Skip to main content
King County logo

News

King County Executive
Dow Constantine


King County to expand fight against obesity, new types of tobacco

Summary

A $9 million grant from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to Public Health – Seattle & King County will help support healthy communities by taking on the marketing of junk food, sugary sodas, and new tobacco products.

Story

King County will use a federal grant to coordinate a regional fight against obesity and tobacco by taking on the marketing of junk food, sugary sodas, and new tobacco products.

Using a $9 million grant awarded by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Public Health – Seattle & King County will lead a partnership of cities, school districts, community organizations, and businesses. The coalition will help local residents make healthy decisions, help schools provide healthier meals and more opportunities for exercise, and help cities design more bicycle- and pedestrian-friendly communities.

"We will use this grant to expand our collective fight against two of the leading causes of premature death—obesity and smoking," said King County Executive Dow Constantine. "Our proven ability to bring partners together to improve the health of our diverse communities is what set us apart in the competition for this grant.”

About the partnership

The partnership is designed to offer communities healthier food options and access to more recreational opportunities to overcome the effects of marketing that promotes high-calorie fast food, sodas, and tobacco products. Public health experts are concerned the rising popularity of new tobacco products—including e-cigarettes and hookah—could reverse the progress made in reducing the number of people who smoke, particularly young people.

The three-year grant will fund the Partnership to Improve Community Health, or PICH, a collaboration led by Public Health – Seattle & King County, in partnership with Seattle Children’s and the Healthy King County Coalition.

The grant will support Executive Constantine’s effort to transform health and human services to focus on prevention. In particular, it will accelerate Communities of Opportunity, a partnership between King County and The Seattle Foundation designed to improve health, social, racial, and economic outcomes by focusing on specific places.

Unlike the traditional one-size-fits-all approach to programs, Communities of Opportunities engages people in the community to determine the particular local needs and allows them to take ownership of the effort.

We will use three approaches:

  • Expanding successful nutrition, physical activity and tobacco prevention policies and strategies to reach more school districts, suburban cities, the business sector and the health care sector.
  • Focusing efforts in communities with high-levels of need.
  • Providing funds to community partners who will carry out the work.

Public Health has demonstrated recent success at leading coalitions. A federal report earlier this year found that a partnership between Public Health and school districts decreased youth obesity by 17 percent by boosting healthy habits among middle and high school students.

This fall, Public Health will issue a request for proposals for community agencies, schools, and local governments to apply for grant funds. Visit www.kingcounty.gov/health/communities for more information.

Map of King County: Census tracts ranked by index of health

Census tracts, highlighted in red and dark red, that rank lowest on an index of the five measures in the table below. There are almost 400 Census tracts in King County, and each has an approximate population size of 5,000.
Census_tracts_health
Measures
     Dark red
     Lowest 10%

      Dark blue
      Highest 10%

Life expectancy
     74 years
      87 years
Smoking      20%       5%
Obesity      33%       14%
Low-income, below 200%
poverty
     54%       6%
Unemployment      13%       3%

Relevant links


Quotes

We will use this grant to expand our collective fight against two of the leading causes of premature death—obesity and smoking. Our proven ability to bring partners together to improve the health of our diverse communities is what set us apart in the competition for this grant.

Dow Constantine, King County Executive

At Seattle Children's, we are excited to continue our partnership with Public Health – Seattle & King County and the Healthy King County Coalition to bring expertise and resources to improve access to active living, healthy eating, and tobacco-free environments. We look forward to working with our partners to ensure a healthy and high quality of life for all our communities, now and into the future.

Brian Saelens, Investigator at Seattle Children's Research Institute and Professor of Pediatrics, University of Washington

We are so pleased to see the continued national commitment to sustaining work taking place at the community level to create healthier communities. It will take the continued mobilization of government, community organizations, and partners to ensure health equity.

Val Thomas-Matson, Healthy King County Coalition

This grant will allow us to takes actions that have proven to be effective at making our communities healthier. It comes at a particularly important time when state and federal funding for public health has declined.

Patty Hayes, Interim Director of Public Health – Seattle & King County

This new grant will allow us to build on a decade's work in preventing chronic conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. And we must address new challenges such as marketing of unhealthy foods and beverages and new tobacco products to children and youth.

Jim Krieger, Chief of Chronic Disease and Injury and Prevention, Public Health – Seattle & King County

For more information, contact:

Chad Lewis, chad.lewis@kingcounty.gov, 206-263-1250


King County Executive
Dow Constantine
Dow constantine portrait

Read the Executive's biography