Preventing Obesity

Outside of the hospital walls, Lurie Children's is working to help prevent childhood obesity in Chicago.

Why This Needs Our Attention

Obesity creates long-term health concerns for children. Being overweight or obese can increases a child's risk for developing type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure and certain cancers, and raise the likelihood for developing asthma by more than 50%. More than half of overweight and obese adolescents already display at least one risk factor for heart disease.

Obesity can also lead to bullying, stigma, stress and depression.

While recent data show that obesity rates are beginning to level off after years of rapid increases, that rate still remains 300% higher than it was in the 1980s. In America today, nearly 17% of children are obese. Recent projections predict that 57.3% of children will be obese at age 35 and that roughly half of that prevalence will occur during childhood. Even more concerning are the significantly higher obesity rates among children of color. Nationally, 22% of Hispanic children and 19.5% of African American children are obese, much higher than the 14.7% rate for white children. These disparities are mirrored in Chicago's communities of color: in neighborhoods such as Roseland, Humboldt Park and West Town, nearly 50% of children are obese.

What Lurie Children's Is Doing to Address It

The Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) is supported by decades of research that compels it to take an "ecological" approach to childhood obesity prevention. CLOCC focuses on the root causes of obesity and develops, supports, and disseminates interventions to address each one. CLOCC works with hundreds of organizations across Chicago to address individual behaviors, family practices, and environmental factors that contribute to obesity. Because public policy and social norms shape the food and physical activity environments in which children live, learn, and play, CLOCC works to inform local health policy and advocate for healthy kids at all levels of government.


  • Supports the efforts of more than 30 Chicago Public Schools to achieve Healthy CPS designation
  • Advocates for healthy vending contracts to improve options in Chicago Park District locations and buildings owned or managed by the City of Chicago
  • Developed 5-4-3-2-1 Go!®, an evidence-based, healthy lifestyle message for children and families. CLOCC has trained more than 9,400 staff from over 2,300 organizations to share the message
  • Developed fiveSMART®, an evidence-based health message for pregnancy and early-childhood (0-3yr)
  • Champions Chicago labor and delivery centers to provide support for breastfeeding mothers and babies and achieve Baby Friendly status; 4 centers have achieved designation and 9 more are on track
  • Engages communities in the CLOCC Neighborhood Walkability Initiative to identify strengths and weaknesses of neighborhood walking routes and address barriers
  • Works throughout Cook County to address "food deserts" and improve access to healthy food.
  • CLOCC has led a campaign to develop Healthy Corner Stores, hosts food access workshops, and advocates for the Illinois Fresh Food Fund and the Local Food and Farms Incentive Fund (SNAP double value).

Kohl's Cares

Kohl’s is continuing its 17-year partnership with Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago by granting $1.1 million over two years in support of The Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC). Kohl’s is teaming up with Lurie Children’s and CLOCC to develop a comprehensive multi-level health and wellness initiative focused on three Chicago communities -- Englewood, Rogers Park and Pilsen. Large Chicago Park District parks will serve as the focal point in each community as CLOCC will be working directly with Chicago Park District summer campers to promote the healthy lifestyle message, 5-4-3-2-1 Go!®. Partnerships with head start programs, daycares and community based organizations have also been formed to support the dissemination of educational and promotional materials and implements strategies to improve physical environments like neighborhoods parks, playgrounds, streets and sidewalks, where children spend significant activity time.

Since 2001, Kohl's Cares has committed nearly $13 million to Lurie Children’s through its philanthropic program, Kohl’s Cares®, which sells children’s books and toys. Kohl’s donates 100 percent of the net profit to charitable initiatives nationwide, including hospital partnerships like the one with Lurie Children’s. To date, Kohl's has raised more than $317 million through this merchandise program.


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