Please join Trust for America's Health (TFAH) on January 29 as public health leaders discuss the national obesity crisis, its health impacts, and how advocates are working at the national and local levels to address this ongoing epidemic. This web forum explores findings of TFAH's 2019 State of Obesity report:

The report found that about 1 in 3 Americans of all ages—more than 100 million people—have obesity. The epidemic is estimated to increase national healthcare spending by $149 billion annually, about half of which is paid for by Medicare and Medicaid. Moreover, the rates of U.S. obesity continue to climb, and racial, ethnic, income and geographic disparities persist. For the first time, nine U.S. states (AL, AK, IA, KY, LA, MS, MO, ND and WV) had adult obesity rates at or above 35% in 2018, up from zero states as recently as 2012.  

Speakers will cover the latest national and state obesity rates and trends, highlight promising approaches localities have undertaken to ensure healthy communities, and offer national policy recommendations that incorporate innovative approaches that prioritize helping all Americans lead healthier lives. The web forum session will include time for audience Q&A.

This free event is recommended for anyone working in public health, advocacy, school health, community-based organizations, faith-based organizations, transportation and planning, hospitals, health systems, insurers, and local and state health officials. Live captioning is available for all attendees. 


Devita Davison

Executive Director

FoodLab Detroit

Detroit, MI

FoodLab is a nonprofit organization that fosters the creation of an inclusive and equitable local food economy by providing food entrepreneurs with education, peer-to-peer mentoring, access to market opportunities and exchange of experiences. As Executive Director, Devita works to build an ecosystem that provides food entrepreneurs with the resources they…

Learn more about this Presenter

Martha Halko, MS, RD, LD

Deputy Director, Prevention & Wellness

Cuyahoga County Board of Health

Parma, OH

Martha Halko is Deputy Director in the Prevention and Wellness service area at the Cuyahoga County Board of Health (CCBH) and she has served in this capacity since 2011. Martha is a community focused and outcome driven public health professional with more than 21 years of experience working to address…

Learn more about this Presenter

Ruth Petersen, MD, MPH

Director, Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)

Houston, TX

Ruth Petersen serves as the director of CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity (DNPAO). The Division provides national leadership on nutrition, physical activity, and obesity prevention through policy and guideline development, surveillance, epidemiological and behavioral research, and technical assistance to states and communities. Dr. Petersen has held numerous…

Learn more about this Presenter


John M. Auerbach, MBA

President and CEO

Trust for America’s Health

Washington, DC

John Auerbach is the President and CEO of Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), as of January 1, 2017. Previously, he was the Associate Director for Policy at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). He oversaw the Office of the Associate Director for Policy which focuses on the promotion of public health…

Learn more about this Moderator