North Carolina Alliance for Health
The North Carolina Alliance for Health was created in 2002 to advocate for an increase in North Carolina’s cigarette tax (then the lowest in the nation at 5 cents). By 2005, they had built a broad coalition of organizations from across the state to support the effort and had achieved legislative success with a moderate increase in the cigarette tax.
In 2008, the Trust for America’s Health approached the Alliance about a grant to promote obesity policy at the state level. The Alliance voted to broaden its mission to include obesity policy and began consulting with obesity policy experts about how to move forward. The Alliance created a committee structure to consider obesity-related issues and recruited interested organizations and individuals to the effort to advocate for obesity policy changes in NC.
Each year the Alliance sets it policy priorities with input from all partners. The 2013–2014 obesity policy priorities are:
- Nutrition: Promote the implementation of policies that require that all foods and beverages available in schools meet national nutrition guidelines and are fully funded. Advocate for policies identified to reduce exposure to marketing and advertising of unhealthy foods in schools.
- Physical Activity/Physical Education: Promote the implementation of quality, comprehensive Physical Education (PE) statewide according to national PE standards set by the National Association for Sport and Physical Education (NASPE).
- Worksite Wellness:
- Support policies which promote a healthy work environment for employees.
- Support the adoption and implementation of evidence-based procurement standards for food sold or offered in state government venues.
- Support the implementation of evidence-based guidelines for healthy eating options for the Legislative Building cafeteria and/or snack bar.
- Built Environments:
- Promote the ability of local communities to support routine physical activity and healthy eating through built environment supports, including multi-modal transportation infrastructure (e.g., mass transit, sidewalks, bike lanes), recreation opportunities (e.g., parks, trails greenways), and food venues (e.g., grocery stores, farmers’ markets, community gardens). Support the integration of healthy land use (“sustainable communities”) and multi-modal transportation options (“complete streets” policies).
- Monitor and support the development of the North Carolina Department of Transportation’s Complete Streets Policy.
- Monitor and support the work of the North Carolina Sustainable Communities Task Force.
- Support funding for evidence-based obesity prevention programs.
The Alliance uses the Eat Smart, Move More NC Policy Strategy Platform to inform its obesity policy priorities.
“ The North Carolina Alliance for Health’s expansion to address obesity prevention, in addition to tobacco prevention, has been an important landmark in the state’s public health landscape over the past few years. Due to their efforts to address various pressing health issues simultaneously, the Alliance continues to function as the key advocacy leader for preventive health in North Carolina.”
—Roxanne (Leopper) Elliott, 2008-2011 Obesity Committee Chair