Originally posted on NJ.com
By on December 02, 2016 at 12:07 PM, updated December 02, 2016 at 12:15 PM
TRENTON — The New Jersey Partnership for Healthy Kids (NJPHK), a program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, co-hosted the Building a Culture of Health in New Jersey: Advancing the Population Health Agenda Conference on Wednesday, November 30 at the Pines Manor in Edison.
More than 400 public health professionals, social workers, educators, dieticians, and community leaders from across the state came together to learn how communities can create policy and environmental changes that can surround children and families with opportunities to make healthy choices.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, more than 63% of adults and nearly one in four children ages 10-17 in New Jersey are overweight or obese. This leads to a plethora of health issues such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol–chronic illnesses that were in the past associated with adults instead of children.
This year’s keynote speaker was Dr. Maya Rockeymoore, president and CEO of Global Policy Solutions; a prominent Washington, DC-based social change nonprofit agency dedicated to making policy work for people and their environments. Rockeymoore also directs Leadership for Healthy Communities, a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) dedicated to helping state and local elected and appointed officials advance policies that support healthy eating, active living and childhood obesity prevention.
Dr. Rockeymore discussed the Inclusion Revolution; Advancing a Health Equity Agenda for the Nation. During her keynote, she stated, “When it comes to public health and equity, our nation has a double standard.” She argued that if we want America to continue into the future to be a nation that is great–to have an economy that is expansive and inclusive and sustains our children, we cannot let these double standards continue.
The audience also heard from 10-year old Joshua Pantoja Jr., who discussed how his participation in the NJPHK’s Healthy Family Weekend cooking class inspired him to make healthier choices and become a contestant on the Food Network’s Chopped Junior show earlier this year.
The one-day Culture of Health Conference focused on: the linkage between health and healthcare; how policy and environmental changes can better support communities, and the impact of private and public decision making on health. Local experts led morning and afternoon workshops on a variety of public health topics including: early childhood obesity prevention, food access, behavioral health, hospital/community partnerships, contributions of school nurses, and national equity.