GROW Healthy Kids and Communities

Prevent obesity in rural children

GROW Healthy Kids & Communities

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Generating Rural Options for Weight (GROW) Healthy Kids and Communities was launched in 2011 as an integrated research, education, and Extension program that seeks to inspire communities, schools, and families to create environments that make it easy for children to eat healthfully and be physically active most every day where they live, learn, grow, and play.

Our overarching goal is to prevent a rise in overweight and obesity prevalence in elementary school students as they progress from Kindergarten through 6th grade.

GROW Healthy Kids and Communities uses community engagement methods and tools, with a participatory action research approach, to establish and contribute to a rural-specific, evidence-based research model for childhood obesity prevention. The program uses innovative technologies, including community mapping and geographic information systems data to explore the obesogenic context in rural landscapes and develop policy, systems, and environmental strategies that communities can use to help families cultivate and maintain weight healthy lifestyle patterns.




GROW Healthy Kids & Communities engaged with Oregon’s rural residents and sectors, and mobilized them to learn about the diversity of lived experiences of local food and physical activity resources. GROW HKC empowered communities to generate data, select and implement data-driven environmental strategies unique to rural areas that has benefited residents and visitors for years to come.


GROW Healthy Kids & Communities engaged Oregon public schools and helped school partners examine and improve school physical activity and nutrition environments. GROW HKC helped guide and support evidence-based modifications to school environments, systems, and policies that promoted and improved students’ healthy eating and physical activity behaviors at school.


GROW Healthy Kids & Communities helped Oregon families living in rural places to overcome weight healthy lifestyle obstacles and improve the healthy nutrition and physical activity context in their family home. GROW HKC supported rural families’ choices and abilities that make healthy eating and physical activity behaviors at home easy and sustainable.

This material is based upon work that was supported by the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, U.S. Department of Agriculture, under award number 2011-68001-30020. Any opinions, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this publication are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the view of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.