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Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Lobbying Policies and Monitoring for Program to Reduce Obesity and Tobacco Use

GAO-13-477R Published: Apr 30, 2013. Publicly Released: May 30, 2013.
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What GAO Found

CDC has administered and provided oversight of the CPPW program, which includes the monitoring of award recipients. CDC required recipients to use their CPPW funds to support efforts to improve nutrition, increase physical activity, or reduce tobacco use and exposure to secondhand smoke. In addition, CDC suggested possible strategies for achieving these results, such as working to establish smoke-free zones or to implement zoning changes that promote physical activity. CDC policy prohibited CPPW award recipients from using funds for specific types of activities, including lobbying, which generally meant certain activities designed to influence action in regard to a particular piece of pending legislation.

GAO reviewed CDC policies on lobbying and CPPW award recipients' activities. GAO is providing information on several issues about CDC policy on lobbying as it pertained to CPPW award recipients.

Why GAO Did This Study

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), obesity-related medical expenses in the U.S. were an estimated $147 billion in 2008, and tobacco use costs the nation $96 billion in medical expenses each year. To help reduce obesity and tobacco use, two leading causes of chronic disease, CDC established the Communities Putting Prevention to Work (CPPW) program using funds appropriated to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Recovery Act). With this funding, CDC awarded a total of approximately $522.3 million in cooperative agreements to state and local health departments in fiscal year 2010 throughout the country to address issues related to obesity and nutrition, and support tobacco use-cessation efforts. CDC made additional awards totaling approximately $36.9 million using funds appropriated by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA), enacted in 2010, and transferred to an account specifically for the CPPW program. All CPPW awards were made during fiscal year 2010, and, according to CDC officials, all CPPW award recipients will have completed their work by September 2013; CDC has no plans to continue the CPPW program.

For more information contact Linda T. Kohn at (202) 512-7114 or

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Appropriated fundsAuditing standardsBudget outlaysDisease detection or diagnosisFederal legislationHealth care programsInternal controlsLobbying activitiesObesityProgram evaluationPublic healthPublic health legislationPublic relationsTobacco industry