By now, we are all aware that childhood obesity is a problem. When medical professionals use the word "epidemic," it's a big, scary problem. The Clinton Foundation's Alliance for a Healthier Generation initiative focuses on issues of childhood obesity, but instead of grown-ups yammering on about how important it is to eat health and exercise, the Foundation developed a Youth Advisory Board to tackle this very important topic of their generation.
The Alliance for a Healthier Generation is a joint effort between the Clinton Foundation and the American Heart Association. Founded in 2005, the goal of this initiative is to reduce childhood obesity by 2015. Who better to lead the charge than the young people the Foundation is trying to help?
Kids don't want to hear about the macro- and micro-level changes the Foundation is making to eradicate childhood obesity. Shoot, kids don't want to hear any sentence that begins with macro or micro. Once an adult spouts those words, it's pretty much guaranteed that the children to whom they are speaking will turn their ears off. That's why it's so important that childhood-centered issues involve the very people who will do the most work to exact change — the kids.
According to the Foundation's website, their Youth Advisory Board "is one of the only youth-led advisory groups in the country focused on childhood obesity issues." 21 children from ages nine through 17 serve on the board, and they all have an opinion about the childhood obesity epidemic facing their generation. Their opinions are thoughtful, engaging and do not ring at all of the "you're not the boss of me" mentality that some may expect from this age group. For example, here's a little nugget of wisdom from Board Member, 11-year-old Danyel Johnson Sanosteel:
Most often adults tend to think just because we are young we don’t make sense. It’s not true in my Navajo culture—children are very wise people and what the children say has some value and respect.
Very well said, Miss Johnson Sanosteel.