26 Jun PHA Summit Builds a Healthier Future
We attended the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA) 2016 Summit last week, hearing about a number of healthy choice initiatives centered around making the healthy choice, an easy choice.
Corporations, foundations and nonprofits alike joined the agenda, driving conversations around obesity, outdoor play and food trends all working towards making responsible decisions to positively impact the health of youths in America. What brings these groups together is a responsibility around the future of our nation’s children and our role as leaders to better prepare them to meet that future.
While the agenda was full of engaging content meant to inspire attendees to continue striving towards healthier choices for children as well as themselves, the number of initiatives already in place was also impressive. Programs led by organizations with corporate social responsibility in mind have already sparked change with the most noteworthy announcement from the Summit given by First Lady, Michelle Obama, on the FDA’s overhaul of food labels, including serving sizes updated and the text larger, calories in larger type and added sugars listed. No major changes have been made to the food labels in more than 20 years, making this a monumental achievement aimed at more awareness as to what we’re consuming.
In this large picture of tackling obesity, it was called out that individual and corporate commitments cause a multiplier effect that is greater than its parts, and that foundations, specifically, play the role of challenging organizations to operate at all levels with purpose. PHA President, Larry Soler, even pointed out that public scrutiny helps drive achievement. With this in mind, there were key campaigns and initiatives presented at the meeting that are working separately and together to create conversations around healthier choices.
Just to name a few, here are programs driving change:
- Physical Activity: To combat eight hours of screen times that kids have every day, REI partnered with the Outdoor Foundation, Outdoor Industry Association, The Conversation Fund and Mayor Bowser for Park4Kids, to give every fourth grader in the Washington, D.C. area entry to national parks in order to create reasons to go outside.
- Going Local: The Aetna Foundation has several programs that are dedicated to supporting health locally, including increasing access to fresh fruits and vegetables in underserved communities. During the conference, Dr. Garth Graham, President Aetna Foundation, noted that, “Our North Star is meeting people where they are to improve community health.”
- Hydrating: Drink Up, powered by PHA, is focused on encouraging water as the default beverage choice. Using soda and celebrity tactics to market water is making choosing water a better option.
- Healthy Eating: Right now, kids receive 500 unhealthy messages for every one healthy message. FNV, another marketing campaign launched by PHA, which is making fruits and veggies a nationally relevant brand using tactics that win for consumer packaged goods companies, including integrated campaigns, celebrities and ad buys.
Even at the Summit, Sodexo sponsored the exercise break calling out sitting as the new smoking. Without these types of programs, positive messages to create change will go unsaid. Len Greer, Senior Director of Thought-Leadership for Johnson & Johnson Health and Wellness Solutions, pointed out that “purpose” is the key to achieving and maintaining higher performance. Through partnerships with corporations, foundations and nonprofits, leaders of today are taking responsibility and purposefully changing the messages that impact the future of tomorrow.
Applying these lessons to every day:
Michelle Obama said that our biggest obstacle is our own complacency. The only way to overcome complacency is to choose to do so every day.
At BRG, we strive towards change through our own Better Living program. We collaborate with clients that are aimed at ensuring people have the tools and wherewithal to live better and invoke our own employees to take accountability for how they spend every day to move towards a better future.
What is your purpose?