By Elena Hoffnagle
This week, at the Congress of Cities in Boston, NLC awarded 541 medals to local elected officials in 118 communities across the country in recognition of their outstanding efforts to complete health and wellness goals for Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC).
"Today, we celebrate communities across America that tackled childhood obesity with great commitment as part of Let's Move! Cities, Towns, and Counties," said Dr. Howard K. Koh, Assistant Secretary of Health for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. "Healthier communities can improve quality of life for all."
LMCTC calls upon local elected officials to adopt sustainable and holistic policies that improve access to healthy food and opportunities for physical activity. It 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. Cities and counties participating in LMCTC have the opportunity to earn gold, silver and bronze medals for making measurable progress in pursuit of five goals for building healthier communities.
As part of the announcement, NLC recognized 12 communities for the highest overall achievement among LMCTC sites in the medal standings for the five goals. These communities include:
These communities have made exceptional efforts to promote healthy and active lifestyles among local residents. The City of St. Petersburg has committed to ensuring that there is a playground within safe walking distance of every child's home. City leaders are partnering with the Pinellas County School District to place eight city-owned playgrounds on school properties throughout the county. In Jackson, city officials recently developed a policy for healthy and sustainable food services that applies to all municipal facilities that serve food. The City of Columbia has refurbished three local parks and added 14 acres of additional space to the local River Park for recreation activities. The Town of Farragut is displaying MyPlate posters at every local event where food is served.
"I am proud that NLC supports local elected officials in their work in creating healthier lifestyles. Mayors, city councilmembers, county commissioners and other local officials around the country are to be commended for stepping up to the challenge of Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties and making measurable progress in their efforts to improve children's health," said NLC President Ted Ellis, mayor of Bluffton, IN.
NLC is the lead collaborating partner on the LMCTC initiative, working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Association of Counties, and other nonprofit organizations in helping local elected officials to implement policy and environmental changes to prevent childhood obesity. With support from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, NLC's Institute for Youth, Education, and Families is providing technical assistance to local elected officials who are working to create healthier communities and prevent childhood obesity, including sites participating in LMCTC.
For more information about LMCTC, participating communities' accomplishments, and how local elected officials can sign up, visit www.healthycommunitieshealthyfuture.org.