|America is in the midst of an obesity epidemic. Currently, 69% of U.S. adults are overweight while more than one third (35%) are obese. Children are not untouched by this frightening reality as 32% are overweight, 17% of whom are obese. |
The American Heart Association supports a multipronged approach to address this problem including creating and implementing policies designed to improve access to affordable, nutritious foods and beverages, thereby making it easier for Americans to choose healthier foods consistent with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.
One of these approaches is to reduce the consumption of sugary beverages among Americans, especially children. Sugary drinks are the single largest source of calories in the American diet. The average American consumes the equivalent of 39 pounds of sugar each year from sugary drinks.
That’s why the American Heart Association is encourage Americans to Rethink Your Drink and choose water or low-calories options over the high-calories sugary drinks.
Learn how to Rethink Your Drink by visiting our resource page.
Read more about our sugary drinks policy approaches here.
Welcome to the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition website.
Established in 2007 by the American Heart Association, the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition is a diverse group of statewide partners that are committed to reducing childhood overweight/obesity prevalence through prevention using legislative advocacy and policy change. The coalition’s mission is to promote healthy eating and increase physical activity to improve health and reduce obesity among Minnesota’s children through state and federal policy.
Download information about the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition (PDF).
Check out our interactive map of Minnesota that shows funded and unfunded pedestrian and bicycle projects in the state. See the statewide interest in creating safe options for walkers and bicyclists as well as projects that have stalled due to lack of funding.
Learn about our Active Transportation Poll which found that a significant majority of Minnesotans favor including additional funding for pedestrian and bicycle infrastructure in road and public transportation funding proposals.
2014 Policy Wins at the Minnesota Legislature:
- Secured $1 million in the bonding bill for Minnesota's Safe Routes to School program for infrastructure projects (i.e. sidewalks, safe road crossings).
- Secured $250,000 in the supplemental budget bill for Minnesota’s Safe Routes to School program for non-infrastructure projects (i.e. education, planning assistance) that will be added to the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s (MnDOT) annual base budget. This brings MnDOT’s annual budget for non-infrastructure projects for Safe Routes to School to $500,000.
- Passed legislation and $25,000 in funding that requires the Minnesota Department of Education to conduct a survey in 2014 on the status of physical education, including the quality and quantity, in Minnesota schools.
- Passed legislation and $3.5 million in funding that expands access to free school lunch by eliminating the forty cent fee for reduced-price lunch so that a healthy lunch is not denied to low-income children with insufficient money in their lunch accounts.
Policy Agenda Beyond the Minnesota Legislature:
- Support efforts to reduce sugar sweetened beverage consumption.
- Work with Minnesota’s congressional delegation to pursue federal policies that work to address childhood obesity.
- Look for opportunities to improve data collection on childhood obesity.
- The coalition will continue to explore the link between childhood obesity and chemicals that may contribute to obesity.
Thanks to the coordinated efforts of our partners, Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition successes in 2013 include:
- Passed legislation to fund Minnesota’s Safe Routes to School Program at $250,000 per year in the Minnesota Department of Transportation’s base budget.
- Passed legislation that provides a 1/2 cent per meal increase to school meal reimbursement in Minnesota.
- Passed legislation to fund Farm to School in Minnesota at $3 million for the next biennium.
- Passed legislation establishing $35 million as base funding per biennium for Minnesota’s Statewide Health Improvement Program (SHIP), which allows SHIP to return as a program with a statewide scope.
Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition partners include:
- Learn more about childhood obesity in the Childhood Obesity Sourcebook. Understanding Childhood Obesity is an American Heart Association sourcebook on child nutrition and physical activity. Both the full and condensed downloadable PDF versions are an update of the 2005 version, A Nation At Risk. It’s a great resource for media, policymakers, health professionals, school officials and other stakeholders to begin meaningful dialogue toward concrete solutions to the obesity epidemic.
- Check out American Heart Association’s advocacy fact sheet on obesity and cardiovascular disease.
- The Program in Health Disparities Research, housed within the University of Minnesota Medical School, is working on solutions to eliminate health inequalities. Check out their childhood obesity prevention project site. As part of their “Using Obesity Research to Shape State Policy” study, they released Resources for Decision Makers, a list of experts and collection of fact sheets designed to help state agencies, health advocates and legislators/staff translate obesity research into state policy.
Interested in joining the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition?
If you or your organization would like to get involved in our efforts or join the Minnesotans for Healthy Kids Coalition, please contact Rachel Callanan, American Heart Association, Regional Vice President of Advocacy, (952) 278-7915.