Growing Healthy Communities Initiative

Transforming the Built Environment to Combat Obesity

  • Janea Snyder University of Arkansas
  • Amar Kanekar University of Arkansas
  • Bennie Prince University of Arkansas


A contributing factor to the U.S. national obesity epidemic is the built environment-the physical aspects of a community in which we live, work and engage in our everyday activities. Therefore, modifying the built environment can be a solution to address the epidemic. Such an example is the Arkansas Coalition for Obesity Prevention (ArCOP) Growing Healthy Communities (GHC) initiative. The GHC initiative encourages community health workers, health education specialists, government officials and other stakeholders to embrace community collaboration in efforts to improve built environments by equipping them with resources that increase community access to healthy foods and physical activities to help combat obesity. ArCOP to date has funded 100+ GHC communities in Arkansas. One of the five communities being highlighted by the authors for their GHC efforts includes: the University of Arkansas at Little Rock University District community, in which the authors have contributed to implementing various GHC projects for the residents of this community. The GHC, a state initiative, has implications for national and global use, and it is emerging as an exemplary best practice model. It provides communities with effective strategies to help address the health inequities of obesity, through prevention and intervention measures to improve health behaviors.
How to Cite
Snyder, J., Kanekar, A., & Prince, B. (2018). Growing Healthy Communities Initiative: Transforming the Built Environment to Combat Obesity. Californian Journal of Health Promotion, 16(2), 57-65.