Be Our Voice Blog

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

Joining the Childhood Obesity Movement

Posted by: Rachelle Mirkin, Executive Program Director, NICHQ

Last month I attended a meeting of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation grantees working to reduce childhood obesity across the country.  Over 400 dedicated, motivated and passionate people gathered in Atlanta, GA to catalyze the “movement.”  This got me thinking of the word movement?  Is there a movement?  Am I part of the movement?  What is the movement?

My mind first goes to my internal organs – I guess too many years of being around the practice of healthcare.  Then, quickly realizing we are not talking about my innards,  I switch gears.   My first reaction is a very excited “yes!” (not to look a gift horse in the mouth, this is a RWJF grantee meeting, and I am a grantee).  But then, I remember the reality that obesity among children has reached epidemic proportions and everywhere I look I see a fast food outlet or soft drink advertisement.

I am stumped.  How can I make a difference in this environment? 

What’s to be done?  As I often do, I go straight from denial to anger to action.  I quickly realize I can no longer  sit back and watch the ads with a soda in my hand.  It is time to take a stand. 

Just as I was sitting back, noshing on pre-Thanksgiving dinner appetizers, I was struck by the voice of our President.  President Obama was suddenly on the screen talking about  choosing healthy foods and getting active.
I was immediately inspired to share President Obama's commercial with my colleagues at NICHQ. I wanted to help push the momentum of this movement within my team at the office. Movement is all about energy and as the team and I worked in the final weeks to launch this advocacy Web site, I hope to encourage all of those I work with that they can be advocates, too.

So, this is it.  Advocates of all kinds, from the White House to the NFL to my family sitting at the Thanksgiving table, and to my colleagues educating others on the benefits of helping kids, and ourselves, get active. I see our White House growing vegetables and fruits, a First Lady talking about the issues and the White House Chef eating with kids at their school meals.  YMCA’s, Boys and Girls Clubs, schools, and workplaces such as SAS and Google are making strides to offer healthy choices for their employees.  Research and articles are published on a daily basis.

How do all these great pieces translate into a movement?  Federal action, state action, local action and of course, those 400 + individuals. 

As President Obama says, I would like to give a “Shout out” to those colleagues and to say, yes, I am proud to be part of the movement. 

What inspires you to be part of the movement?

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Healthy Kids  General Childhood Obesity