"The obesity epidemic in America now affects one in every three of us," Baxter says. "We continued our commitment with community health initiatives in 40 communities around the United States where we help local communities organize to combat the forces that deny people access to healthy foods or limit regular physical activity." Kaiser Permanente was widely credited with opening the first hospital-based farmers' market at its Oakland headquarters in 2003, and it now has 35 farmers' markets in four states. The markets offer locally grown produce in urban areas where access to quality fruits and vegetables is limited.
Tackling obesity means improving access to healthy food and access to physical activity. Using the strength of its Web tools and community connections, Kaiser Permanente founded and supports EveryBody Walk, an online educational campaign aimed at getting Americans up and moving. The website (www.everybodywalk.org), which is powered by KP, links to more than 40 partners from nonprofits and other community organizations focused on improving safe walking routes, and raises grassroots awareness on the health benefits of walking.
To truly impact community health, Kaiser Permanente knew it needed to support the health safety net that cares for the uninsured and underserved. Hospitals and health systems across the nation often look to support local clinics with pro bono physician and nurse time and other staff support. Kaiser has taken the concept to a higher focus by adding its own research and prevention expertise to support specific community programs.