Roundtable Supports Greater Burlington YMCA’s Childhood Obesity Effort [5.20.13]

Vermont Business Roundtable wishes to congratulate our member, the Greater Burlington YMCA, on its effort to Pioneer Healthier Communities by combating childhood obesity. The Roundtable is also pleased to offer its support on the Vermont State Alliance Leadership Team.

Below is the Greater Burlington YMCA’s news release:

The Greater Burlington YMCA Awarded a Robert Wood Johnson Grant to Combat Childhood Obesity in Vermont

Ryan Torres selected to lead the State Alliance

Burlington, VTMay 13, 2013 – The Greater Burlington YMCA  was selected as one of 14 YMCA’s across the country to lead Pioneering Healthier Communities (PHC) – an initiative that addresses the childhood obesity epidemic in its region through policy, sytems and environmental change.   Following a successful completion of a competitive application process, the Greater Burlington YMCA was awarded a $250,000 program grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF).

Ryan Torres, former Program and Grants Manager for the Vermont Community Foundation, was selected to lead the effort in Vermont, charged initially with forming a volunteer advisory team made up of statewide representatives in the field of healthcare, non profit, education and government.  Within a two year window of time, this eighteen member leadership team will identify and report on opportunities for improved behavior, health, nutrition and physical activity, and push for statewide systems proven to reduce childhood obesity.

“The ongoing work at our YMCA in the area of chronic disease prevention and the unique geographic make up of our rural state garnered the interest and vote of confidence from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation,” said Mary Burns, CEO and President.   “The foundation and the rest of the country will look to our alliance for successful strategies that can be replicated elsewhere. Our talented and dedicated leadership team truly is pioneering a path to healthier outcomes for children and families everywhere.”

The following professionals agreed to serve voluntarily on The Vermont State Alliance Leadership Team and will join Y staff and help guide successful outcomes in the state:

Megan Camp           Vermont FEED/Shelburne Farms

Susan Coburn          Vermont Department of Health

James Douglas        Middlebury College

Jeff Fannon            Vermont NEA

Sadie Fischesser      Department of Human Services

John Hollar             Downs, Rachlin Martin

Rachel Johnson        University of Vermont

Mitzi Johnson          Vermont Legislature

Bill Little                 MVP Health Care

Jen Peterson           The Vermont Community Foundation

William Sorrell         Vermont Attorney Generals Office

Kelly Stoddard         American Cancer Society

Tristan Toleno         Vermont Legislature

Lisa Ventriss            Vermont Business Roundtable

Tina Zuk                American Heart Association

Statewide PHC’s are also underway in other states led by the local YMCA and its community leaders.  Collectively, the groups are addressing this growing health crisis on a national scale.

“The YMCA is really good at energizing communities and empowering them to tackle comprehensive policy approaches,” said John Govea, JD, MPA, senior program officer at The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. “As we all strive to reverse childhood obesity by 2015, the Y’s collaborative approach, which helps turn local innovations into statewide efforts, will be critical.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s CDC’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, as of 2010, 16.9 percent of our nation’s children and adolescents aged two to 19 years old were obese. In Vermont, 12.2% are identified as obese, and another 13.6% are overweight and at risk of becoming obese over time.