What does the Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity do?

The Illinois Alliance to Prevent Obesity (IAPO) is a multi-sector coalition that works for equitable and just opportunities for Illinoisans to eat healthy and be physically active to optimize their health and well-being. Through partnerships and collaboration, public awareness building, technical assistance and advocacy, IAPO:

  • Develops, changes, and implements policies and systems to support nutrition and physical activity and eliminate social and institutional barriers to maintaining a healthy weight.
  • Fosters communities and institutions that integrate healthy foods and beverages and physical activity choices into everyday activities.

What are policy, systems, and environmental changes?

For years, health advocates have been telling people to eat less and exercise more, but this overly simplistic message is not working. In fact, obesity rates remain at all-time high. Clearly, a different approach is needed.

Policy, systems, and environmental change is an effective way of modifying the environment to make healthy choices practical and available to all Illinois citizens. IAPO supporters believe that where we live and the world around us affects how we live. Illinois citizens cannot make healthy choices if healthy options are not available. Therefore, obesity must be treated as a public health crisis, not merely as a problem of individual will-power.

Our proposed solutions to the obesity epidemic focus on coordinated policy, systems, and environmental changes. By changing laws and shaping physical landscapes, a big impact can be made with little time and resources. By changing policies, systems and/or environments, communities can help tackle health issues like obesity, diabetes, cancer, other chronic diseases and the escalating costs of health care.