Voices For Healthy Kids Partners

Voices for Healthy Kids Announces Team of Experts  to Reverse Childhood Obesity Epidemic

We’re proud to share news of a collaboration between the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation aimed at engaging, organizing and mobilizing people to improve the health of their communities and reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. Voices for Healthy Kids is focused on advocating for changes to local, state and federal policies in order to help young people eat healthier foods and be more active.

The campaigns will aim to:

  • Improve the nutritional quality of foods and beverages in schools
  • Increase children’s physical activity levels when they are out of school
  • Protect children from marketing of unhealthy food and beverages
  • Increase access to affordable healthy foods
  • Reduce consumption of sugary beverages
  • Increase access to parks, playgrounds, walking paths, bike lanes and other safe places to be active 

Below is a summary of the teams that we’ve funded and how they’ll contribute to the Voices for Healthy Kids movement.

Smart School Foods

The Pew Charitable Trusts is helping states ensure that all foods served in U.S. schools are healthy. With a long history of informing policy, Pew will support states in improving the nutrition of meals, snacks and beverages available to students across the country. Pew applies a data-driven, analytical approach to developing strategies that make government more effective. The institution’s initiatives have delivered results at national, state and local levels. For more information, visit healthyschoolfoodsnow.org or pewtrusts.org.

Healthy Drinks

The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity is working to reduce kids’ consumption of sugary drinks. Rudd will expand and share its research and educational tools to ensure children have better access to healthy beverages and less access to beverages filled with unnecessary empty calories. The Rudd Center is known for its leading-edge research on the health consequences, targeted marketing and public policies on sugary drinks. For more information, visit yaleruddcenter.org or follow @yaleruddcenter on Twitter.

Marketing Matters

As a co-convener of the Food Marketing Work Group, Berkeley Media Studies Group (BMSG) is focusing on protecting children from the marketing of unhealthy foods and drinks. They bring a network of more than 125 organizations dedicated to eliminating harmful food marketing — particularly marketing aimed at those most vulnerable to obesity and related health problems. Berkeley Media Studies Group is known for helping community and public health groups practice media advocacy — the strategic use of media to advance healthy public policy. BMSG is a project of the Public Health Institute. For more information, visit bmsg.org or foodmarketing.org or follow @BMSGdotorg on Twitter.

Food Access

The Food Trust is increasing access to affordable healthy foods. They bring years of expertise in increasing healthy foods available in stores through healthy food financing initiatives and creating and implementing healthy in-store marketing policies in supermarkets and corner stores. Focusing in on communities with the least access to healthy foods, The Food Trust will provide Voices for Healthy Kids the needed strategies and options most appropriate for each community. For more information, visit thefoodtrust.org or follow @thefoodtrust on Twiiter.

Active Places

The Safe Routes to School National Partnership is increasing access to safe spaces for physical activity. The National Partnership brings together more than 650 national, state and local organizations and networks to advance policies and programs that increase access to parks, playgrounds, walking paths, bike lanes and other opportunities to be physically active. With a focus on shared use and street-scale policies, these efforts engage communities and mobilize people to overcome the lack of access to physical activity at schools and to increase transportation options in underserved communities. For more information, visit saferoutespartnership.org/activeplaces or follow @saferoutesnow on Twitter.

Active Kids Out of School

The YMCA of the USA is increasing children’s physical activity levels. As the largest nonprofit provider of quality afterschool programs, the Y is a strong advocate for healthy childcare in out of school settings. The YMCA of the USA is helping increase children’s activity levels by leading efforts with the Healthy Out of School Time Coalition to engage providers across the country to adopt healthy living standards. For more information, visit ymca.net or niost.org/HOST-Program.

We invite you to learn more about this effort and take advantage of the July 9 “Signs of Progress toward Reversing the Childhood Obesity Epidemic” event in Washington, D.C. The event featured speakers from across the country sharing their experiences and engaging leaders in a dialogue. You can learn how to take best practices back to your communities and get involved. Visit us online to listen to the webinar recording.