Obesity has become a state and national epidemic. Two out of three Massachusetts adults are either overweight or obese, and one in four children are overweight or obese. In 2008, Governor Deval Patrick released a Call to Action (DOC), which documents the extent of the obesity epidemic in Massachusetts, its consequences, and efforts to tackle it.
To address this significant public health problem, Massachusetts launched Mass in Motion in January 2009. This included a workplace wellness program, Executive Order 509, and grants to cities and towns to help them build policies, systems and environments that promoted wellness and healthy living.
From 2008-2010, Mass in Motion funded 14 cities and towns throughout the state to make wellness initiatives a priority at the community level. Funding for these grants came from the five major health-funding foundations and other leading health organizations in the Commonwealth.
From 2011-2014, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health received funding from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention under the Community Transformation Grant Program. This federal award allowed DPH to fund 33 Mass in Motion programs covering 52 Massachusetts cities and towns, covering 33% of the state population. When the grant period ended in 2014, the Massachusetts Legislature continued the program.
New grants awarded in 2014 fund a total of 27 locally-based Mass in Motion Municipal Wellness and Leadership programs covering more than 60 cities and towns across the Commonwealth. This grant program is made possible through a public/private partnership including state, federal and private funds. Mass in Motion grants are designed to promote opportunities for healthy eating and active living in the places people live, learn, work and play.