Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Program - Overview


In July 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention awarded $443,005 per year to the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services, Division of Public Health, to plan a comprehensive nutrition and physical activity program for Wisconsin. In July 2008, a second round of funding was granted to implement programs through 2013.  This 5-year grant was increased to $833,805 per year.  The grant funding has focused on the following objectives:

  • Develop a Statewide Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Program infrastructure at the State level.

  • Collaborate and coordinate with State and local government and private partners, including members of the population, throughout the planning process for the development of the Wisconsin Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Plan.

  • Develop and implement a State Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Plan to prevent and control obesity and other chronic diseases.

  • Identify, assess and utilize Wisconsin data sources and research to define and monitor the burden of obesity and to assure the development of an evidence-based State Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Plan.

  • Implement and evaluate interventions to prevent obesity and other chronic diseases.

  • Evaluate progress and impact of the State plan and intervention projects

 Other funding and initiatives have occurred since the initial grant. The expanded scope of the program is reflected in the table below.

Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Program

The Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Program is a five-year grant funded program to decrease obesity in Wisconsin.  The grant is being used to develop a Statewide Nutrition and Physical Activity Program infrastructure at the State level and coordinate statewide efforts through a state plan and development of key resources and partnerships.



Current Projects

Active Community Environments (Safe Routes to School, Smart Growth, etc.)


Child Care

Food System(Access to Fruits and Vegetables, Gardening, Grocery Stores, Restaurants,  etc.)

Got Dirt? and Got Veggies? (Gardening) 

Health Care


Worksite Wellness

Staff Listing and Roles

Mary Pesik, Program Coordinator

Jon Morgan, Physical Activity Coordinator

Kelli Stader, Nutrition Coordinator

Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) State Component 2010-12

The CPPW Component II Project was a two-year grant to implement a high-impact systems or environmental change strategy.  Wisconsin’s strategy was to change the amount and quality of daily physical activity in schools (K-12) and regulated child care (group and family).  Local and state-level strategies were used to achieve the goal of providing at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily. 

Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) Community Component 2010-12

La Crosse and Wood Counties  

The ARRA Community Component Project was a two-year grant to create healthier communities through sustainable, evidence-based approaches to improve the availability of healthy food and beverages, and to increase physical activity.  La Crosse County and Wood County were the two communities selected, and they implemented a number of physical activity and nutrition strategies in their communities.  A few of the approaches included:

  • Safe Routes to School
  • Farm to School
  • Active Kids
  • Menu Labeling

Recent Projects

Resource Materials

Trainings (Archived and Upcoming)

See the Training and Media Materials page for recent webinars  

Community Projects:

La Crosse County Community Profile (PDF, 1.7 MB)

Wood County Community Profile (PDF, 1.8 MB)

Program Activities and Resources - "What Are We Doing?"

A general overview of the Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity (NPAO) Program can be found in the program General Fact Sheet (PDF, 462 KB)


Nutrition and Physical Activity Recommendations

Eat Right

  • Choose fruits and vegetable
  • Choose whole grains
  • Eat breakfast
  • Eat in moderation
  • Choose healthy beverages
  • Choose to breastfeed

Be Active*

Children and Adolescents

  • At least 60 minutes of aerobic activity per day for children.
  • Vigorous activity at least 3x/week.
  • Strengthening exercises at least 3x/week.


  • Average 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of intense aerobic activity per week. Spread the activity across the week so you are active most days of the week.
  • Additional health benefits are provided by doubling the totals to 300 minutes of  moderate and 150 minutes of intense activity.
  • Strengthening exercises at least 2x/week


  • Everyday activities count (ex. yard work) as long as all activities are performed in at least 10 minute episodes.
  • Incorporate activity into your day (take a walk at lunch)
  • Decrease TV viewing

* From the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for America

It's a Balance

Achieving a healthy weight and being fit includes choosing healthy foods and being physically active on a regular basis. The equation is simple: calories in (food intake) = calories out (energy expended) to maintain weight. To lose weight, calories expended must be greater than calories eaten. It is really a balance! That is why it is important not to tip the scale where you eat more calories than you burn. When we tip the scale, we may be at-risk for gaining weight. This means that we may eat too many calories or more than our body needs, or it may mean that we are not burning calories because we are not being physically active.

Eating healthy is not a form of dieting; it is a change in your lifestyle. Use the U.S. Dietary Guidelines, including MyPlate, to help guide your healthy food choices.

Key Information

  • 64% of Wisconsin adults are overweight or obese and the number is rising. (CDC BRFSS, 2011)

  • 25% of Wisconsin high school students are overweight or at risk of becoming overweight and the number is rising. (CDC YRBS, 2011)

  • The obesity rate among Wisconsin adults has more than doubled from 1990 to 2002. (CDC BRFSS, 1990, 2011)

  • Adult activity levels have remained virtually unchanged over time, while children’s levels have declined. Only about ½ of Wisconsin adults meet minimum activity levels (CDC BRFSS, CDC YBRS).

Poor diet and physical inactivity are the second leading underlying cause of death behind only tobacco use. Furthermore, obesity and inactivity are projected to surpass tobacco as the leading cause of death in the next couple of years. Obesity and an inactive lifestyle are connected to an increased risk for the following diseases:

  • Cardiovascular disease and stroke
  • Stroke
  • Diabetes
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Some types of cancer (such as endometrial, breast, prostate, and colon)
  • A number of other causes of death and disability

The Nutrition and Physical Activity Program will incorporate the parameters that have been established for the National Program. These include:

  • Employ an integrated approach to obesity prevention and control using both nutrition and physical activity strategies.

  • Adopt a social ecological model that addresses the obesity epidemic beyond individual responsibility and that recognizes the importance of environmental and policy issues that affect and sustain behavior.

  • Apply the theories and techniques of social marketing to identify target populations and select interventions that will encourage high participation rates initially and address how to maintain participation long-term.

  • Use evidence-based and promising strategies to achieve better health.

  • Conduct strong evaluation to assess the effectiveness of interventions.

  • Build on federal funding to mobilize additional resources through strong partnerships with a wide range of organizations and agencies.

Last Revised: August 12, 2015