WakeMed News Releases

October 9, 2008
For Additional Information:
Laura Aiken
(919) 350-8366

RALEIGH, N.C. (October 9, 2008) – Thirty-five member organizations today announce the creation of the Advocates for Health in Action (AHA), a collaborative formed to advocate for increased access to healthful foods and physical activity for children and families living in Wake County. AHA will not only address the obesity epidemic, but it will help to make healthful choices easier for Wake County citizens.

“The entire community is impacted by obesity. We realized that there were many different organizations working to increase physical activity, promote better nutrition, or create environments to encourage healthy living,” commented Kevin Cain, President/CEO of the John Rex Endowment. “AHA will help us come together to create more places to run and play and more options for healthy eating. AHA will change the community in a way that will move more children and adults to a healthy weight and help us become – a healthier community.”

AHA will focus its advocacy efforts on championing healthful eating and physical activity as a way of life and will actively support policies that make these options more available in Wake County. AHA will also work to identify and recommend community improvements to enable equal access to healthful foods and physical activity environments like parks, playgrounds, trails and greenways.

The collaborative will take advantage of synergies between member organizations for the good of the community. One of the collaborative’s first initiatives is to work with the Wake County PTA Council to find creative and fun ways to make activities and events sponsored by the PTA more healthful. Through interactive workshops, parents are provided with the tools to make positive changes at school events.

“Addressing obesity and inactivity is a community issue, one that we must work together at all levels to solve,” said Judy O’Neal, senior vice president of government affairs, WakeMed Health & Hospitals. “The kindergarten teacher, town council member and state senator all influence decisions that greatly impact the health of our community. I believe this collaborative, which could become a national model, will enable us to maximize resources and speak with a collective voice to make changes at both the policy and street level.”

AHA Member Organizations Include:

o Alliance Medical Ministry
o B.A. Hughes and Associates
o Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina Foundation
o Capital Area MPO
o Community Care of Wake and Johnston Counties
o City of Raleigh Planning Department
o Cooperative Extension
o Duke Raleigh Hospital
o El Pueblo, Inc.
o Great Activities Publishing Co.
o Inter-Faith Food Shuttle
o John Rex Endowment
o Marbles Kids Museum
o NC Alliance for Health
o NC Division of Public Health, Physical Activity and Nutrition Branch
o NC Health and Wellness Trust Fund
o NC State University College of Natural Resources
o NC State University College of Design
o Parks and Recreation Partnership for a Healthier Wake
o Poe Center for Health Education
o Raleigh Parks and Recreation Department
o Rex Healthcare
o Safe Kids Wake County
o Sig Hutchinson and Associates
o Town of Garner Parks and Recreation Department
o Triangle Tomorrow
o UNC Pediatric Cardiology
o UNC Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
o Wake County Human Services
o Wake County Public Schools
o Wake County PTA
o Wake Teen
o WakeMed Health & Hospitals
o YMCA of the Triangle
o YWCA of the Greater Triangle, Inc.

About Advocates for Health Education

Advocates for Health in Action is a group of diverse organizations and community members who are shaping the environment throughout Wake County so healthful eating and physical activity are the way of life. The mission of this collaborative is for Wake County to be a “community where healthful eating and physical activity are the way of life.” AHA works to achieve its mission by shaping policy and environments that ensure available and affordable access to healthful foods and physical activity for all community members. The AHA membership currently includes 34 stakeholder organizations and will continue to grow as needs and opportunities are identified.

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