10-Year-Old Health Advocate Haile Thomas Earns Standing Ovation at National Childhood Obesity Summit
November 30, 2011 (NEW YORK) – More than 700 private sector, government and non-profit leaders working to combat childhood obesity were brought to their feet yesterday by 10-year-old Haile Thomas as she told the assembled adults “kids have an important voice” in fighting childhood obesity.
Thomas, a fifth grade student from Marana, Arizona (Tucson) and member of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Youth Advisory Board, addressed the plenary session at the Partnership for a Healthier America’s inaugural Building a Healthier Future Summit in Washington, D.C. on November 29, 2011. The Partnership for a Healthier America summit brought together First Lady Michelle Obama, Newark Mayor Cory Booker, Former Senate Majority Leader Bill Frist, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation CEO Dr. Risa Lavizzo-Mourey among other national leaders committed to ending childhood obesity.
“Kids have an important voice,” Thomas explained in her remarks. “We have great ideas. We can help adults make positive changes in our world, and to do that we need healthy lunch programs, access to physical activities and proper nutrition education.”
Joining Thomas at the conference were Tyler McCardell, a 17-year-old Alliance for a Healthier Generation Youth Advisory Board member from Kirkwood, Pennsylvania, and Dr. John Skretta, an Alliance Healthy Schools Program Champion and school superintendent from Firth, Nebraska. Both McCardell and Skretta participated in a panel discussion on supporting healthy schools.
“As we work to reverse the childhood obesity epidemic in which nearly one in three youths is already overweight or obese it is imperative to engage young people in the process,” said Alliance for a Healthier Generation CEO Ginny Ehrlich. “Empowering youth leaders in communities across the country is a critical element in our strategy to turn the tide on childhood obesity and create a culture where healthy eating and physical activity are the norm.”
In addition to Alliance representatives speaking at the conference, the Alliance for a Healthier Generation was the official moderator of the summit’s schools track entitled, “The Private Sector Goes to School—Helping Students Become Healthy Future Workers.”
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation is one of six founding organizations of the Partnership for a Healthier America (PHA). Founded in 2010 in conjunction with – but independent from – First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! effort, PHA is a nonpartisan, non-profit that is led by some of the nation’s most respected health and childhood obesity advocates.
About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation works to address one of the nation’s leading public health threats – childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. Founded in 2005 by the American Heart Association and William J. Clinton Foundation, the Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child’s health: homes, schools, doctor’s offices and communities.
I heard Haile speak at the Tucson TEDx last month. She is truly inspiring and poised beyond her age. Her potential is mind-blowing. Congratulations Haile! I discovered her on Facebook last year.