The Inside Track launches a brand-new feature this week called “Gimme Five,” headed by Zach Brooks, our customer relations manager. Each week, Zach will speak with a Leader to get a quick look at why he or she loves working to create healthy environments for kids. Fittingly, the first is all about the Leader who Zach knows the best: himself.
Want to take part? Click here to see Zach’s profile and contact him.
Name: Zach Brooks
Title: Customer Relations Manager
1. What inspired you to start working on childhood obesity?
I was really excited to start working on PreventObesity.net. I grew up in a pretty unwalkable community in Michigan and didn’t think twice when I’d have a Coke or Sprite during school. As I’ve gotten older and seen the effects these environments have on communities and kids, I was glad to do my part to help Leaders connect. I’m also glad we focus on creating healthy environments and policies, so we can make it easier for kids and their parents to make the healthy choice.
2. How are you helping to reverse childhood obesity?
At PreventObesity.net, we’re helping Leaders and Supporters of the childhood obesity movement connect together to share information and create change. In my role, I help find interesting Leaders who are working in the field to prevent childhood obesity. I also help Leaders fully utilize our tools to make valuable connections together.
3. What’s your biggest accomplishment so far in helping reduce childhood obesity?
In late January 2013, we hit a milestone for PreventObesity.net. We reached more than 3,000 registered Leaders and more than 200,000 Supporters. The network hit a size the team had been working toward for years and I was really proud of the impact we’d be able to have with our campaigns. Shortly after reaching this milestone, we launched our School Snacks campaign. Thanks to the hard work the team put in to build the network, we will be able to show the USDA that the public wants to see healthy changes in schools.
4. Who is your role model in your work?
I really admire groups doing work to encourage physical activity in communities. Playworks, KaBoom!, Instant Recess and Safe Routes to School are just a few groups who are nationally doing work to encourage kids to get active. I’m glad to work with Leaders from these organizations.
5. What healthy snacks did you enjoy growing up?
I have always been a vegetable kind-of guy. Some of my favorite healthy snacks growing up were carrots, baby corn and frozen peas (yes, still frozen).
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Leaders are people who are actively working - either professionally or as volunteers - to change policies and environments to help children eat better and be more active. We use the following criteria to evaluate whether to approve an applicant for Leader status with the Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center.
Do you meet the criteria below? If so, register as a Leader here. There is no cost to be a Leader.
At least one item must be checked within each of the following two categories:
1. Applicant is focused on changing policies and environments
They are working on one of Voices for Healthy Kid's six issue areas:
Ensure foods and beverages in schools meet dietary guidelines
Expand community access to high quality food
Expand physical activity programs in and out of school
Improve built environment in communities to increase physical activity
Use pricing strategies to promote purchase of healthier foods
Use regulation/policy to reduce youth exposure to unhealthy food marketing
They are working on other obesity-related issues, such as:
Their primary focus is working on individual behavior (e.g., teaching kids about food, play, etc.), but they have access to organizations that could provide opportunities to change environments, such as
Public Health Agencies
Their project is commercial, but contributes positively to changing policies and environments, such as:
2. Applicant is organizing others or contributing to organizing efforts
They are organizing others by:
Providing volunteer opportunities
Building contact lists of supporters to engage in advocacy
They provide support to organizations or leaders doing work changing policies and environments, such as:
They are a leader in a governmental body that may be the target of organizing efforts to change policies and environments, such as a:
Federal or state agency
Mayor or other local executive office
Federal, state, county or local public health department
Federal, state, county or transportation department
Federal, state or local education agency or school board
If the applicant claims to work for an organization, at least one item must be checked below:
3. Applicant works for an organization:
Has an email address that matches the domain of the organization they list
Is listed on the organization website as staff
The Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center is looking for bloggers who can write about issues that matter to our community on a regular basis. If you would like to be considered for this network, please check this box.