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Tidbits from the #LHCSummit


Dozens of Leaders joined state and local policymakers and public health advocates in Baltimore earlier this week for Leadership for Healthy Communities’ annual Childhood Obesity Prevention Summit.

Despite the impending threat of the federal government shutdown, conference attendees were cautiously optimistic, with speakers noting recent signs of progress indicate that childhood obesity rates could be beginning a reversal. But speakers also noted that positive trends will continue only if there are ongoing policy and environmental efforts to create healthier communities. Sessions ranged from healthy school food to opportunities for physical activity to cross-sector collaboration and best practices in social media (which included a presentation from’s own Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch).

There also was plenty of levity during the three-day event, too. Some highlights:

  • Leadership for Healthy Communities Director Maya Rockeymoore kicked off the opening luncheon by introducing keynote speaker Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), who drove up from Washington, D.C. specifically to speak at the big event. Of course, Rockeymoore noted that she’s married to the Congressman — which probably made it easier to convince him to attend. For his part, Cummings praised Rockeymoore for her hard work in public health.
  • Conferencegoers had exclusive access to Baltimore’s famous National Aquarium at a reception on Monday night. Guests were able to tour the aquarium’s “Blue Wonders: Reefs to Rainforests” exhibit, sipped on a few adult refreshments and even were able to play a few rounds of the arcade game Dance Dance Revolution.
  • A handful of summit attendees took part in Monday morning site visits, including a trip to the Great Kids Farm, which “provides innovative nutrition and culinary educational opportunities for young students.” Others got active at Druid Hill Park and Lake, where they hiked a trail and explored the park’s exercise stations, or visited Paul Laurence Dunbar High School for Health Professions, which implemented a proactive approach in teaching students about health and wellness.
  • Several policymakers were honored for finding innovative ways to implement healthy eating and physical activity strategies in their communities during the Healthy Communities Awards Dinner on Monday night. The National League of Cities Institute for Youth, Education and Families presented an award to Leader Chip Johnson for his efforts to improve the health of residents of Hernando, Miss., where he serves as mayor. Others receiving awards included Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, Maryland Del. Joseline A Pena-Melnyk, Nebraska school superintendent John Skretta and Kenneth S. Ulman, a county executive in Howard County, Md.

Click here for more information about the summit, including exclusive photos and videos from the event.