By AMERICAN HEART ASSOCIATION NEWS

Girl playing on playground

A new study from the American Journal of Public Health found that states where organizations received grants to implement the Voices for Healthy Kids campaign are passing more policies and legislation to reduce childhood obesity and improve community health.

There was an increase in childhood obesity bills the year after the campaign began, the study found. States where organizations received and implemented campaign activities enacted more legislation to curb childhood obesity, improve the nutritional value of school snacks and beverages and increase access to healthy foods, according to the study, which was published in March.

States with active Voices for Healthy Kids campaigns enacted 50 percent more state policies than they did before the campaign was implemented in 2013.

Public education, outreach and advocacy efforts have contributed to the uptick in childhood obesity legislation, according to the study, especially in low-income areas. The campaign offers dedicated staff and consultants who give legal and strategic assistance.

Voices for Healthy Kids is a joint initiative of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the American Heart Association. It provides grants to organizations already involved in childhood obesity to encourage additional legislation. RWJF funds non-lobbying activities and the AHA funds lobbying activities for a portion of the campaigns.