9 Best Charities That Combat the Obesity Crisis (Complete 2024 List)

9 Best Charities That Combat the Obesity Crisis (Complete 2024 List)

By
Alycia O'Dell

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In the US, the prevalence of obesity has reached epidemic levels, with 1 in 5 children and 1 in 3 adults struggling to reach a healthy weight. Obesity can have deadly consequences if left untreated; children with obesity are more likely to have obesity as adults and are at an increased risk for maladies like cancer, heart disease, and diabetes. Fortunately, organizations around the world are dedicated to the prevention and treatment of obesity. So, we had to ask: what are the best charities that combat the obesity crisis?

The best charities that combat the obesity crisis are the Obesity Action Coalition and the American Heart Association. Charities such as the Alliance for a Healthier Generation and Action for Healthy Kids work to eradicate obesity by helping children build healthy eating and exercise habits.

Whether you want to help ensure equitable access to treatment for those suffering from obesity, teach a child how to make better nutrition choices, or fund research to better understand and treat obesity, there is a charity for you. Keep reading to learn more about what the best charities that combat the obesity crisis are all about, how they work, and what your best way would be to make a donation.

Here’s What All the Best Charities That Combat the Obesity Crisis Have in Common

The charities on this list were chosen based on their mission, impact and transparency ratings, and achievements.

They operate primarily throughout the US and Canada, but some combat the obesity crisis internationally.

Many of these charities fight to prevent obesity by focusing on developing healthy eating and exercise habits in children. Others provide resources for adults with obesity to help them achieve a healthier weight.

Some work to eliminate the stigma surrounding obesity so those suffering can seek treatment without fear of discrimination, while others collaborate with stakeholders to improve treatment outcomes.

Yet, they all share a common goal: to combat obesity and help those affected to lead more productive and fulfilling lives.

These Are the 9 Best Charities That Combat the Obesity Crisis in 2024

Below are our favorite charities for combating the obesity crisis (you can click on their link to directly jump to their section in this article):

(At the end of this article we’ll also share our six-step approach on how you can select the best charity to support.)

1

Obesity Action Coalition: Fighting for those Affected by Obesity 

Logo for Obesity Action Coalition
OAC Mission video

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the Obesity Action Coalition a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Gold Seal of Transparency. 

Together, we can make a better world for those affected by obesity.

Obesity Action Coalition

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What they do:

The Obesity Action Coalition combats the obesity crisis by ensuring that those affected have access to the tools they need to lead healthier lives. For example, their Resource Library contains an abundance of information on topics related to obesity prevention and treatment, including mental health and wellness, food addiction, and healthy weight management strategies. Furthermore, they fight to end weight bias to ensure equitable access to treatment and encourage people to take action with their Weight Bias Reporting Tool.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Obesity Action Coalition has fought to eliminate the stigma surrounding obesity through education, awareness, and action. For example, in 2021 alone, they disseminated more than 100,000 pieces of educational materials and hosted more than 2,500 participants from around the world at their virtual education events. That same year, they lobbied Congress to support the Treat and Reduce Obesity Act, which would expand Medicare’s coverage of obesity and binge eating disorder treatment.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Obesity Action Coalition via their website. You can also get involved by joining the OAC community or by advocating for the rights of those affected by obesity.

2

American Heart Association: Fighting Obesity through Heart Health

Logo for American Heart Association
American Heart Association, Life is Why

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the American Heart Association a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Platinum Seal of Transparency. 

Life is why.

American Heart Association

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What they do:

The American Heart Association combats the obesity crisis by promoting heart health and helping people to live healthier lifestyles. For example, they provide educational resources on topics related to obesity and weight loss, such as Body Mass Index and childhood obesity, binge eating, and overcoming extreme obesity. And, their Healthy for Good initiative gives people tools to eat healthier and increase physical activity, such as streaming workouts and a digital recipe booklet. Furthermore, they fund research to advance the understanding and treatment of heart disease and related conditions, including obesity.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the American Heart Association has positively impacted the heart health of millions of people around the world by tackling obesity and related illnesses. For example, they have invested more than $5 billion in research since 1949. And, their efforts have resulted in a 15.1% reduction in deaths from heart disease and a 13.6% reduction in deaths from a stroke since 2018. Furthermore, in 2005, they partnered with The Clinton Foundation to launch the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization dedicated to eradicating childhood obesity. 

