Intended for healthcare professionals

Analysis Making Multisectoral Collaboration Work

Voices for Healthy Kids: a multisectoral collaboration to accelerate policy changes that promote healthy weight for all children and adolescents in the United States

BMJ 2018; 363 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.k4763 (Published 07 December 2018) Cite this as: BMJ 2018;363:k4763
  1. Emily A Callahan,, consultant1,
  2. Marla Hollander, national partnerships manager2,
  3. Diana V McGhie, global advocacy manager2,
  4. Sarah Simpson, consultant3,
  5. Jill Birnbaum, vice president2,
  6. Monica H Vinluan, senior programme officer4
  1. 1EAC Health and Nutrition LLC, Washington DC, USA
  2. 2American Heart Association, Washington DC, USA
  3. 3EquiACT, Lyon, France
  4. 4Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, New Jersey, USA
  1. Correspondence to M Hollander Marla.hollander{at}heart.org

Emily Callahan and colleagues report how a multisectoral collaboration of more than 140 stakeholder organisations is advancing policy changes to improve food and physical environments in the United States to promote healthy weight for all children and adolescents

Voices for Healthy Kids is a multisectoral collaboration that seeks public policy changes to improve food and physical activity environments to promote healthy weight for all children and adolescents in the United States. Engaging and coordinating the initiative’s many different stakeholder groups is complex and sometimes challenging, but key investments and strategies have led to enacted policy such as legislation or regulations (“policy wins”) and other achievements.

We describe implementation of the multisectoral collaboration and key factors that have enabled and benefitted it, as well as some of the challenges the collaboration has faced and the outcomes. This example of multisectoral collaboration shows how organisations are responding to the society wide problem of an increased prevalence of child and adolescent obesity. We share lessons learnt from the initiative that may inform global efforts to improve health.

A national health crisis

Overweight and obesityaffect about one in three children and adolescents in the United States.1 Inequities in prevalence exist between different population groups across race and ethnicity and by household income and education level. The prevalence of obesity (body mass index greater than or equal to the age- and sex-specific 95th centile of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention growth charts) among non-Hispanic black (22.0%) and Hispanic (25.8%) young people aged 2 to 19 years was higher than among non-Hispanic white (14.1%) and non-Hispanic Asian (11.0%) young people, based on data for 2015-16.2 In the same age group, the prevalence in the lowest, middle, and highest income groups was 18.9%, 19.9%, and 10.9%, respectively, based on data for 2011-14. In addition, during those …

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