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June 18, 2018

Healthier Generation CEO Leaves Strong Legacy as Board Launches Search for New Leadership

(NEW YORK, N.Y.) June 18, 2018 - Alliance for a Healthier Generation Chief Executive Officer Dr. Howell Wechsler today announced his resignation, effective September 30, after more than five years leading the national child health and obesity prevention organization. The Healthier Generation Board of Directors has launched a comprehensive search for its new CEO through LeaderFit and looks forward to a smooth and seamless leadership transition.

Dr. Wechsler assumed his position as Healthier Generation CEO in May 2013 after serving 18 years as a public health scientist at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, including nine years as Director of the Division of Adolescent and School Health.

“As a renowned national leader in child health and one of the leading scientific experts on child obesity, Dr. Wechsler brought scientific rigor and visionary leadership to our organization,” said William J. Bryant, Chairman of Healthier Generation’s Board of Directors. “We are grateful to Dr. Wechsler for all he has done to maintain and expand Healthier Generation’s leadership role in the child health space.”

Healthier Generation’s exceptional achievements under Dr. Wechsler’s leadership over the past five years include:

  • Expanding the number of students served by Healthier Generation’s schools programs from 10 million to more than 21 million.
  • Expanding a resource-rich digital platform that has increased Healthier Generation’s programmatic reach to over 40,000 schools.
  • Becoming the primary provider of technical assistance to help thousands of out-of-school time program sites affiliated with the National Recreation and Parks Association and the Boys & Girls Clubs of America become healthier environments for children.
  • Negotiating global agreements with McDonald’s, which led to substantial reductions in calories, sugar, saturated fat, and sodium in the Happy Meal menu (e.g., removal of soda and cheeseburgers as menu options) and the addition of a salad option instead of French fries in adult meals.
  • Negotiating an agreement with the nation’s largest beverage companies in which they committed to reducing per capita intake of beverage calories in the US by 20% by 2025 and to utilizing their marketing prowess to address health disparities.
  • Creating and disseminating world-class multi-media marketing campaigns, including the “America’s Healthiest Schools” campaign, that define what it means to be a healthy school.
  • Documenting through a peer-reviewed scientific journal article that the more that schools engaged with Healthier Generation, and the longer they engaged, the greater reductions they experienced in rates of child obesity and overweight. 
  • Establishing Healthier Generation as the leading NGO helping the nation’s schools implement federally required school wellness policies and nutrition standards.
  • Building and leading a School Health Policy Consortium comprised of more than 40 national public policy organizations that work together to advance childhood obesity prevention policies at state, local, and tribal levels across the country through the Voices for Healthy Kids initiative.
  • Building the organization’s capacity to address critical child and adolescent health issues beyond physical activity and healthy eating, such as social emotion health and quality sleep.

“It has been an extraordinary honor to serve with the passionate public health professionals and child health advocates on the Healthier Generation staff, as well as with the organization’s dedicated Board members and terrific partner organizations,” said Wechsler. “Healthier Generation has a bright future as one of the most impactful organizations promoting child health in the United States.”

“The Board is incredibly excited about the momentum Dr. Wechsler has created, and we look forward to Healthier Generation continuing to lead the way in providing and promoting healthy environments for children and adolescents,” said Bryant.


About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation believes every child deserves a healthy future. For more than a decade, Healthier Generation has been empowering kids to develop lifelong healthy habits by ensuring the environments that surround them provide and promote good health. Driven by our passion that all young people deserve a chance to live healthier lives, our work has helped more than 30 million young people across the country. Make a difference at HealthierGeneration.org and join us on Facebook and Twitter.


Laura O’Connor