Systemic Problems from Childhood…
For over 40 years, we have been getting sicker. State & national leaders ignored the early warning signs—increasing Native-American diabetes in the 1960s, rising child obesity in the 1970s, growing teen mental illness in the 2010s—all now even worse, thanks to the pandemic.
Now, 1 in 5 teens has seriously considered suicide. 1 out of 3 low-income American children will develop diabetes as adults. 2 out of 3 of all adults will have chronic disease. Increasingly, chronic disease and mental illness will start in our teens, twenties & thirties. Many will die 10-20 years prematurely. And the pandemic worsened both physical & mental health…
As this happens, the health-related cost pressure on our family, philanthropic & government budgets is becoming unbearable.
…Require System-atic School-based Solutions
Fortunately, an unhealthy future is preventable. Just as we cut smoking by 2/3 with a concerted effort over the last 50+ years, we can dramatically reduce the root causes of inactivity & unhealthy nutrition, and help kids better manage stress & trauma.
Healthy Future US is systematically bringing together all of the missing systemic ingredients needed to make this happen: plans, people, policies, programs, payback/ROI—whatever it takes—starting K-12.
We are a new kind of multi-level, cross-sector change-making organization—serving in a broad range of roles & doing whatever it takes. We tackle, in a strategic integrated way, the most critical inter-connected systemic areas needed for large-scale social change.
Doing Whatever It Takes…System-atically
Our multiple “hats” include: working with nonprofits, governments & employers, and across the health, education & business sectors; advocating at the state level, as well as local, country, & federal, across an increasing number of states; leading & coalition-building; changing policies & systems; identifying & developing programs;—and serving as strategists & implementers; conveners & advocates; thought-leaders & get-it-done-ers.
Schools: a unique 13-year-long once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
Schools: a unique 13-year-long once-in-a-lifetime opportunity
Our approach and “change theory” is so innovative, that many people don’t quite know what to call us. We prefer the term: system-atic social entrepreneur. Just as innovative business entrepreneurs are dissatisfied with the status quo, and use their vision, energy, skills, and persistence to succeed—in spite of incredible obstacles—and including thinking “outside the box”—Healthy Future US is doing whatever it takes. We work at all levels, across sectors, with key stakeholder groups—to empower people to lead healthier lives.
We start with children in schools. This is the least expensive, most practical way to transform the future of an entire state & country. K-12 is a totally unique, universal, affordable, literally once-in-a-lifetime, 13-year-long opportunity to empower & change lives—for students, their families, & their communities.
In fact, if you don’t get kids on a healthy track, the vast majority continue with unhealthy habits throughout their adult lives.
The bottom line: schools are an indispensable foundation for resolving our health crisis. And we finally know how to do it…and are getting it done.
How we help
We have gotten a lot done, we are making progress in a number of areas, and we are heading in a great direction.
We are benefiting from an awesome growing team of board, staff, advisors & funders.
Changing state policies can dramatically improve children’s health, and set kids on a healthier path in adulthood. The national-breakthrough recess law, for which we co-led the fight, is increasing physical activity by 50% & improving social-emotional wellness for 250,000 K-5 students in Arizona. Reforms we initiated in state A-F school accountability policy will improve health for all 1.1 million public school students in Arizona. And just wait until you hear about Healthy Students Healthy State, including the K-12 Prevention Fund….
We searched state- and nation-wide and reviewed hundreds of programs for 5 years. We looked for game-changing, evidence-based K-12 school approaches proven to dramatically increase physical activity, improve healthy nutrition, and enhance social-emotional health for all students. But these strategies also needed to be highly scalable and low cost, with the potential to become self-funding due to a high ROI from health improvement and medical cost savings.
Our initial “flagship” program framework Plan-Develop-Evaluate, is based on a national breakthrough project pioneered by University of Arizona in a highly diverse low-income school district with 20 K-12 schools and 16,000 students.
It increases physical activity and improves nutrition habits—so much that the percentage of K-12 students with fitness went up 4x—at very low cost.
Our strategies reduce annual health costs by hundreds of dollars per child, and thousands of dollars per adult—resulting in rapid payback and >10x ROI for funders including the state legislature, Medicaid & private health plans. For philanthropists, the social ROI is >1000x.
Why do our strategies have such a large, rapid impact? Bad news/good news: Children are so sick nowadays from inactivity & unhealthy nutrition—that increasing their activity improves their health immediately! We reduce health costs even more later in life, as healthier child habits delay the on-set and reduce the severity of chronic health conditions in adulthood.
System-atic SEAS Change Strategy
We use the “80/20” rule, comprehensively reviewing the main alternative systemic approaches, in order to select a small number of integrated plan goals, policies & programs. When combined together systematically, these move the needle—on a statewide and eventually nationwide basis.
As part of this, we use our SEAS Change theory framework in everything we do: any plan or policy or program, which we advocate for and get funded & implemented must ultimately be: super-Scalable, extremely Effective, Affordable for all, & sustainably Self-funding [S-E-A-S].
Together with our partners, and combined with the right plans, policies, and payback/ROI, we can achieve what other approaches have been unable to do for 4+ decades!
We started laying the groundwork part-time in 2007, dedicated more resources in 2010, and began full-time advocacy in 2014—leading to major policy breakthroughs in 2017+…
Mission, Vision & Values
Our mission is to empower individuals to substantially improve their health, in the broadest sense, using school-based & other approaches to develop & maintain lifelong healthy habits.
Interested in supporting our work?
Links to our latest slide deck for more details, as well as stories & videos, news, an oped & podcast, blog, social media, and key research & other references.