Voices for Healthy Kids is a new collaboration between the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation working to engage, organize and mobilize people to improve the health of their communities and reverse the childhood obesity epidemic. There are now more than 23.5 million children and teens in the U.S. who are overweight or obese. 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.
To reverse the childhood obesity epidemic, Voices for Healthy Kids pursues policy-change strategies that research and practice suggest will have the greatest impact. Those strategies are focused on six key areas:
- improving the nutritional quality of snack foods and beverages in schools;
- reducing consumption of sugary beverages;
- protecting children from unhealthy food and beverage marketing;
- increasing access to affordable healthy foods;
- increasing access to parks, playgrounds, walking paths, bike lanes and other opportunities to be physically active; and
- helping youth-serving programs increase children’s physical activity levels.The Voices for Healthy Kids approach uses a model that includes six teams of expert organizations to execute and support the success of campaigns in these strategic areas. The organizations include Safe Routes to School National Partnership, The Food Trust, YMCA of the USA, The Pew Charitable Trusts, The Yale Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity, and Berkeley Media Studies Group.
These experts will provide technical assistance for state and local campaigns, while strengthening national coalitions to fight childhood obesity.