Coming on the heels of new CDC data showing a significant decline in obesity among America’s youngest children, participants at this year’s Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) Summit in Washington, D.C. spoke of encouraging developments across health and wellness, approaching the work yet to be done with renewed energy.
The opening plenary, “Health Equity for All Communities,” gathered NAACP’s Roslyn Brock, the National Council of La Raza’s Janet Murguía, California Endowment President and CEO Robert Ross and WKKF’s Dr. Gail Christopher to set the tone for discussions throughout the summit. The leaders reminded participants that, particularly in light of signs of progress, our focus must be on race, ethnicity, geography and poverty – the factors underlying disparities in childhood obesity. While 16.9 percent of U.S. children ages 2-19 are obese, children of color make up a disproportionate number of those obese children, both among younger and older children.
Throughout the summit, WKKF grantees participated in breakout sessions highlighting best practices, innovations and challenges in areas from community organizing to early childhood health and nutrition. In “The Community Voice,” HOPE Collaborative’s Sabrina Wu shared stories of success geared toward “creating a space where stakeholders can be in conversation with one another,” explaining that the role of connecting community leaders, business owners and other stakeholders is an important one for a community organization. In “Healthy Early Childhood: Promising Practices,” Helen Dombalis, of the National Farm to School Network, took questions on ways for adults to build healthy relationships between children and nature – relationships that encourage a nutritious diet and healthy lifestyle.
Finally, WKKF’s Ellen Braff-Guajardo joined Partnership for a Healthier America Board Chairman James R. Gavin III and other PHA founding funders to look back on three years of work. They highlighted the growing number of partners, agreeing that while measurable success is encouraging and provides something to rally around, the work towards achieving PHA’s goal of ending child obesity in a generation is not done.
Learn more about the Partnership for a Healthier America’s 2014 Summit.