Font Size:

Alabama Obesity Task Force History

In May of 2004, the very first meeting of the Alabama Obesity Task Force took place in Montgomery, Alabama, with a diverse and broad group of professionals and stakeholders from across the state. There were over 75 representatives from various state and local agencies, universities, healthcare settings, schools and/or school systems, industry, community, and recreation organizations in attendance.

The newly formed task force was initially supported and coordinated by the Alabama Department of Public Health and the University of Alabama at Birmingham. Guidance and oversight were provided by the State Health Officer, Dr. Don Williamson. The goal was to develop and implement a comprehensive state plan that would address healthy lifestyle strategies and reduce the obesity rate in Alabama. The plan was not to change approaches already in progress, but rather to create a uniform approach to reducing obesity. Leadership was established and sub-committees were formed with the charge of developing a framework for the plan and providing the content. The sub-committees were:

  • General Nutrition
  • Physical Activity
  • Data
  • Youth and Family
  • Community
  • Healthcare

The subcommittees addressed overweight and obesity as related to positive relationships with nutritious foods, a healthy body weight, and adopting a physically active lifestyle. Over the next few months, recommendations were continually submitted, reviewed, and edited, serving as the foundation for the plan. One year later in 2005, the Strategic Plan for the Prevention and Control of Overweight and Obesity in Alabama was finalized. Shortly thereafter the implementation phase began.

After completion of the initial plan, a decision was made by the members of the sub-committees to continue working together to establish new partnerships with other individuals and groups throughout the state. Through these collaborations the formal Alabama Obesity Task Force was formalized. Individuals with an interest in nutrition, physical activity, and other health related areas regarding obesity could become members of the task force. Over the next 15 years the membership continued to grow. Numerous meetings and workshops have been held; awareness campaigns were developed; and a policy manual and board structure were established. The task force has proven to become the leading authority in the state, regarding health, wellness, and obesity prevention efforts.

Moving into the Future!

In 2022, the Alabama Obesity Task Force made significant changes and rebranded the organization as the Alabama Wellness Alliance (AWA). With a new name and a new look that is more inclusive and public facing, AWA is still the state leader on issues related to nutrition, physical activity, and wellness. AWA continues to support a healthier Alabama through collaborations and initiatives that cross sectors and focus on improving health outcomes.

Page last updated: January 23, 2023