Thank you, Pittsburgh, for giving residents and visitors safer streets for walking, biking, and increased physical activity!
Students at the University of Maryland are challenging 250,000 members of their community to lose 4 pounds each—for a whopping total of one million pounds lost by the end of the year.
Inspired by a similar program in New Haven, Connecticut, the students are encouraging their community to get healthier. “Our goal is to have 250,000 people from across Prince George’s County, Maryland, participating in this initiative,” said Sarahann Yeh, a member of the team behind the initiative. According to the group’s website, 72 percent of people in Prince George’s County are overweight or obese.
The campaign, “Lose It to Win It,” is part of the University of Maryland School of Public Health’s Healthy Futures program, which is aimed at curbing childhood obesity and helping families get access to services that they need and are eligible for such as health insurance, food stamps, dental care and tax credits.
People who pledge to lose the 4 pounds are asked to weigh in monthly. They will also receive emails with information on “active community” events, recipes and healthy lifestyle tips. The group’s website also offers several tips to help participants get started including exercise, adding more fruits and vegetables to meals, drinking lots of water and finding a workout buddy.
“This campaign is a vehicle for people to lose weight and live a healthy, active lifestyle,” Sarahann said. “We are hoping that, through this campaign, the community can come together and work as a unit to live healthier lives.”
Being involved in the program doesn’t just mean losing weight. “Involvement can be as simple as encouraging your neighbor to go running with you or pledging to cut back on sugary foods,” Sarahann explained. The team is also looking for help getting the word out about the campaign: One of the biggest challenges for the team so far has been balancing academic priorities with campaign outreach.
The students hope that this program is just the beginning of healthier habits for Prince George’s County as a whole. “With healthy living, people will be able to shed and keep off 4 pounds for many years to come. And hopefully this is just the start to their weight loss.”
Two new complete streets and equity reports have been released and are the result of a project to study equity elements in complete streets policies, the characteristics of communities with equity elements in their policies, and to qualitatively understand how equity elements in complete streets policies are being implemented in practice. Learn more about the reports here.
Eight applicants have been awarded funds that will help young students walk, bike and roll safely to and from school.
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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.