Perspectives May 2012
Welcome to Perspectives, my monthly letter that will appear in the AHA newsletter and on the home page each month.
On May 3rd, we had our Quarterly Meeting. It was great to see so many of our partners – and some new faces. Last week I was in Washington, D.C. for the Weight of the Nation Conference–perhaps some of you read my Tweets!
AHA Director Sheree Vodicka
I wanted to share some news from the conference presentations about the challenges and opportunities, and also I would like to briefly report on the Quarterly Meeting.
First, the Quarterly Meeting. We heard inspiring presentations from the Wake Boys & Girls Clubs and the Nessie Foundation/Parrish Manor mobile home community about the great work they are doing through the Healthy Places, Active Spaces project funded by the John Rex Endowment. What a testament to good people with good hearts doing good things for the people in this community. I think everyone in attendance left feeling humbled by what’s being done to help at-risk youth eat healthier and be more physically active.
The Weight of the Nation Conference held May 9-11 was the second of its kind. The purpose of the conference was to promote policy, systems and environmental change strategies to address the obesity epidemic. Of course, the big announcement was that by 2030 we will likely see national rates of obesity at 42%, with 11% of us being classified as severely obese.
The Institute of Medicine released a report of recommendations for solving the problem titled Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention. This report lists 5 main recommendations, each with a handful of strategies, backed by a growing body of evidence all neatly packaged in a 463-page tome.
The other big announcement was the HBO documentary series, Weight of the Nation, which is airing this week for the first time. If you don’t have HBO, you can still see the four-part series online. HBO and their partners are making this series widely available to raise awareness and prompt community action. Stay tuned to learn how AHA will use this tool to help us move action here at home.
My favorite session at the conference was a bike tour of D.C.’s bicycling infrastructure. The session took about 35 of us on a 15-mile bike tour to see the various types of bike lanes and signals that have been installed and to learn about their wildly successful Capital BikeShare program, all designed to get people out of their cars in one of the most congested cities in America. I will be blogging this week about biking to work in Raleigh in honor of Bike to Work Month and Bike to Work Day, which is this Friday, May 18th. I will be comparing my trips around town to the trip I took in D.C. and sharing some insights.
Please continue to follow us on our website, and on Facebook and Twitter this month as we bring you new and helpful information about what’s going on with AHA.