The Wisconsin Partnership Program at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine and Public Health is committed to confronting the state’s emerging obesity epidemic through the Wisconsin Obesity Prevention Initiative. 

The Obesity Prevention Initiative uses a multi-faceted approach, including:

  • Evidence-based strategies to address obesity
  • Surveillance of data regarding pediatric obesity
  • The piloting of two community-based research efforts in Menominee and Marathon counties

The five-year grant from the Partnership Education and Research Committee provides the infrastructure to build strategic alignment among government entities, communities, researchers, advocates, non-profit organizations and businesses.

Grant funding also is being used to develop a childhood obesity surveillance system and create statewide messaging that helps residents understand how daily decisions affect their health.

Vince Cryns, MD, professor of medicine at the School of Medicine and Public Health, is the grant’s principal investigator and leads a team of faculty and community investigators.

In collaboration with health officials and community groups in Marathon and Menominee counties, researchers are also implementing a community-based model for obesity prevention.

Obesity is a major risk factor for Type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular disease, hypertension, cancer and other diseases. According to preliminary data from the Survey of the Health of Wisconsin, 72 percent of Wisconsin adults are overweight or obese.

There is limited data about the weight status of children; however, data suggests that 25 percent of Wisconsin high school students and 31 percent of children 2 to 4 years old are overweight or obese (compared to 12 percent and 5 percent, respectively, 50 years ago).