In April of this year, Clarus was engaged to support the development and implementation of a two-year, multi-sector planning project called HEALTHY LIVING MATTERS created to curb childhood obesity in Harris County, TX (Houston). The project, which is focused on combating childhood obesity through policy change, involves many organizations and has the potential to affect millions of Harris County residents. Clarus’ work with HEALTHY LIVING MATTERS is focused on engaging a broad spectrum of stakeholders, to inform the development of a plan to identify and prioritize innovative policy solutions aimed at making it easier to be healthy. The tools, vehicles, and methods of engagement are designed with two purposes in mind: create an inclusive plan that identifies and prioritizes policies that could address the obesity epidemic AND increase the community’s ability, willingness and capacity to implement the identified policy changes.
While widespread stakeholder involvement is essential to initiating and sustaining comprehensive change, it also poses a unique challenge. How, with so many complex issues and challenges contributing to childhood obesity, do we bring everyone together around the simple goal of improving the health and well-being of children? How can we ensure that the playing field is level when discussing a wide variety of topics such as school lunches, the built environment, physical activity, food access, and education? And how can we accomplish this quickly and effectively, so that Harris County can focus on implementing solutions?
Clarus and the HEALTHY LIVING MATTERS team developed a communication strategy to present relevant statistics in a meaningful way. Working with filmmaker Anna Lloyd, we created a brief animated infographic that both illustrates the facts regarding childhood obesity in Harris County, and effectively builds the case for why healthy living matters. The video is easy for all stakeholders to watch, understand, and share with others. This is important because not only can members of the HEALTHY LIVING MATTERS team use the video to inform partners and participants, Harris County residents can share the video with their families and friends. The video has become an essential tool in Clarus’ efforts to ensure stakeholders share a common understanding regarding the project and an emotional connection to the critical need to identify solutions.
The success of the HEALTHY LIVING MATTERS infographic video was recently recognized by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s newest digital endeavor, NewPublicHealth. Concluding an article entitled “Healthier Options at L.A. Corner Stores,” which highlights innovative ways to improve population health in Los Angeles County, NewPublic Health offers this review of the video:
“Herminia Palacio, MD, MPH, executive director of Harris County (Texas) Public Health and Environmental Services Department unveiled a striking video on childhood obesity at last week’s NACCHO Annual at a session on branding for local health departments. The video, flush with numbers that show the increase in childhood obesity in Texas, stresses often overlooked impacts obesity can have on children—such as bullying and not being picked for sports teams and on adults, such as getting inferior care from some health providers. The key message of the video is the need for policy change to address the obesity crisis in the U.S. and in their county.”
You can read the entire article from NewPublicHealth here.