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21 Kids Leading the Fight Against Childhood Obesity

Alliance for a Healthier Generation Announces 2013-2014 Youth Advisory Board

NEW YORK - July 31, 2013 – After a nationwide search, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation announced today the 21 young leaders selected to serve on its 2013-2014 Youth Advisory Board. These young people were chosen for their passion to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic by inspiring their peers, schools, and communities to live healthier lives. The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, an organization founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, is one of the nation's largest non-profit organizations working to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity.

The Alliance's Youth Advisory Board is one of the only youth-led advisory groups in the country focused on childhood obesity issues. The 21 youth leaders play an integral role in advising and providing a youth perspective to the organization as the Alliance strives to encourage young people across the nation to make healthy choices.

Board members serve as thought-leaders on childhood obesity issues, representing the Alliance at local and national events, interviewing with journalists and health-education experts, engaging with community leaders, and addressing their peers. In the past year, Board members have been invited to speak by the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance, the Clinton Foundation, the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition and the White House.

"Adults can sit around the table all day and talk about ways to reverse the obesity epidemic in childhood, but unless we have an authentic youth perspective in the conversations we aren't going to get very far," says Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. "Our Youth Advisory Board members play a critical role in fighting this epidemic—raising their voices and inspiring their communities to take action."

In addition to their roles as advisors and thought-leaders, each Board member is responsible for initiating healthy changes in their own neighborhoods and school districts by engaging in service-learning programs in their communities.

Examples of service-learning programs initiated in the past year by Board members include:

  • Bobby Sena, 10, from Orlando, Florida coordinated a healthy food drive at his school and has helped start three community gardens to help improve access to healthy foods for those most in need.
  • Bodhi Lovely, 11, from Russellville, Arkansas introduced "Might Nights" and "Brain Breaks" to the citizens of Russellville. "Might Nights" are monthly fit nights where kids and parents can go to learn about and take part in a new activity such as Karate, Zumba or track and field. He is also encouraging every school in his school district to use "Brain Breaks," or frequent physical activity breaks in the classroom.
  • Jodi Evans, 10, from Bowie, Maryland created a health and fitness display at Prince George's County Bowie library, started the Bowie Wellness Council for her city, and hosted a Fun Run & Walk for Kids at Bowie High School on Global Youth Service Day.

The 2013-2014 Board members were selected because of their commitment to leading the way in their hometowns and among their peers in spreading the word about the importance of healthy living. They will work with the Alliance to encourage kids across the country to take charge of their health, motivating all youth to make healthy behavior changes and to become leaders and advocates for healthy eating and physical activity.

"It's hard to listen to adults sometimes, especially when it comes to one of the only things we as kids have control over, which is our bodies. When kids can honestly speak and connect with each other, I think they are most likely to make more long-term changes and truly take them to heart," says Chloe Rosen, an eighteen-year-old from Concord, Massachusetts who is returning to her second year of service on the Board.  

The members of the 2013-2014 Youth Advisory Board are:

  • Kaseir Archie, 16, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
  • Rogelio Bejarano, 18, Van Nuys, California
  • Patrick Binder, 16, Yankton, South Dakota
  • Guido Dominguez, 13, Miami Beach, Florida
  • Jodi Evans, 10, Bowie, Maryland
  • Farrah Hawkins, 8, Birmingham, Alabama,
  • Danyel Johnson, 12, Sanosteel Tonatchi, New Mexico
  • Carter Kostler, 15, Virginia Beach, Virginia
  • Bodhi Lovely, 11, Russellville, Arkansas
  • Isaac McFarland, 15, Keithville, Louisiana
  • Erik Okino, 16, Rossmoor, California
  • Joe Bear Ortiz, 16, Conifer, Colorado
  • Anita Rao, 16, Pearland, Texas
  • Chloe Rosen, 18, Concord, Massachusetts
  • Miranda Rosen, 17, Henderson, Nevada
  • Bobby Sena, 10, Orlando, Florida
  • Reagan Spomer, 9, Pierre, South Dakota
  • Katie Stagliano, 14, Summerville, South Carolina
  • Mataio Swain, 15, Charlestown, West Virginia
  • Haile Thomas, 12, Tucson, Arizona
  • Christina Wilson, 17, Brooklyn, New York

 

Youth leaders, parents, school administrators, teachers and community members all play an important role in inspiring kids to live healthier lives. Visit www.healthiergeneration.org to learn more about the work of the Alliance's Youth Advisory Board and how anyone can get involved.

About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation

The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation, works to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity and to empower kids to develop lifelong, healthy habits. The Alliance works with schools, companies, community organizations, healthcare professionals and families to transform the conditions and systems that lead to healthier children. To learn more and join the movement, visit www.HealthierGeneration.org.

Media Contact:

Megan McIntyre

Alliance for a Healthier Generation

917-399-5250

megan.mcintyre@healthiergeneration.org

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