CAN DO Houston
Children and Neighbors Defeat Obesity in Houston (CAN DO Houston) is a holistic community-based initiative that aims to prevent and diminish childhood obesity in Houston and surrounding communities. It is currently housed at the Dorothy I. Height Center for Health Equity & Evaluation Research (DH-CHEER) at The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center. CAN DO Houston listens to the needs of the community and addresses physical activity, nutrition, and healthy minds in the community, school, after-school, home, and work environments based on the needs of the community. The program utilizes existing resources and evidence-based practices and addresses gaps in services by enabling the broadest collaboration of individuals, institutions, and organizations. Funded by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, CAN DO Houston is a combined effort of the City of Houston Mayor’s Wellness Council, Houston Wellness Association, and many community partners.
Aims (of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities application):
- Conduct and review assessments of an additional super neighborhood each year.
- Implement CAN DO Houston into an additional super neighborhood each year.
- Continue to provide support to existing CAN DO Houston neighborhoods to create policy and environmental changes that support active living and healthy eating.
- Maintain and develop new partnerships to create a collaborative network to successfully address policy and environmental changes.
- Evaluate the effectiveness of our framework and network of partnerships to create sustainable and meaningful environmental and policy changes to support active living and healthy eating.
- Secure additional funding to increase our ability to expand to more super neighborhoods.
Accomplished to Date:
- Community network of over 100 individuals
- Program actively implemented in five neighborhoods
- School garden built and community wellness room established at Lyons Elementary
- School gardens built at Bruce and Young Elementary Schools
- 501c3 non-profit status received
- Support from Texas Department of Agriculture, Community Health Choice, and St. Luke's Episcopal Health Charities
- Resulted in positive changes at Houston Independent School District through programmatic involvements with food service, physical education programs, and trustees.
- Developed a community website for CAN DO Houston
Funder(s): Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. In kind support from DH-CHEER, Coca-Cola North America/Minute Maid, City of Houston Department of Parks and Recreation, and Houston Department of Health and Human Services
Key Organizational Partners: City of Houston Mayor’s Council on Health and the Environment, Houston Independent School District, Houston Department of Health and Human Services, Houston Food Policy Workgroup, Live Smart, Recipe for Success
Key Collaborators: William Baun, EPD; Christine Mei, MBA; Doug Earle; Juan Gonzales; Nancy Murray, DrPH