Track Descriptions

The Basic and Applied Research Track will provide evidence to help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic, especially among populations at highest risk for childhood obesity.  Sessions in this track will focus on policy and environmental changes to improve access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity among children and families, with a focus on school-based and after-school settings, the potential for large scale change, and evidence-based measures and tools for end users. Each session will showcase evidence-based strategies for policy and practice in the prevention of childhood obesity.

The Built Environment, Land Use and Transportation Track of the conference will provide relevant, readily applicable information on the relationship between childhood obesity and physical environments. Speakers will examine environmental change and policy efforts to support healthy eating and active living through the built environment. Sessions will address how community design impacts children's opportunities for daily physical activity and access to healthy food and beverage options. With an emphasis on lower socioeconomic communities, speakers will identify promising strategies and action steps to strengthen and accelerate efforts to create more healthful environments.

The Community Nutrition and Physical Activity Track will provide useful, in-depth information on increasing access to healthy food and physical activity opportunities in communities.  Sessions will explore progress in communities focused on environmental, policy, and organizational practice strategies in low-income, culturally diverse urban and rural areas.  Success stories of resident-based, multi-sector partnerships and community empowerment at both the local and statewide levels will be shared. Community-wide advocacy and engagement models will also be presented.  Speakers will address evidenced-based, replicable strategies to improve access to healthy eating and physical activity.

The Early Childhood Education Track focuses on the critical stage of human development during which the foundation is laid for future behaviors. The importance of the preschool, childcare, home, and community environments will be addressed with an emphasis on infant and child nutrition, physical activity and support systems. Sessions will cover successful practices for working with very young children and their families, innovative obesity prevention policies, education resources and interventions for promoting and supporting healthy eating, effective child feeding practices and active play in children from infancy to age five.

The Food Systems Track explores the impact of the food systems on a community’s physical, economic, social, and environmental health. Sessions spotlight national and local research, innovative policies and agricultural practices, grassroots and community efforts and emerging intervention strategies to combat health disparities, food insecurity, food access disparities, and environmental concerns across the entire food system.

The Health Care Approaches to Prevention Track offers the latest clinical information on prevention and treatment guidelines for childhood obesity as well as emerging trends in the health care field, both inside the clinic walls and as partners in community prevention. Sessions will focus on emerging national health care reform efforts and the emphasis on prevention. Health disparities among racially and ethnically diverse low-income children will be addressed. Speakers will present tools and resources for meeting individual health care needs related to childhood obesity and examine practices for population health.

The Marketing to Kids Track explores the health impact and techniques of food and beverage marketing on children and reveals a broad range of tactics targeting children, families and ethnic groups with messages that encourage the consumption of unhealthy foods and beverages. Sugary drink taxes, in-store and school marketing, food marketing regulations, and social marketing strategies that promote physical activity and healthier eating will be explored. Promising policy or intervention initiatives to protect children from unhealthful marketing will be shared such as the Let’s Move campaign, agricultural production and food systems efforts or other initiatives to assemble diverse stakeholders to combat unhealthful food marketing to children and its consequences.

The School, After School and Summer Programs and Policies Track highlights national, state and local strategies that make schools the heart of health. Speakers will address how they have “accelerated progress” towards childhood obesity prevention by changing the nutrition and physical activity environments for school age children in these key settings.