(LA QUINTA, CA) January 14, 2014 — The Alliance for a Healthier Generation announced today a national expansion of its work to increase access to healthier foods and physical activity in out-of-school time environments. More than 15 percent of American youth are involved in afterschool programs and millions more engaged in summer camps, community centers and faith-based organizations. Through the initiative announced today, the Alliance's work in out-of-school time will now reach nearly 4 million young people in more than 4,300 out-of-school time sites, including 4,000 Boys & Girls Clubs.
The announcement was made by President Bill Clinton, founder of the Clinton Foundation, at the 2014 Clinton Foundation Health Matters: Activating Wellness in Every Generation Conference in La Quinta, California.
Building on the success of a pilot program with out-of-school time providers in eight urban centers, the Alliance will work with 14 leading food companies and group purchasing organizations, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, and celebrity athletes to help create environments for young people where healthy eating and physical activity options are accessible and encouraged.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation, founded by the American Heart Association and Clinton Foundation, is one of the nation's leading non-profits working to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity. Childhood obesity rates have essentially tripled in the past 30 years. Today about one out of three children and adolescents (ages 2-19) in the United States is overweight or obese.
"We believe by creating healthier environments that surround a child, we can reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity," said President Clinton. "Outside of the school day, millions of young people across the country spend the majority of their time in these structured programs. With the support of the food industry and athlete role models, Boys & Girls Clubs of America and thousands of other providers will have the tools needed to ensure they are creating healthy settings for young people."
Joining President Clinton for the announcement was Dr. Howell Wechsler, CEO of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, Kevin McCartney, Senior Vice President of Government Relations for Boys & Girls Clubs of America and Rica Rodman, Executive Director of the Wasserman Foundation.
Athletes representing the Wasserman Foundation at the announcement included Ty Magner, Professional American Cyclist for the Hincapie Sportswear Development Cycling Team, Eddie Wall, Professional Snowboard Athlete and Danyelle Wolf, US Champion Female Boxer.
The Alliance started piloting its work in out-of-school time in 2011, a natural expansion of its early success in the school environment—where they now support healthy changes in more than 20,000 schools across the United States. Working in eight communities, including Little Rock, Los Angeles County, Miami-Dade County, New Orleans, Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, Sacramento County and the Washington, DC Metro Area, the Alliance currently supports more than 360 out-of-school time providers in their efforts to create healthier conditions for thousands of young people. By utilizing the Alliance's process, tools and resources, organizations are able to improve access to healthier foods, increase physical activity opportunities, and engage in positive youth development.
To ensure out-of-school time providers have access to purchase healthier food options at affordable prices, the Alliance has worked with 14 food companies and group purchasing organizations to expand their school agreements already in place with the Alliance to the out-of-school time environment.
Food manufacturers including AdvancePierre, Asian Food Solutions, Bakecrafters, ES Foods, Highliner, JTM, McCain, Richs, Tasty Brands, Trident and Tyson will sell healthy options at affordable prices to out-of-school time providers. These companies will set prices for healthier items that meet the Alliance for a Healthier Generation's and the USDA's science-based standards for nutrition at prices no higher than less healthy comparable products.
Out-of-school time providers can also save time and gain buying power by joining a group purchasing organization (GPO). With today's announcement three of the largest GPOs in the U.S., HPS, Premier and Summa/Provista, will offer products for purchase that meet the Alliance's nutritional guidelines. By utilizing GPOs, out-of-school time providers could see savings of 10 percent to 20 percent in their food and beverage purchases.
Boys & Girls Clubs of America will use the Alliance's continuous improvement process and its evidence-based resources and tools to support its 4,000 Clubs throughout the United States and in BGCA-affiliated Youth Centers on U.S. military installations worldwide. The Alliance's tools will help Boys & Girls Club staff continue to create a culture of wellness and sustain healthier environments for young people most in need. Clubs will measure implementation over the next five years.
"Boys & Girls Clubs provide a world-class after-school experience that assures success is within reach for every young person who enters our doors. We believe a critical component to achieving success is maintaining a healthy lifestyle," said Jim Clark, President and CEO of Boys & Girls Clubs of America. "Our partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation will help our Clubs inspire youth to stay active and make smart food choices that will help them have a great future."
Spotlighting the importance of getting daily physical activity, the Wasserman Foundation and professional athletes represented by the Wasserman Media Group will promote participation in the Alliance's Healthy Out-of-School Time initiative and encourage young people to make healthier choices in out-of-school time environments, especially related to fitness and movement.
"Over the past two years, the Wasserman Foundation has engaged some of the world's top pro athletes in the critical cause of reducing childhood obesity through school visits that raise awareness about healthy habits for kids," said Casey Wasserman, CEO, Wasserman Foundation and Chairman and CEO, Wasserman Media Group. "Today, we are taking that commitment one step further and our athletes will help to promote the Alliance's Healthy Out-of-School Time initiative at thousands of Boys & Girls Club sites so that kids at highest risk can learn about the importance of physical activity and nutrition."
Out-of-school time providers are encouraged to visit www.HealthierGeneration.org to learn more about the Alliance's work in out-of-school time and how they can take advantage the tools and resources, provided at no cost, to improve access to healthier foods, increase physical activity opportunities and engage in positive youth development.
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.
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