 minutes on all 7 days of the past week
  • Children (aged 2 to 4): 15.0% of children in the Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program were overweight, 73.7% of infants were never breastfed and 45.8% of infants were breastfed for at least 6 months

For the CDC's Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity full profile of Georgia click here.

Georgia DPH Program Highlights

The Chronic Disease Prevention Section works with early care education centers, schools, and worksites to promote nutrition and physical activity. There are great programs in Georgia that are making a difference in the community! 

Growing Fit

The Georgia Department of Public Health (DPH) and partners Georgia SHAPE and HealthMPowers, Inc. created Growing Fit, a free nutrition and physical activity training and toolkit targeting early childhood educators and staff. DPH and HealthMPowers, Inc. serve as Growing Fit trainers and the Growing Fit Kit guide early care educators in developing wellness policies that promote good nutrition and physical activity. These policies support early care centers in modeling healthy eating and physical activity practices daily, as well as teach families to adopt these healthy behaviors at home.

In just four short years, DPH and HealthMPowers, Inc., have trained 232 Georgia early childhood educators in Growing Fit. These educators come from 94 early childhood education centers reaching 7,785 children aged zero to five across the state. For more information on the Growing Fit program, please click here.

For facts about childhood obesity in Georgia, please click here.

 School Health Summits

School Health Summits were created by the Georgia Department of Public Health, Georgia SHAPE, Georgia Health Policy Center, HealthMPowers, Inc., and other partners to reduce chronic conditions and promote healthy behaviors in school-aged children. The School Health Summits are free one-day trainings that target school leaders in developing and implementing nutrition and physical activity policies. Additionally, the event includes fun, interactive activities and student panel discussions. Attendees are provided with resources for school-aged children and a Physical Activity and Nutrition Toolkit that was created by DPH and partners Georgia Health Policy Center and Georgia Shape. The toolkit is for Georgia Public Schools and School Districts to assist school leaders in policy development.

In 2017, there were two School Health Summits with a total of 78 attendees consisting of 60 adults and 18 students from 12 districts. Some of the attendees represented were teachers, school nutrition coordinators, administrators, physical activity teachers and students.

For the High School YRBS health facts in Georgia, please click here.

Georgia. Working on Health

The Georgia Department of Public Health created the new Georgia. Working on Health initiative in 2016 to promote healthier worksite environments. The Chronic Disease Prevention team works to encourage worksites to take the pledge, which includes creating a healthy eating environment, promoting physical activity, supporting breastfeeding, and becoming tobacco free. Taking the pledge allows worksites access to the Georgia. Working on Health network, ongoing policy development resources and the Work Healthy Georgia toolkit. Additionally, the CDP team encourages worksites implement policies and partner with health care extenders for screening and referrals in their worksites.

Georgia. Working on Health has been able to get 58 worksites in 16 counties to take the pledge to create healthier work environments. For more information on Georgia. Working on Health, please click here.

DPH Program Toolkits

The Georgia Department of Public Health and partners have developed toolkits for early care providers, schools, and worksites to use after training sessions. Click on a toolkit to learn how to improve your early care center, school, and/or worksite wellness policies.

For more information please contact:
Esther N. Mune, PhD, MPH
Nutrition and Physical Activity Program Manager
esther.mune@dph.ga.gov

Additional Resources

2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans

CDC Body Mass Index (BMI)

CDC Early Care and Education Obesity Strategies

Georgia Working on Health Assessment Tool

Healthy People 2020 Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Physical Activity Basics and Guidelines for Americans

School Health Index (SHI)

Wellness at Work 

Page last updated 08/31/17