Seattle, Wash. - Today, the National League of Cities (NLC) recognized nearly 400 mayors, city councilmembers, county commissioners, and other local elected officials representing communities from across the country for their commitment and efforts to complete health and wellness goals for Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC). More than 60 million Americans are now living in LMCTC communities that have joined this movement and are dedicated to helping young people eat healthy and be physically active.
"Mayors, city council members, county commissioners and other local officials around the country are committed to taking action in their communities to help their residents be healthy. We've seen signs of progress in reducing childhood obesity, and we hope to see continued progress from the local leaders being recognized today and through the involvement of even more leaders through Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties," said NLC President Marie Lopez Rogers, mayor of Avondale, Ariz.
LMCTC is a major component of First Lady Michelle Obama's comprehensive Let's Move! initiative, which is dedicated to solving the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation. LMCTC calls upon local elected officials to adopt sustainable and holistic policies that improve communities' access to healthy affordable food and opportunities for physical activity through five goal areas.
LMCTC sites have the opportunity to earn up to five gold medals, one for each actionable goal to which they commit as part of the initiative. Medals are awarded to local elected officials based on achievements in each of the following five goal areas:
Since July 2012, NLC has awarded 1,274 bronze, silver, and gold medals to recognize local elected officials across the country for their LMCTC progress.
"Every day, local officials like these are changing our children's lives and helping them learn and grow and fulfill every last bit of their potential," First Lady Michelle Obama said in July 2012, when the goals and medals were launched as part of LMCTC. "We still have a long way to go to solve this problem. But if leaders like these keep coming to the table and we all keep working together, then I am confident that we can give all our children the happy, healthy futures they so richly deserve."
As part of today's announcement NLC President Rogers recognized all the local elected officials who have committed to LMCTC and are taking action, and she also honored 18 communities, and the mayors and city councilmembers leading the efforts in these communities, who have made the most progress in completing the five goals. The 18 communities receiving awards include:
Beaumont, Texas, is the first city to receive gold medals in all five of LMCTC's goal areas.
In Beaumont, Councilman Alan B. Coleman established an interagency collaboration on early care and education programs that promotes best practices for nutrition, physical activity and screen time to early care and education providers. A multi-purpose training session was recently held where local childcare providers learned and discussed nutrition and sanitation standards with a dietician.
Upon being presented with a special award for five gold medals, Councilman Coleman noted, "Beaumont is an example of how city government, the school district, hospitals, non-profits and the private sector can work together to help our most valuable asset - our children."
Also being honored is Rancho Cucamonga, Calif., Mayor L. Dennis Michael. To improve access to healthy, affordable foods, the City adopted a comprehensive healthy food and beverage policy, requiring implementation of nutrition standards at all City facilities. These standards affect all City-owned and operated vending machines and any food provided by the City. For vending machines, the standards require 50% of snacks sold follow California State guidelines for healthier snacks and drinks and the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. The City also developed a toolkit for partner organizations to adopt complementary policies. Four organizations have passed complementary policies, creating consistent messages throughout the community and multiplying the benefits of the City's efforts.
To view the rankings of all cities, towns and counties participating in LMCTC and to learn about their activities, visit: http://www.HealthyCommunitiesHealthyFuture.org/See-Progress/Medal-Standings/.
NLC is working in partnership with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and with the support of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Association of Counties and other nonprofit organizations, to assist local elected officials who join LMCTC as they implement policy and environmental changes to prevent childhood obesity. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded NLC a grant to provide technical assistance to local elected officials working to create healthier communities and prevent childhood obesity, including those participating in LMCTC.
For more information about the LMCTC initiative, its accomplishments, and how local elected officials can sign up, visit: www.HealthyCommunitiesHealthyFuture.org.
The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.