Ways to contribute:

You can make a one-time donation to the American Heart Association via their website, or register to give monthly. You can also support the charity by volunteering or participating in an event in your local community.

3

Alliance for a Healthier Generation: Healthy Habits for Healthy Children

Logo for Alliance for a Healthier Generation
A Healthier Generation

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Alliance for a Healthier Generation a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Silver Seal of Transparency. 

Every mind, everybody, every young person healthy and ready to succeed.

Alliance for a Healthier Generation

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What they do:

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation tackles obesity by working with schools, youth-serving organizations, and businesses to build communities that support children’s physical, social, and emotional health. For example, they provide parents with a library of resources on topics such as Eating Healthy and Moving More to encourage healthy habits in the home. Furthermore, they work to increase access to medical intervention by working with insurance companies to ensure coverage for obesity prevention and treatment. 

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation has helped more than 30.8 million children lead healthier lives. For example, in 2020 alone, their Healthy at Home initiative helped about 2.8 million families create healthier home environments. And, their partnership with McDonald’s led to over 2.5 billion healthy options being included in Happy Meals across the US. Furthermore, in 2017, their My Healthy Weight initiative prompted insurance coverage of intensive behavioral intervention for 10.6 million adults and children suffering from obesity. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation via their website. You can also access their Action Center to see how they can impact your own school or community.

4

Action for Healthy Kids: Fighting Childhood Obesity

Logo for Action for Healthy Kids
Take Action for Healthy Kids

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Action for Healthy Kids a 3-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Gold of Transparency. 

“All kids deserve to be healthy- in body and mind.”

Action for Healthy Kids

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What they do:

Action for Healthy Kids brings schools and families together and equips them with tools and resources to fight childhood obesity. For example, their family-school partnership model identifies the specific needs of the community and barriers to engagement to develop and implement effective solutions. They focus on three key program areas: food access and nutrition education (NourishED), physical activity and active play (EnergizED), and social-emotional health and risk behavior prevention (ConnectED). They also award grants to schools to help them accomplish student wellness goals and tackle childhood obesity.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Action for Healthy Kids has positively impacted 20 million children across more than 55,000 schools, with the help of their 140,000 volunteers. For example, since 2009, they have awarded $9.3 million in grants to schools and districts across the US to tackle mental health issues and obesity in children. Furthermore, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, they awarded additional grants to fund emergency meal equipment and more effective meal distribution to 44 school districts. As a result, they served more than 20 million meals to children during the 2020-2021 school year.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Action for Healthy Kids via their website. You can also get involved by participating in a learning event or fundraising.

5

Partnership for a Healthier America: Promoting Food Equity

Logo for Partnership for a Healthier America
About Partnership for a Healthier America

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the Partnership for a Healthier America a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Gold Seal of Transparency. 

Ensuring every family, in every zip code, has affordable access to good food.

Partnership for a Healthier America

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What they do:

Partnership for a Healthier America combats the obesity crisis by promoting healthy eating and lifestyle habits in children and young adults. For example, their Veggies Early and Often initiative emphasizes the importance of introducing children to various nutritious foods early in life. Furthermore, their Healthier Campus Initiative partners with college campuses to encourage healthy eating and physical activity. In addition, they advocate for food equity across the US through initiatives such as Healthy Hunger Relief and Good Food for All.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Partnership for a Healthier America has helped ensure that children and families in the US have access to healthy and affordable food choices to combat obesity. For example, through their Healthy Hunger Relief initiative, they partnered with more than 60 food banks in 27 states to provide nutritious food to more than 15 million people. Furthermore, they partnered with baby and toddler food makers to create the Veggies Early and Often icon, which now appears on over 150 products, to signal to parents that an item contains over half vegetables and no additives.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Partnership for a Healthier America via their website. You can also support the charity by joining their Food Equity Pledge or by volunteering with one of their food bank partners.

