Gwinnett County press release
The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics Foundation and the General Mills Foundation have awarded $20,000 through the Champions for Healthy Kids Grants to Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s Strong4Life Youth Ambassador Program in partnership with Gwinnett County Parks and Recreation (GCPR).
The grant is given to nonprofit organizations across the U.S. promoting healthy eating and active lifestyles targeted to kids and families. Children’s is one of two organizations in Georgia that received the grant.
Gwinnett County is one of America's fastest-growing counties for the past 20 years with a diverse population and a childhood obesity rate that is higher than the national average. Together, the partnership trains older youth as ambassadors that will then deliver wellness programs in their community, with a major emphasis on sustaining healthy lifestyle choices.
This program creates awareness of the obesity crisis and the importance of proper nutrition and increased physical activity. Youth participating in the GCPR program learn about these issues are asked to complete a community project around nutrition and physical activity.
As part of the Strong4Life Youth Ambassador Program, each Gwinnett County park has put in place nutritional and physical activity standards. Leaders at each of the parks have received training on these youth issues, including eating vegetables and fruits, drinking water and limiting sugary drinks, limiting screen time or incorporating physical activity in non-sports related classes.
The Strong4Life Youth Ambassador Program effectively engages young people in activities that challenge them to develop leadership skills, gain critical awareness around the issue of obesity and participate in "active" opportunities necessary for creating sustainable community change.
The program also incorporates health and wellness standards at the parks that will support healthy environments for all youth.