NRHA Rural Obesity and Chronic Disease Initiative

The Rural Obesity and Chronic Disease Initiative is the combined effort of the National Rural Health Association and NovoNordisk to combat obesity and chronic diseases among rural populations. The initiative aims to diminish the stigmatization of rural obesity and chronic diseases by championing policies and implementing programming that improves the long-term health of rural residents. The efforts of the combined organizations center around Policy, Communications, Education, and Research, with the goal of spreading awareness and highlighting technical solutions to foster a healthier rural population. As obesity and chronic illness afflicts individuals throughout rural communities, this initiative is designed to enhance the access to quality care and bolster the public perception of the value of wellness. 


The specific purpose of the Rural Obesity and Chronic Disease Initiative is to: significantly reduce the rates of obesity in children; diminish the stigmatization around chronic diseases and obesity; expand publicly funded health coverage for individuals who suffer from obesity and chronic disease; prompt public health authorities in the public health space to disseminate and inform the public on the severity of obesity and chronic illness; and improve the public perception of the value of wellness to overall health. 


The initiative is focused on: 

  • Policy: Develop a Rural Obesity and Chronic Disease Interest Group to provide policy recommendations/analysis that target regulatory and legislative barriers.  
  • Communications: Disseminate Information about Rural Obesity and Chronic Diseases and a compendium of best practices via NRHA. 
  • Education: Integrate Dedicated Rural Obesity and Chronic Disease tracks within educational events and provide technical assistance to State Rural Health Associations. 
  • Research: Develop dedicated Rural Obesity and Chronic Disease related research and policy. The research will have explicit intent on combating stigmatization and illness.  


Resources and Information:  

The Rural Obesity and Chronic Disease Initiative Taskforce is curating additional resources for this page that will be posted soon.


Partner: Novo Nordisk 

Novo Nordisk is a multinational company originally from Denmark with its American headquarters located in Plainsboro, NJ. Novo Nordisk prides themselves on developing and expanding access to life sciences to discover better treatments for people living with serious chronic diseases. They believe “despite the millions of people living with obesity, this disease often gets overlooked by health care providers and leaves patients without the proper medical care they deserve. Obesity is about more than just excess weight, it is about long-term health. People living with obesity are at a constant battle with their biology, where changes in their appetite hormone levels can cause them to gain back the weight they have worked so hard to lose.”