What a whirlwind it's been! Last week, our team congregated in (smoke-free!!) New Orleans for a national meeting of AHA government relations staff. We were there to not only congratulate NOLA for banning smoking indoors, but also to dive deeper into the AHA's policy campaigns addressing obesity.
Just as we've done for tobacco control in New York City, we have a tremendous potential to once again lead the nation in the fight against poor diet and lack of physical activity. Our growing rates of chronic disease in New York (see here: http://www.osc.state.ny.us/reports/health/diabetes_2015.pdf) demand our renewed energy to curb obesity through strategic policy interventions.
The AHA in NYC is already engaged in a campaign to improve Physical Education in our schools. The PE Reporting Bill has had one hearing and we will be pushing hard to have the full Council and the Mayor to vote and approve the policy. Parents deserve to know what is going on in our kids' schools! The PE report will help us know exactly how often kids receive physical education, who is teaching it, and what is included in the curriculum.
Additionally, thanks to recent NYU research (found here: http://nyulangone.org/press-releases/happy-meals-bill-could-improve-healthfulness-of-fast-food-meals-for-kids-in-new-york-city) we know that we must improve the nutritional content of our kids' meals when they're eating out at restaurants. In addition to the food items discussed in this research, what about the meals served to kids in other family-style restaurants? No matter where our kids eat, if we purchase food off of the 'kids' menu' we should be able to know that those meals are as healthy as possible!
These are both policies that were discussed at length while we were all down in New Orleans. I can't wait for the work we have ahead!