Building Healthy Communities Program

We pay a high price for childhood obesity in our state. It affects children's health and school performance.

Building Healthy Communities works to create supportive school environments through healthy eating, physical activity, mental health and well-being of students and staff.

We have three programs: The Step Up for School Wellness Program, the Elementary School Program and the Middle School Program. Read more about these programs in our program fact sheet.


These programs:

  • Educate students through classroom lessons
  • Create an environment that makes the healthy choice the easy choice
  • Encourage students to practice lessons learned in the classroom
  • Provide opportunities for physical activity
  • Improve access to healthy food and beverages
  • Address mental health, trauma and well-being

Building Healthy Communities has an extensive history of measurable and demonstrated impact on improving the health of Michigan's children, including: 

  • A significant reduction in obesity
  • 40 percent more fruit and vegetables consumed than the national average
  • 700 step increase per day
  • 35 additional minutes per week of moderate to vigorous physical activity
  • 19 minutes less of screen and video time per day
  • 74 percent report that it was easier to pay attention in class

Who's eligible?

Any public, charter or private nonprofit school in Michigan is eligible regardless of their:

  • Free and reduced-price school meal percentage
  • Geographic location
  • Participation in other school wellness grants, programs or initiatives

Please review each program description for other eligibility information. 

Watch this video to see how Building Healthy Communities is helping Michigan kids get healthier. You can also watch the Detroit Lions visit to the Tenniswood Elementary school

Our partners

We founded Building Healthy Communities in 2009 to fight childhood obesity and lead children to a healthier future. It's grown into a collaboration among organizations committed to improving the physical and mental health of children and preventing childhood obesity. The following organizations are participating in the program: