Mid-November marked the 2015 Southern Obesity Summit in Jackson, MS. The conference was well attended by advocates, community leaders, government officials, healthcare providers, educators, and the like, from across 16 southern states. Advocacy team members Terri Broussard Williams, Kaitlyn Murphy, and Christina Holch represented the SouthWest Affiliate!
Christina, as the Voices for Healthy Kids Texas Campaign Director, was awarded the opportunity to develop and present a poster at the annual meeting. A major focus of this year’s conference was food access, making the Voices for Healthy Kids Campaign Team’s recent work both timely and relevant. The poster, entitled “Messaging Healthy Food Financing Initiatives in Southern States: Tales from Texas,” spoke to the campaign team’s efforts to pass both Healthy Food Financing and Healthy Corner Store policies at the state and local level in Texas. The poster described the unique challenges that a conservative state faces with respect to public health policy change, and demonstrated the messaging opportunities chosen by the campaign team. In order to make progress on a Healthy Food Financing Initiative in the state legislature, the campaign team had to carefully tailor their messaging to the desires of a fiscally conservative state House and Senate. Additionally, the team had to be nimble and open to an evolving campaign message. On the other hand, in order to pass a municipal-level Healthy Corner Store Initiative in a diverse city like Austin, the team learned that campaign messaging could and should focus more on the public health impact. During the Tuesday morning poster presentations, a number of attendees asked Christina questions about the campaign, and praised the work being done by the American Heart Association to prevent obesity in Texas. The poster communicated the progress made by both campaigns as well as the team’s future opportunities for improving food access and preventing obesity.
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