Altarum Institute’s Center for Healthy Child and Youth Development played a leadership role in the Partnership for a Healthier America’s Building a Healthy Future Summit, which took place on November 29–30, 2011, in Washington, DC. More than 800 corporate and civic leaders gathered for the Partnership’s inaugural summit, which featured honorary chairwoman First Lady Michelle Obama. The summit supported a convergence of efforts to improve children’s health and welfare by ensuring the integration of major efforts ultimately leading to a coordinated and succinct national agenda. As the operating foundation behind the First Lady’s Let’s Move! campaign, the Partnership for a Healthier America works with the private sector to garner commitments of significance to end childhood obesity within a generation. Childhood obesity is a serious and growing epidemic, cutting across all categories of race, ethnicity, family income, and locale. Obesity rates tripled in the past 30 years, a trend that means for the first time in our history, American children may face a shorter expected lifespan than their parents.
The Center for Healthy Child and Youth Development convened the Early Childhood Track at the summit, alongside three other tracks led by The Food Trust, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and the President’s Council for Physical Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition. The Early Childhood Track was focused on building new relationships with the business community to generate private sector-driven commitments in support of healthy childcare settings. Specifically, the track included five breakout sessions that were focused on healthy food procurement, fixed and portable play equipment, educational and technology resources, and professional development and worksite wellness for child care providers. The track was attended by 125 participants from the business, government, academic, nonprofit, and philanthropic sectors.
Other event highlights included an array of announcements of commitments to the Partnership for obesity prevention, such as the YMCA of the USA (Y-USA), Hyatt Hotels, the New Horizons Academy, the Kellogg Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente. Notably, the Y-USA announced Altarum as the evaluator for their commitment to creating healthier early childhood and after-school programs that serve more than 700,000 youths. Over the next 3 years, the Center will conduct a third party evaluation to verify the Y-USA’s achievement of their commitment to standards around physical activity, healthy eating, and screen time. As the largest nonprofit organization providing child care in the United States, the Y-USA’s commitment has the potential to reach a large number of young children across the country and substantially affect their health behaviors, and Altarum is pleased to be partnering with Y-USA to evaluate their efforts.
About the Center for Healthy Child and Youth Development
Altarum Center for Healthy Child and Youth Development aims to serve as a catalyst in promoting progress in healthy child development by operating simultaneously as a research center, technical assistance provider, policy advocate, and partner to organizations with similar goals. The Center makes strategic investments in partnerships and projects to examine, demonstrate, and support efforts designed to promote healthy children and youth.