Marcia Kerz
Marcia Kerz
The Oasis Institute
The first-ever Building a Healthier Future Summit in late November 2011 shined a light on one of the most pressing public health problems in our country, childhood obesity.
James Teufel, Peter Holtgrave and I joined more than 800 leaders from business, education and the community at the summit convened by the Partnership for a Healthier America in Washington DC.
It was a thrill to meet First Lady Michelle Obama, honorary chair of the partnership and founder of “Let’s Move.” and witness her deep commitment to engaging everyone in improving the health of our children.
It was just as exciting to see the broad support for this campaign, as Wal-Mart, the YMCA, Walgreens, the Girl Scouts and other organizations have made major commitments to improve child health by increasing access to fresh healthy food, promoting physical activity and other policy changes.
Michelle Obama  at PHA
“We have begun to see a fundamental change in the conversation in this country about how we feed our kids. Every single one of us has a role to play. It’s about each of us taking responsibility.”

– First Lady Michelle Obama, honorary chair of the Partnership for a Healthier America.

OASIS brings a powerful resource to help solve this crisis – the experience and commitment of thousands of volunteers who care about kids.
Through research-based programs like CATCH Healthy Habits and Intergenerational Tutoring, Oasis volunteers work to improve children’s education, health literacy, physical activity and nutrition. Oasis has worked with more than 120 community partners and 1000 schools in 34 cities, including school districts, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, YMCAs, parks departments, corporations and other agencies.
“Engaging volunteers in their communities is a key element of our mission to promote successful aging. By bringing together caring adults and children, we can identify opportunities for local policy and environmental changes that will reverse the obesity epidemic. We have the capacity to make a substantial impact.”

There is much more we can do to help children and families make lasting healthy changes in how we eat and stay active. We all have a role to play in turning this around.

What are your thoughts on this? What changes would you suggest in local policies and practices to reverse childhood obesity in your community?