Perspectives April 2013
Sheree Vodicka, AHA Director
I’m writing this post on the day we recognized nine Wake County schools for their work to make wellness a part of every school day as part of our Brains & Bodies Awards. It’s so inspiring to hear the students themselves tell about their roles sitting on wellness committees and their understanding of the role that healthy eating and active living play in school and life. Congratulations again to our award winners!
Our goal for this fall is to start the awards process early with instructions for using the Alliance for a Healthier Generation tool in September, so schools will have the entire school year to assess, plan and implement changes in 2013-14. We hope to be able to recognize twice as many schools next year.
We have an event coming up at the end of April – a film screening in Cary – that should generate some interesting conversation with the community there about the obesity epidemic, especially in children, and how the Town of Cary can expand its existing efforts to encourage and support active lifestyles with bike lanes, greenways, connected neighborhoods, etc. and healthier eating with farmers’ markets, gardens, etc. Join us Tuesday April 30th at the Cary Arts Center if you are interested—it’s free but you do need a ticket, and space is limited, so be sure to reserve your ticket.
AHA is excited to be a part of County-wide efforts to tackle obesity as a member of the Eat Smart, Move More of Wake committee. This committee now has four work groups – one focused on making physical activity a vital sign with health care practitioners; one focused on food procurement for county government; one focused on collecting more and better data on eating habits and activity of Wake County residents; and one focused on quality improvement of these overall efforts. I sit on several of these committees representing us as a collaborative. Many AHA partners take part in this effort in addition to being part of AHA’s work – and all these efforts, when taken together, cover a lot of ground in our County.
As you may have heard, Wake County was recently recognized as the healthiest County in the state of North Carolina. While that’s a nice accolade, and we don’t want to minimize that in any way, we also need to recognize that North Carolina ranks in the bottom third for health rankings overall. So while we seem to have a pretty healthy populace, with much of that credit going to our outstanding Human Services Department, AHA and all our great partners, we also must recognize the work ahead to get even better. County Commission Chair Joe Bryan said just this past week he’d like to see Wake County be the healthiest capital county in the nation. With all of us working together – and it starts where I started – with schools – we can make that goal a reality.
Look for information coming to your inbox soon about how to renew your membership in AHA to help us move the needle on healthier eating and active living in our county.