6

American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation: Helping People Overcome Obesity

Logo for American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery
ASMBS Foundation

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation a 3-star rating. 

Improving public health and well-being through research, education, awareness, and access to care.

American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation

⚒️

What they do:

The American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation combats the obesity crisis by awarding grants for obesity awareness, research, and treatment. For example, their Research Grant Program awards funds to projects that explore the surgical treatment of obesity and improving outcomes. Furthermore, their Bryan Woodward Community Grant Program supports local initiatives addressing the obesity crisis. In addition, they generate funds and raise awareness through various events and campaigns, such as Walk from Obesity and AWARE.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery has awarded more than $2.1 million in grants for research, advocacy, and public and professional education and awareness activities into obesity. For example, in 2022, they funded the University of Chicago’s 2022 Report on Obesity in America, a landmark survey on perceptions of obesity following the COVID-19 pandemic; information from the report will guide future consumer awareness efforts.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the American Society for Metabolic and Bariatric Surgery Foundation via their website. You can also get involved by participating in their Walk from Obesity campaign or making a pledge through their AWARE campaign.

7

Table for Two: Japanese-inspired Nutrition for American Kids

Logo for Table for Two Japanese-inspired Nutrition
Table For Two

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives Table for Two a 4-star rating. GuideStar gives the charity a Bronze Seal of Transparency. 

Toward a world of healthier eating.

Table for Two

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What they do:

Table for Two combats the obesity crisis by providing healthy meals and nutrition education to children and young adults across the US. For example, their Wa-Shokuiku program provides students with Japanese-inspired culinary instruction to equip them with lifelong healthy eating habits. Furthermore, their Meal Sharing Program offers healthy choices in restaurants, grocery stores, and vending machines and invests part of the sales in healthy school meals for malnourished children in developing countries.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, Table for Two has provided over 500 Japanese-inspired nutrition classes to over 7,000 students and parents across the US to combat obesity. In addition, they have delivered over 80 million school meals to malnourished children in developing countries, leading to improved mental and physical health.

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to Table for Two via their website. You can also get involved by volunteering or purchasing merchandise. Or, you can help implement a Table for Two Healthy Eating Program in your local community.

8

Gasol Foundation: Making Weight Management Fun

Logo for Gasol Foundation
GASOL FOUNDATION

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Their transparency & ratings:

GuideStar gives the Gasol Foundation a Silver Seal of Transparency. 

Make it healthy. Make it fun.

Gasol Foundation

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What they do:

The Gasol Foundation fights the obesity crisis by helping children learn healthy habits in meaningful and engaging ways. For example, through their Healthy Galaxy Model, they educate children on healthy eating habits through fun and interactive cartoons. Furthermore, they offer community-based programs, such as CommUNITY Wellness and Galactic Sports to emphasize the importance of community involvement in raising healthy children.

🚀

What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the Gasol Foundation has encouraged thousands of children to adopt healthy habits to combat obesity. For example, in 2021, they enrolled 88,871 children and adults in their healthy habits programs and activities across the US. Moreover, they reached over 33 million people globally through their awareness and advocacy campaigns. In addition, 17,519 people participated in their research programs. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the Gasol Foundation via their website. You can also get involved by volunteering or attending an event

9

National Institute for Children’s Health Quality: Improving Care for Childhood Obesity

Logo for National Institute for Children’s Health Quality
Stronger Partnerships, Healthier Futures

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Their transparency & ratings:

Charity Navigator gives the National Institute for Children’s Health Quality a 4-star rating. 

We make meaningful change. Everyday.

National Institute for Children’s Healthcare Quality

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What they do:

The National Institute for Children’s Healthcare Quality addresses issues in children’s health, like childhood obesity, by bringing stakeholders together to design and execute programs that improve children’s health. For example, they partnered with the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Institute for Medicaid Innovation to analyze Medicaid programs to prevent and treat childhood obesity. And, their website contains resources, such as the Healthy Care for Healthy Kids Obesity Toolkit, for providers treating patients with obesity. Furthermore, the charity emphasizes the importance of health equity in improving healthcare outcomes for children. For example, their Equity Systems Continuum Planning Grant project designed a tool to help healthcare providers evaluate and improve their health equity.

