Each week, our own Zach Brooks speaks with a Leader to get a quick look at why he or she loves working to create healthy environments for kids. Want to take part? Visit Zach’s profile and contact him.
Dr. Toni Yancey played high school and college basketball growing up, and started at center for Northwestern University. She is now a professor at the UCLA School of Public Health and is co-director of the UCLA Kaiser Permanente Center for Health Equity. Toni also created the award-winning program Instant Recess® to encourage physical activity in everyday life.
Name: Dr. Toni Yancey
Organization: UCLA School of Public Health
What inspired you to start working on childhood obesity?
It was working with kids in foster care that got me involved in public health, so I think youth development and obesity prevention are natural allies in addressing disparities and inequities.
How are you helping to reverse childhood obesity?
Almost all of my research work and my community service go towards addressing childhood obesity. For example, I serve as a Commissioner of the Los Angeles County First 5 Commission, and focus there on creating healthier environments in preschools and other places frequented by young children. (Read here for information about our current project just launching, the National Healthy by Default REACH Project.)
What’s your biggest accomplishment so far in helping reduce childhood obesity?
The creation of Instant Recess®, an intervention approach that reintegrates physical activity and healthy eating into the normal “conduct of business.” I believe that I was one of the first people to apply behavioral economics and social marketing principles to physical activity promotion in this way on a population-wide basis.
Who is your role model in your work?
What healthy snacks did you enjoy growing up?
I've always loved fruit, and when I was growing up, it didn't come in roll-ups. Pears were a particular favorite.
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Leaders are people who are actively working - either professionally or as volunteers - to change policies and environments to help children eat better and be more active. We use the following criteria to evaluate whether to approve an applicant for Leader status with the Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center.
Do you meet the criteria below? If so, register as a Leader here. There is no cost to be a Leader.
At least one item must be checked within each of the following two categories:
1. Applicant is focused on changing policies and environments
They are working on one of Voices for Healthy Kid's six issue areas:
Ensure foods and beverages in schools meet dietary guidelines
Expand community access to high quality food
Expand physical activity programs in and out of school
Improve built environment in communities to increase physical activity
Use pricing strategies to promote purchase of healthier foods
Use regulation/policy to reduce youth exposure to unhealthy food marketing
They are working on other obesity-related issues, such as:
Their primary focus is working on individual behavior (e.g., teaching kids about food, play, etc.), but they have access to organizations that could provide opportunities to change environments, such as
Public Health Agencies
Their project is commercial, but contributes positively to changing policies and environments, such as:
2. Applicant is organizing others or contributing to organizing efforts
They are organizing others by:
Providing volunteer opportunities
Building contact lists of supporters to engage in advocacy
They provide support to organizations or leaders doing work changing policies and environments, such as:
They are a leader in a governmental body that may be the target of organizing efforts to change policies and environments, such as a:
Federal or state agency
Mayor or other local executive office
Federal, state, county or local public health department
Federal, state, county or transportation department
Federal, state or local education agency or school board
If the applicant claims to work for an organization, at least one item must be checked below:
3. Applicant works for an organization:
Has an email address that matches the domain of the organization they list
Is listed on the organization website as staff
The Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center is looking for bloggers who can write about issues that matter to our community on a regular basis. If you would like to be considered for this network, please check this box.