In response to the growing epidemic of obesity among children in the Houston/Harris County, Texas area, Healthy Living Matters (HLM) was created in 2011 with funding from the Houston Endowment.  Harris County Public Health & Environmental Services (HCPHES) provides project oversight and the Harris County Healthcare Alliance (HCHA) serves as the fiscal agent.

 

Healthy Living Matters is a “Collaborative” of multi-sector leaders that promote policy aimed at system-level and environmental change to reduce the incidence of childhood obesity. 

The initial project planning phase ran from November 2011 to January 2014, where the HLM Collaborative partners (a local private-public partnership) engaged in a two-year, multi-sector planning initiative to mobilize policy action directed towards system and environmental change

Over a period of two years and result of funding from the Houston Endowment, the Healthy Living Matters team was able to:

-Conduct an assessment of food access and built environment within Houston/Harris County

-Provide learning opportunities related to childhood obesity, its impact on the community, and policy strategies to address it

-Scanned and monitored federal, state and local policy trends and developments

-Identified local issues and prioritized policies that have an impact on childhood obesity

-Developed a Community Action Plan, which serves as a road map for policy implementation

HLM works to enact policies at the community, county, and state levels that make healthy eating and physical activity the “easy” choice for Harris County children and families, thereby helping to reverse the obesity trend.  Moreover, HLM accomplishes this work by mobilizing partners from all sectors including schools, parks, planning, transportation, economic development, healthcare, business, elected officials, and youth and families themselves, so the entire community is vested and so meaningful and sustainable progress can be made.