Addressing the Problem
Forming the Coalition
There is little stronger than the coming together of a community around an issue with a sustained focus of concern. The health of a community is measured by the health of its children. In Tallahassee, childhood obesity and associated diseases are on the rise. Lack of access to healthy foods and lack of moderate to vigorous physical activity are two basic risk factors for childhood obesity in Tallahassee.
In April 2010, Florida A&M University (FAMU) and Florida Family Network, Inc. (FFN), in partnership with the Florida State University Center for Better Health and Life in Underserved Populations and the Greater Frenchtown Revitalization Council, initiated plans for the development of a comprehensive coalition of public and private sector agencies, organizations, institutions, and individuals, in our capital city, to address childhood overweight and obesity. In September 2010, the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Florida Fondation supported and funded the formation of the Tallahassee Hope Thru Childhood Obesity Prevention Education (COPE) Coalition. The vision of the Tallahassee COPE Coalition is Healthy Children! Healthy Future! Healthy Tallahassee! and the mission is to develop and implement a plan of action to decrease childhood obesity in Tallahassee.
Engaging Community Stakeholders and Collaboration
The Tallahassee COPE Coalition truly consists of a diverse group of public and private sector agencies, organizations, institutions, and individuals with years of expertise in addressing risk factors that impact childhood health and wellness. Key strengths of the coalition are:
- the remendous wealth of existing work and research conducted by coalition community leaders and champions
- dedicated support of state representatives, and city and county officials in addressing childhood obesity in our capital city; and
- engagement of the authentic voices of Tallahassee residents in developing strategies for increasing the health of our most valuable stakeholder-our children.