September 16, 2020
September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
  • Childhood Obesity Awareness Month Resources from the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP): Information for families and providers, including resources on stigma and bias. Click here.

  • Resources from the CDC Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (CDC DNPAO): English and Spanish resources on core physical activity and nutrition issues, with links to information for healthcare providers, and guidance for school and after-school environments. Click here. Also check out the DNAPO's social media toolkits for obesity prevention, which are useful year-round. Click here.
Research Increasingly Links Adverse COVID-19 Outcomes to Obesity

Research is now frequently linking obesity to adverse outcomes for patients diagnosed with COVID-19, placing an already at-risk population in the crosshairs of a disease which has affected more than 6.5 million Americans, and is responsible for nearly 200,000 deaths. Mortality rates for COVID-19 are also higher among minorities, with sources pointing to a rate of death 2.4 times higher for Black Americans than the non-Hispanic white population. In Chicago and elsewhere, these higher mortality rates for minorities correspond to higher risk of hardship, higher rates of chronic disease (including obesity) and are increasingly tied to a broad range of social determinants of health. "There is increasing evidence that some racial and ethnic minority groups are being disproportionately affected by COVID-19. Inequities in the social determinants of health, such as poverty and healthcare access, affecting these groups are interrelated and influence a wide range of health and quality-of-life outcomes and risks." (CDC, 2020).

A picture has developed reflecting the overarching negative effects of the pandemic on children, including reduced access to healthy foods, less physical activity, more exposure to junk food marketing and delayed visits to primary care providers. However, research is now accumulating that suggests COVID-19 presents an outsized medical risk for obese younger patients, beyond even complications from comorbidities such as diabetes. “Our finding that severe obesity, particularly among younger patients, eclipses the mortality risk posed by other obesity-related conditions, such as history of myocardial infarction, diabetes, hypertension, or hyperlipidemia, suggests a significant pathophysiologic link between excess adiposity and severe COVID-19 illness,” reports David A. Kass, MD, a cardiologist at John Hopkins University.

The specter of negative long term health effects which reduce quality, and length, of life has always driven the work to reduce childhood obesity. The COVID-19 pandemic has added an alarming new concern to that work. The pandemic has also laid bare inequities in our societal landscapes which drive health disparities. These times present not just the opportunity, but the mandate to improve the environments where all of Chicago's children live, learn and play.


City of Chicago Releases eTOD Policy and Invites Feedback

Via The new Chicago eTOD Policy Plan outlines a comprehensive set of actions for the City to take to advance racial equity, wealth building, public health and climate resilience goals through equitable Transit-Oriented Development (eTOD). Recommendations were informed through a cross-sector engagement process and analysis of City programs, and an evaluation framework focused on outcomes, equity, and implementation criteria.

In partnership with Elevated Chicago, an eTOD Work Group was created to engage over 70 stakeholders representing numerous City departments, community-based organizations, the private sector, philanthropies, and regional non-profit and governmental partners. The City invites public comment on the Draft eTOD Policy Plan for 45 days. Submit comments to by 5pm on Thursday, October 29th.
Advocates Call for School Meal Food Security Program to be Extended through June in Response to Pandemic
Sign-On Opportunity for Organizations Expires Friday, September 18

In August, the U.S. Department of Agriculture announced the extension of the national waiver for the USDA Food and Nutrition Service's (FNS) child nutrition programs. This critical move allows school nutrition programs to continue to serve free meals to all children through December 31, 2020.

Health advocates, including FRAC and the Illinois Hunger Coalition, are asking the USDA to act before September 30th – when the Families First Coronavirus Response Act authority to issue nationwide waivers expires – to extend the waivers to ensure continued access to meals through the entire school year. See highlights below and read the full letter here.

