Healthy Future US’s initial focus is on dramatically improving K-12 physical & health education, increasing physical activity & healthy nutrition, and reducing stress & enhancing social-emotional health, as an essential foundation for lifelong health.
While we start in K-12 schools, we look at health in its broader social, political and economic context and over the entire lifespan. And we realize that healthy habits begun early in life, as children, must then be reinforced by other public policies and private practices, as adults—so that the healthy behavior begun in schools does not fade out and revert to unhealthy social norms in the future.
We believe that our and others’ success, including our work with partners, will help inspire and expand a broader on-going movement for increased physical activity, healthier nutrition and improved mental health. This movement needs to be “institutionalized”—with new laws, sustainable funding sources, and a combination of new & revitalized, performance-based, sustainably-funded organizations focused on instilling healthier habits.
The highly successful, multi-decade fight to reduce smoking through a broad range of strong public policies has been inspiring. The antismoking movement has demonstrated the potential to reverse very unhealthy habits–among close to 30% of all adults!–even though those habits were anchored in the physical addiction of nicotine. Cigarette smoking was reduced from 42% of adults in the 1960s to less than 14% today—and is still decreasing!
But as with tobacco usage, in order to introduce effective policies to improve the public’s physical activity and nutrition, we need a broad coalition of our leaders to intentionally set out to do so. And success in schools is essential.
The Healthy Future Arizona plan and state-by-state Healthy Future US national model is dedicated to making this happen. After many years of hard work, with an increasing number of breakthroughs, we are nearing a tipping point for very-large-scale change. The first state to implement these priorities will be the first to reverse chronic diseases. (Note: bold font below indicates steps which are being taken in Arizona, plain font indicates planned next steps.)
Please see our latest slide deck for more details.