California, stretching for nearly 900 miles along the Pacific coastline, is the most populous state in the country with more than 38 million residents. One in eight Americans live in California, but too many of those residents, especially children, struggle with being overweight or obese, putting them at risk for developing serious health problems.

Additionally, the significant racial and ethnic disparities that exist in obesity prevalence among U.S. children are pronounced in California’s diverse communities: more than 38 percent of the state’s residents are Hispanic or Latino.*

Thanks to support for the Healthy Schools Program from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and Kaiser Permanente National Community Benefit Fund at the East Bay Community Foundation, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation is working with schools throughout the state to make it easier for kids to lead healthier lives.


*Source: The U.S. Census Bureau

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Our Work in California

Healthy Schools Program locations Healthy Out-of-School Time locations

In California, we’re making it easier for kids to develop healthy habits.

More than 2,700 schools serving over 1.8 million students across the state have joined the Alliance’s Healthy Schools Program, creating healthier school environments for children to thrive. Since 2007, 133 California schools have been recognized with National Healthy Schools Awards for their outstanding efforts.

We’ve made it easier for nearly 40,000 youth in 381 out-of-school time programs to eat right and move more, focusing on the communities in greatest need in the greater Los Angeles and Sacramento areas. By creating statewide and local partnerships with the California Afterschool Network, the California Department of Public Health and the California Department of Education, we have been able to leverage these agencies as resources for our sites.

Healthier Generation enlists the help of regional and local partners to create healthier schools. These partners, such as AltaMed and the Orange County Department of Education, receive specialized professional development training from Healthier Generation staff and gain access to Healthier Generation's customized tools, resources and data that empower them to guide schools to improve physical activity and nutrition policies and practices.

As part of our work to reduce calorie consumption along with the country’s three largest soda manufactures, each beverage company is committing to focus its efforts at the community level and specifically in communities where there has been less interest in and/or access to options that help community members reduce their calorie intake. The neighborhoods of East Los Angeles, Boyle Heights, Lincoln Heights and El Sereno will be among our first communities to see those changes.

In California, we’ve worked with 800 youth in all four state facilities through our collaboration with the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation, Division of Juvenile Justice. We’re working to give youth served by the juvenile justice system the chance to eat better and move more to yield more productive outcomes throughout their lives.

Watch our 5-minute video to learn more about our work with juvenile justice programs.

Success Stories

Hear from our school champions from just two the many districts we work with in California: El Monte City School District, enrolled with the Healthy Schools Program since its inception in 2006; and Sanger Unified School District, enrolled since 2009.

Tromane Harris

“Healthier Generation has been there every step of the way. They’ve given us so many resources that have really helped me as a director.”

Dr. Robert Lewis, Director of Nutrition Services, El Monte City School District, CA

Tromane Harris

“If you want to make a change, it is best to have support from an organization like Healthier Generation that knows how to walk you through the steps of change.”

Jaime Brown, Physical Education Coordinator, Sanger Unified School District, CA

Our Program Managers work in California, supporting our programs in schools, juvenile justice centers and out-of-school time sites. Hear from a few of them about the impact we’re making in California.

“In an area rich with fresh produce, the Healthy Schools Program provides support to schools within the Central Valley to help promote healthy eating among not only the students but also the entire school community.”

Anita Ruiz, Healthy Schools Program Manager, CA

“Proper nutrition and physical activity have significant positive impacts on youth behavior, performance and cognitive development.”

Lori Golden, Healthy Juvenile Justice Program Manager, CA

“The Healthy Out-of-School Time initiative in California helps integrate health and wellness into the backbone of the after school environment, contributing to innovative practices and policies in out-of-school time settings that serve as a model across the country.”

Amira Resnick, Healthy Out-of-School Time Manager, CA

“The Healthy Schools Program has been instrumental in helping Southern California schools increase physical activity and improve nutrition in students and staff members. I’ve witnessed the wellness leads take charge to make sustainable change in their school building.”

Ben Melendez, Healthy Schools Program Manager, CA

Support Our Work in California

For more than a decade, Healthier Generation has been a catalyst for improving children’s health. Our evidence-based programs, industry agreements and national experts enable us to directly impact more than 20 million children, with a focus on low-income and minority populations who are at increased risk for obesity and other diseases. Read our story and speak with a member our team to learn more about supporting us in building a healthier generation.