  • Allow the Summer Food Service Program (SFSP) and Seamless Summer Option (SSO) to be used to feed children through the school year;
  • Extend all nationwide waivers for SFSP and SSO, including non-congregate feeding, parent/guardian pick-up, meal pattern flexibility, meal service time, and area eligibility waiver through the school year;
  • Waive the Afterschool Activity Requirement for the Afterschool Meal Program and the Snack Programs available through CACFP and NSLP; and  
  • Allow those providing meals through the Summer Food Service Program or Seamless Summer Option to also utilize Afterschool Meal and Snack Programs.
CLOCC focuses upstream to identify the fundamental root causes of obesity, and to broaden the scope of our obesity prevention strategies. This work draws from local and national attention to health equity and social influencers of health, such as immigration, education, poverty and racism, all of which have an impact on people's ability to eat healthy and be active where they live, work, learn, and play. If you have comments or questions about this focus, we invite you to reach out to
WEBINAR OPPORTUNITY: Identifying and Addressing Barriers to Physical Activity in the Black Community

National priorities for increasing physical activity to improve health do not address the needs and specific barriers experienced by Black and Indigenous People of Color. This moderated panel presentation will explore these barriers and offer strategies for ensuring racial equity and justice in efforts to increase physical activity. (Join the conversation on social media using #ArrestedMobility.)

This webinar will feature a keynote presentation by Charles T. Brown and a panel discussion featuring Black thought leaders in community and transportation planning to explore limits placed on Black mobility in the U.S.

WHEN: Friday, September 18, 2020, Noon CT
As our public health community responds collectively to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak, CLOCC will work to provide partners with timely, useful information to help leaders, organizations and families navigate uncharted waters. Suggestions for this newsletter feature can be forwarded to
Do you have questions about COVID-19? Lurie Children's COVID-19 Call Center is now OPEN. You can call (312) 227-5300 and speak with a Lurie Children's nurse with questions related to testing criteria, symptoms, donations, or general information. The Call Center is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. - 4:30 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., and closed Sunday.

  • APHA’s The Nation’s Health featured Healthy Voting Guides in its August issue. These guides were drafted by the APHA, the National Association of County and City Officials, Center for Tech and Civic Life, and Center for Civic Design. The guides are available by state and have information to help people vote safely in local, State and National elections. You can get more information and download the Illinois guide here.

  • The Board on Science Education of the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine, in collaboration with the Academies’ Board on Children, Youth, and Families (BCYF) and Standing Committee on Emerging Infectious Disease, convened the Committee on Guidance for K-12 Education on Responding to COVID-19. Download the report.


  • Food Systems Leadership Network COVID-19 Response Group: The Food Systems Leadership Network COVID-19 Response Group listserv, unique among the many opportunities food systems leaders have to connect and share information and resources, is focused specifically on identifying, amplifying, and replicating the solutions, innovations, and collaborations that are emerging in communities across the US in response to and in the wake of COVID-19.


  • Action for Healthy Kids created and collected resources to help families, educators and school staff keep kids active and stay healthy while navigating a new school year amid uncertainty. Resources will be added continually.

  • The Chicago Citywide Literacy Coalition has amassed a comprehensive list of digital education resources, organized by subject and supplemented with links to digital support services. While CCLC focuses on adult education, many resources listed are applicable to families and head-of-households.

  • Pilot Light’s Family Resources are designed for parents and children to provide a time of learning and deeper connection through the act of sharing and making food. This library of resources will continue to grow and include Family Lessons in both English and Spanish, Family Meal Videos, recipes, and more as a way to bring food education into homes.

  • Common Threads supports educators through the use of our digital learning platform, Common Bytes, and is providing free curriculum and training access to everyone. Our students’ health, safety, and wellbeing are our top priority and we will do everything we can to work with local school districts and community partners during this time.


  • Per Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH), COVID-19 Isolation Facilities are being offered free of charge to individuals who have tested positive for COVID-19 and are unable to safely isolate in their own homes or congregate living facilities. View information here (.PDF).

  • ChangeLab Solutions is maintaining a library of COVID-19 resource material that includes sections on legal preparedness, food security, housing, violence prevention and more.

  • Access Living has COVID-19 resources for the disability community, with information tailored to additional audiences including those caring for elders, the LGBTQ community, sex workers and people with high-risk comorbidities. This page will be updated routinely during the crisis.

  • RWJF's Evidence for Action: Investigator-Initiated Research to Build a Culture of Health call for proposals is open on a rolling basis. The program funds research that expands the evidence needed to build a Culture of Health, which is broadly defined as one in which good health and well-being flourish across geographic, demographic, and social sectors; public and private decision making is guided by the goal of fostering equitable communities; and everyone has the opportunity to make choices that lead to healthy lifestyles.
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