Submitted by Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy
The Virginia Interfaith Center for Public Policy is working with the Virginia Foundation for Healthy Youth on an initiative to impact the issue of childhood obesity in Virginia. The Center is raising awareness and educating families in the New River Valley about childhood obesity by organizing the faith community, local childcare providers and community leaders.
The campaign kicked off in February with an event headlining a professor of pediatrics from Virginia Tech. Then, in April the campaign partnered in hosting the Week of the Young Child. The Center initiated a paper doll project, which was used in part to educate parents about the “5210 A Day” model, which advocates for five servings of fruits and vegetables, two hours of screen time or less, one hour of activity and zero sugary drinks a day.
Additionally, the campaign is working closely with Micah’s Backpack, a ministry led by St. Michael’s Lutheran Church of Blacksburg. The program provides healthy meals and snacks on weekends and during summer vacation for children who qualify for free and reduced lunches.
As the campaign begins its second year, the Center is also continuing its efforts to improve state policies that directly impact children who are at the highest risk for obesity. In the coming General Assembly, we will continue to advocate for an increase in the physical activity requirement for Virginia’s school children and support legislation requiring nutritional content to be available for foods sold to students as part of their breakfast or lunch programs.