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What they’ve achieved:

Since their founding, the National Institute for Children’s Healthcare Quality has participated in more than 80 initiatives to improve children’s healthcare and tackle obesity. For example, in 2013, they assisted Nemours and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to improve healthcare in early childhood to prevent obesity. And, they have trained more than 750 key leaders and influencers in the private, public, and community healthcare sectors to use quality improvements to fight obesity at the local level. 

Ways to contribute:

You can donate to the National Institute for Children’s Healthcare Quality via their website. You can also get involved by starting or funding a project.

How Can You Select the Best Charities to Support?

The charities on the list are, we deem, the best charities for combating the obesity crisis. However, you may have a particular charity you want to support. Let’s look at what you can do to ensure your contribution has the most significant impact.

  • Check out the charity website. Charities that are worthy of your donations are transparent in their mission and their figures. Familiarize yourself with their history, mission, and values. Their website usually is the best place to start.
  • Identify the charity’s mission. Without a goal, the charity is likely to fail. If the charity’s mission isn’t clear, it’s probably worth looking for a charity that does have a clear mission. 
  • Check if the charity has measurable goals. An effective charity has clear goals. You want to know if your donation will help the charity reach its goals. But if it doesn’t have targets, it’s likely to fail or squander your gift. The charity should be able to account for its spending and supply evidence of the work they do.
  • Assess the successes or goals the charity has achieved. You wouldn’t invest in a business if it kept missing its targets. In the same way, charities are like this too. If no one is assessing a charity’s progress in reaching its targets, the chances are they’re not making a substantial positive change.
  • Check the charity’s financials and stats. Trustworthy organizations will publish financial statements and reports each year. Some might be exempt from having to do so, but they should be able to provide them to public members who are interested in donating.
  • Locate sources who work with or benefit from the charity. Word of mouth and first-hand experience of a charity’s work lets you know the charity’s quality. If you’re able to do so, check out the charity for yourself or speak to someone familiar with it. This way, your donation will go to the right place. 

How Can You Best Support These Charities?

After you’ve made your decision, it’s time for you to decide on how you’d like to help the charities you’ve chosen. Check how you can help – each charity runs specific programs that have unique aims. Find out what the aim of such programs is and whether they are right for you. 

Here are a few ways you can help your chosen charity:

  • Donate money. You can find donation pages on the website of most charities. Your donation can be a one-time payment, or you can set it to be deducted regularly at different intervals. You can mostly pay via credit card, but some charities also take PayPal or Bitcoin payments.
  • Buy their official merchandise. Charities can also raise money by selling merchandise. So, you can support them by buying the mugs, shirts, caps, pens, pencils, and any other such items they may be selling. Ideally, you should buy as much as you can to share and spread the word about the charity’s activities.
  • Engage in volunteer work. As you’ve seen from our descriptions above, some charities engage in a lot of local and grassroots programs. You can help by taking on and organizing the program in your local area.
  • Help their fundraising efforts. You can spread the word about the charity in your workplace, school, church, etc., and hold creative fundraising drives on social media or offline within your small circles.
  • Share their stories. Most charities have compelling stories that you can share with your audience to attract more people to the cause.

Final Thoughts

Now it is up to you to select the charity that resonates most with you. And whichever charity you end up choosing and contributing to, we are sure that they will immensely appreciate your support. Hopefully, the information within this article has made this selection process a bit easier for you to support charities dedicated to combatting the obesity crisis – based on the causes that matter most to you.

Stay impactful,

Illustration of a signature for Alycia

PS: Finally, I want to leave you with a thought-provoking TED talk from Dan Pallotta, a leading philanthropic activist, and fundraiser, about what is wrong with the way we think about charities – and what we can do about it:

The way we think about charity is dead wrong | Dan Pallotta

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