Town of Forest Heights Awarded Bronze Medal for Health and Wellness Initiatives
The National League of Cities (NLC) awarded a bronze medal to the Town of Forest Heights and Mayor Jacqueline E. Goodall for recent completion of key health and wellness goals for Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC).
This year, the Town of Forest Heights received the Bronze Medal in Goal 1 in recognition of having an active interagency collaboration on early care and education programs. In late May, Forest Heights launched its first all-day Youth Sports Festival held at Bell Acres Neighborhood Park. Kids from Forest Heights and surrounding areas were encouraged to participate in a variety of outdoor sports and activities such as basketball, soccer, football, badminton and relay races, and enjoyed healthy snacks.
The LMCTC supports local elected officials who are working to build healthier communities, and is a major component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move! initiative, which aims to combat the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation.
Forest Heights resident and program coordinator Charmaine Turner came up with the idea for the Youth Sports Festival. She worked closely with town officials to work toward the “Let’s Move!” benchmarks.
“I was inspired to create and implement a diverse and widespread program to target the health and fitness needs in the Forest Heights community,” Turner said. “Being a physical education teacher for 13 years had prepared me to understand the importance of being physically fit. The rate of obesity and related diseases continues to rise in our country. Forty percent of our children and adolescents today are obese or overweight in African American and Hispanic communities.”
Mayor Goodall said she is pleased with the honor that the Town has received, and hopes more residents will get involved in the Town’s health initiatives.
“This recognition would not be possible without the assistance of citizens like Ms. Charmaine Turner who has worked over the last two years to provide programs to not only the youth, but to the seniors of our town,” Goodall said. “Working with programs like Let’s Move, Healthy Heights and the University of Maryland School of Health, I hope that we can educate residents on ways that we can continue to fight the health injustices that plague our communities.”
All LMCTC sites have the opportunity to earn up to All LMCTC sites have the opportunity to earn up to five gold medals, one for each actionable goal they commit to as part of the initiative. The five goal areas are:
- Goal 1: Start Early, Start Smart: Promoting best practices for nutrition, physical activity, and screen time in early care and education settings
- Goal 2: My Plate, Your Place: Prominently displaying MyPlate in all municipal or county venues where food is served
- Goal 3: Smart Servings for Students: Increasing participation in school breakfast and lunch programs
- Goal 4: Model Food Service: Implementing healthy and sustainable food service guidelines that are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans
- Goal 5: Active Kids at Play: Increasing opportunities for physical activity
The National League of Cities (NLC) is the lead collaborating partner on this initiative, working with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Association of Counties, and other nonprofit organizations, in assisting local elected officials to implement policy and environmental changes to prevent childhood obesity. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation has awarded NLC a grant to provide technical assistance to local elected officials working to create healthier communities and prevent childhood obesity, including sites participating in LMCTC.
More than 160 cities, towns and counties are participating in LMCTC. NLC awarded 541 medals to local elected officials across the country, recognizing these leaders for their progress in adopting long-term, sustainable, and holistic policies that improve communities’ access to healthy affordable food and opportunities for physical activity.
For more information about LMCTC and the Town of Forest Heights’ accomplishments, visit www.healthycommunitieshealthyfuture.org.