NYC Strategic Alliance for Health


The epidemic of being overweight and obese is recognized as one of the most critical public health issues facing New York City (NYC). This crisis affects residents in all neighborhoods, but has the harshest impact on people living in the poorest neighborhoods in NYC.

Childhood obesity rates have more than tripled since 1980 and almost one-third of children over 2 years of age are already overweight or obese. Left unchecked, this epidemic will have an impact on the health of all New Yorkers for decades to come. It is now estimated that the next generation of children would be the first to experience a shorter life expectancy than their parents.

The causes of this epidemic are multi-factorial. Clearly there is an imbalance between the calories consumed and the calories burned during the course of the day. However, over the last 30 years, a new external environment has been created by policies that have increased availability of calorie-dense foods and limited access individual access to forms of active play and recreation. As a result there has been a real effort by government and advocacy groups to shift the responsibility for obesity prevention beyond the health care sector.

In 2009 the NYC Strategic Alliance for Health (SAfH) was established to identify local level opportunities for the development and implementation of obesity prevention projects and policies. SAfH is a consortium of advocates, community activists, organizations and professionals with an interest in lessening the impact of obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disease in Northern Manhattan, North and Central Brooklyn, and the South Bronx. The goal of the consortium is to develop local obesity prevention policy, system, environmental changes that can be adopted citywide.