Thousands of U.S. Mayors Learn about We Can!® at Annual Meeting
Posted May 12, 2011
Where does your local mayor get his or her policy-making information? It’s likely to differ for each mayor. For the mayors of the nation’s largest cities, however, there is one constant: the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) and its annual Winter Meeting. At this meeting, mayors have a chance to interact with one another to share firsthand experiences of what works and what doesn’t, attend briefings, and meet with representatives from a limited number of national organizations.
We Can! had the honor of being one of these organizations, and exhibiting at this year’s mid-winter conference, held in the nation’s capital.
USCM Assistant Executive Director Crystal Swann encouraged We Can! to participate because, now more than ever, mayors are being asked to assume leadership roles on obesity prevention.
“Our membership wants to be responsive, and the tools and resources offered by a program such as We Can! are of value because they are evidence-based , turn-key resources that mayors can avail themselves of at low or no cost,” said Swann.
USCM represents the mayors of the 1,210 cities nationwide that have 30,000 or more residents, and has been concerned with obesity prevention and other health issues for many years. In 2009, the group published a Mayor’s Guide to Fighting Childhood Obesity as part of its Healthy Cities initiative.
Over the course of the 3-day meeting, We Can! had a booth at which the successes of the 31 mayors/county executives already participating in the We Can! City and County program were highlighted, as were the program’s multiple resources.
“We Can! created its City/County Program in 2007 because we saw both the willingness and capacity of local executives to help guide communities in achieving and maintaining healthier lifestyles, and therefore a healthier weight,” said Karen Donato, S.M., Coordinator of Overweight and Obesity Research Applications, National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health. “When cities or counties join the program, they not only pledge to create a healthier community through the use of our programming and curricula for parents and youth, they commit to collaborating with community-based partners.”
Collaboration is critical to solving the childhood obesity puzzle. That’s why We Can! took part in USCM’s Winter Meeting and is looking forward to working with additional mayors, county executives and other community officials in bringing potentially life-changing obesity prevention resources—and thereby lifting a growing health care burden—to every city and town in the nation.
If your city or county is not part of We Can!, we encourage you to contact your local executive and encourage them to review our resources and join our ranks. Send them an e-mail with a link to some of the City/County success stories, or direct them to the nearest We Can! community site.