ACHIEVING A HEALTHY FUTURE FOR OUR CHILDREN, SCHOOLS, HEALTH SYSTEMS & STATES

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Overview

Systemic Problems from Childhood…

About - kids looking at phones

Big Problems…

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 starting in the late 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, and suicide attempts are increasing rapidly.
  • 1 in 3 teens have prediabetes—and are at serious risk of developing diabetes as young adults.
  • 2 out of 3 of all adults will have chronic disease.

Increasingly, chronic conditions and mental illness will start in our teens, twenties & thirties. Many will die 10-20 years prematurely.

The pandemic worsened both physical & mental health…but the trends were already catastrophic—and they continue.

As this happens, the health-related cost pressure on our family, philanthropic & government budgets is becoming unbearable.

Depression chart
Depression chart
About Overview - Kids running

…Require System-atic School-based Solutions

Fortunately, an unhealthy future is preventable. We cut teen smoking by over 80% and adult smoking by 2/3, with a concerted effort over the last 50+ years—resulting in much better heart and respiratory health.  Now we can further reduce our bad health, with healthier habits from childhood–increasing physical activity, healthier nutrition, and learning to better manage stress, in the K-12 school setting.

Healthy Future US is system-atically leading the work to combine the critical 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 and doing whatever it takes. We bring together, in a strategic integrated way, the most important inter-connected systems and partners needed for very-large-scale impact.

Doing Whatever It Takes…System-atically

Our multiple “hats” include:

  • working with nonprofits, governments & employers
  • across the health, education & business sectors
  • identifying & developing cost-effective programs & strategies
  • advocating at the state level, as well as local, country, & federal
  • across an increasing number of states
  • leading & coalition-building
  • changing policies including laws
  • developing major new long-term funding sources
  • and serving in whatever role needed: as strategists & implementers; conveners & advocates; thought-leaders & get-it-done-ers

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 to dramatically improve the status quo by empowering all of our children to lead healthier lives.

Schools: a Unique 13-year-long Once-in-a-Lifetime Opportunity

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, when we 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

Plans

We have gotten a lot done, we are making progress in a number of areas, and we are heading in a great direction. 

People

We are benefiting from an awesome growing team of board, staff, advisors & funders.

Policies

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% and improving mental wellness, as it is implemented for 250,000 K-5 students in Arizona.

Reforms we initiated in state A-F school accountability policy will when finalized improve health for all 750,00 K-8 public school students in Arizona.

And just wait until you hear about Healthy Students Healthy State, including the K-12 Prevention Fund….

Programs

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 mental 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 (P-D-E), is based on a national breakthrough evidence-based project pioneered by University of Arizona in a highly diverse low-income school district with 20 K-12 schools and 16,000 students.

Plan-Develop-Evaluate 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.

Payback/ROI

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 key 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 help get funded & implemented must ultimately be: super-Scalable, extremely Effective, Affordable for all, & sustainably Self-funding [S-E-A-S].

SEAS Logo

Together with our partners, and combined with the right plans, policies, programs and payback/ROI, we can achieve what other approaches have been unable to do for 4+ decades!

History

We started laying the groundwork part-time in 2007, dedicated more resources in 2010, conducted field research in 2011-12, 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.

Healthy Students Healthy State

Healthy Students Healthy State dramatically improves children’s physical and mental health—by finally connecting the programmatic, policy & financial dots…at the state, local & federal levels—to provide and sustainably fund sufficient levels of quality student health & wellness education through schools.

Support!

Interested in supporting our work? 

Resources

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.