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Nemours Participates in the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit
More Organizations Pledge to Make the Healthy Choice
Michelle Obama speaks at The Partnership for a Healthier America Summit.
At the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) Summit held November 29-30 in Washington, D.C., several major national companies and nonprofits announced plans to make healthy eating and physical activity for children “business as usual.”
The Partnership, of which Nemours is a founding member, has a mission of supporting First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! campaign by working with the private sector to fight childhood obesity. The theme
that emerged at the summit, a gathering of leaders from business and industry, academia, nonprofits and government, was: “Make the healthy choice the easy choice.”
For example, the YMCA of the USA announced that it is adopting new healthy living guidelines for food, sugar sweetened beverages, exercise, and screen time for the 700,000 children it serves in child care, after-school, and summer programs. Though the guidelines are voluntary for individual YMCA chapters across the county, Delaware YMCA President Michael Graves is fully on board.
“The YMCA of Delaware has partnered with Nemours Health & Prevention Services to advance our shared interest in youth development and healthy living for the past seven years,” Graves said. “Together we have been providing healthy snacks and exercise in our afterschool programs. We have worked to advance Nemours’ 5-2-1-Almost None model of healthy behavior for children. The recent announcement from the YMCA of the USA and the Partnership for a Healthier America bolsters our efforts to help kids grow
Other announcements made in conjunction with PHA, including some made last week at the summit:
- Walgreens will be selling fruits and vegetables, whole grain products, and other nutritious items in order to create food “oases” in vulnerable areas known as food deserts. They anticipate involving 1,000 stores, which serve 5 million customers.
- Walmart plans to build 300 stores with groceries in neighborhoods that struggle with access to healthy foods.
- Hyatt Corporation is starting a “Healthy on the Road” initiative at its hotels.
- Childhood Obesity 180 is a collaboration among major out-of-school time organizations, including the Boy and Girl Scouts, YMCA of America, La Raza, Pop Warner, and others to bring more focus on and share best practices for improving child health and physical activity.
- Bright Horizons and New Horizon Academy child care centers have committed to the standards of Let’s Move! Child Care, hosted by Nemours. These centers will follow guidelines set forth for food and beverages, physical activity, screen time, and breastfeeding and will voluntarily undergo independent assessment of their progress.
- All of Kaiser Permanente’s 29 birthing hospitals have committed to the standards of baby-friendly hospitals to support breastfeeding — recognized to have a positive and lasting impact on children’s weight and health.
As many speakers at the summit observed, nutrition has gone mainstream. The public is starting to demand healthier options and business is finding that there is a competitive advantage in offering them.
Nemours co-facilitated the Child Care track at the summit. John Lord, Nemours Board Chair, introduced the commitment of New Horizons Academy child care centers to follow the standards for Let’s Move! Child Care. Debbie Chang, Nemours Vice President of Policy and Prevention, led a discussion group on ways to improve access to physical activity in child care facilities.
"Top Chef" Tom Colicchio preparing a 30-minute, low cost dinner at the Partnership for a Healthier America Summit.
As part of the summit’s events, White House chef Sam Kass emceed the “Great American Family Dinner Challenge.” Top Chef’s Tom Colicchio and other notable chefs prepared 30-minute low cost, healthy dinners for families who judged their efforts. Colicchio’s team eked out the win.
First Lady Michelle Obama made the capstone speech at the summit. She thanked the PHA partners and attendees describing the progress to date in the fight against childhood obesity and emphasizing the need to help our
children rediscover play.
“These days, ‘play’ for some has become a fully sedentary activity,” Mrs. Obama said. She urged everyone to “innovate, inspire, and invest” to help children lead active,
In summary, Debbie Chang said: “This conference shows that childhood obesity prevention has evolved into a solid movement. The sold-out attendance, the public-private commitments, and the leadership of the First Lady and the Partnership for a Healthier America demonstrate strength of purpose, focus, and a sense of urgency to indeed solve the problem of childhood obesity within a generation.”
John Lord observed: “Nemours has been a leader in examining childhood obesity from all perspectives and in engaging community partners to tackle the problem in a comprehensive way. Nemours has been especially adept at blending policy, research, and practice change to have a positive impact thus serve as a model for the nation. Nemours’ leadership on Let’s Move! Child Care is helping to put early childhood wellness front and center with regard to nutrition and physical activity practices.”