Balance 2008 Mid-Year Report: A report on state action to promote nutrition, increase physical activity and prevent obesity.

Publication Date: March 2009

Publisher: Albemarle State Policy Center; Robert Wood Johnson Foundation


Research Area: Health

Type: Report


As in past years, the main focus of both federal and state legislation remains children’s access to nutritious foods and opportunities for physical activity within the school system. Lawmakers also introduced a significant number of measures to create obesity-prevention related task forces.

The legislative action taken by state lawmakers during the first half of 2008 to address the obesity crisis is consistent with their efforts on this issue over the past five years. However, from January to June 2008 only 32 laws related to obesity prevention were enacted—and only 15 of the 39 state legislatures that introduced or acted on legislation actually passed measures.

The dearth of new laws seems to reflect a concern recently voiced by Risa Lavizzo-Mourey, president and CEO of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, when she “urged policy-makers at all levels of government to think about the long-term impact of the decisions they make or choose not to make.”

While the enacted laws were few in number, many of the laws that were passed and introduced in the state legislatures have strong potential to help create healthier schools and communities. Details about these measures are explained and presented in the 2008 Mid-Year Balance report.