SOS - Join the National Partnership at the Southern Obesity Summit (SOS)!

Christy SmithThe 7th Annual Southern Obesity Summit (SOS) is being held in Nashville, Tennessee. From November 17 -19, 2013, hundreds of participants from sixteen southern states will meet to share strategies in the fight against obesity. This year’s summit focuses on engaging youth and using policy and program initiatives across the south.

SOS is the largest regional obesity prevention event in the United States and includes representatives from Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, New Mexico, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Virginia and West Virginia.  These states join forces to fight obesity through sharing expert advice, creating learning collaboratives and offering technical assistance.  Breakout sessions will be offered in the following topics relating to obesity: Early Childhood, Food Access/ Food Safety, Physical Activity, Schools, Worksite Wellness, Nutrition Policy and Healthcare/Healthcare Systems.

This year three staff members from the Safe Routes to School National Partnership (National Partnership) were chosen to present during the Physical Activity breakout sessions on shared use (also known as joint use) of school and community facilities.

1. Jay Thompson, Mississippi Advocacy Organizer, will present “You’ve Gotta Have Faith:  Engaging Faith-Based Communities in Shared Use Agreements.”  In Mississippi, there are nearly 1,000 churches state-wide that can generate support and actively engage in increasing physical activity and reversing trends of obesity. Jay will explain how churches serve as an additional point of leverage towards creating shared spaces for communities to be more physically active.

2. Christy Smith, Tennessee Advocacy Organizer, will present “Shared Use Agreements:  The Parks Partnership with Tennessee Safe Routes to School Network.” In Tennessee, the Safe Routes to School State Network unites groups in an array of initiatives including shared use agreements. Learn how network partners and Tennessee Parks and Recreation Association took policy and turned it into a product called the Recreational Joint Use Facilities Map.

3. Mikaela Randolph, Shared Use Campaign Manager, will present on shared use strategy and implementation in rural and urban environments, particularly focusing on the importance of addressing equity. Mikaela will highlight how the effects of the obesity epidemic vary in different communities and how education is the key to addressing the challenges and barriers in underserved communities. Mikaela will explain how the National Partnership is collaborating with the new Voices for Healthy Kids project to mobilize people to make their communities healthier and reverse the trend of childhood obesity. The National Partnership leads the Voices for Healthy Kids: Active Places initiative to build sustainable shared use and street scale advocacy efforts, with a focus on addressing equity in underserved communities.

Visit the SOS Website for more information about the sessions and events. Hope to see you there!

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