Allentown Mayor Ed Pawlowski and Allentown Health Bureau Nutrition & Physical Activity Manager Tina Amato joined First Lady Michelle Obama and representatives from the National League of Cities (NLC) and several federal agencies at the White House today for a celebratory event honoring the achievements made by local elected officials participating in the Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) initiative.
The First Lady announced that 500 cities, towns and counties, including Allentown, have committed to the five goals in the LMCTC initiative since July 2012. LMCTC is a key part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! Initiative, and helps local elected officials, their staff and communities ensure all children grow up healthy and have the ability to reach their full potential. NLC works in partnership with Let’s Move! and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide assistance to local elected officials.
Allentown is part of a growing national movement to build healthier communities and ensure that the health and well-being of young people today and that of future generations is a priority. Allentown’s “Fruits and Veggies on the Move” program, a truck that brings free fruits and vegetables to Department of Parks & Recreation playground and recreation sites, has served an estimated 10,000 children and adults since its inception in July 2011.
“The effort to bring fruits and vegetables to Allentown children has been an unqualified success,” said Pawlowski. “Local grocery store chains and produce growers have partnered with us to fill weekly orders for washed and prepared produce for the truck. Our kids are eating healthier.”
At today’s event, the First Lady also recognized the 52 communities, including Allentown that have achieved gold medals in each of the five goal areas, which include providing healthy school meals, opportunities for physical activity during and outside of school, and healthier early care and education programs.
“This groundbreaking milestone of reaching 500 communities brings us closer to the goal of providing every American with the opportunity to live in a community that prioritizes the health and well-being of their residents,” said National League of Cities President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City, Utah. “These local policymakers, representing small and large communities from across the country, are transforming their communities into healthier places.”
The 500 cities, towns and counties honored at today’s event come from all 50 states, the District of Columbia and the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands. To date, approximately 80 million Americans live in a city, town or county participating in LMCTC.
For more information on the achievements by LMCTC communities, visit www.healthycommunitieshealthyfuture.org/spotlights/.
NLC works in partnership with Let’s Move! and HHS, with support from USDA, the National Association of Counties and other nonprofit organizations, to provide assistance to local elected officials as they implement policy and program changes to improve access to healthy, affordable food and provide opportunities for physical activity for all children. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides generous support to NLC to provide technical assistance to local elected officials working to create healthier communities and prevent childhood obesity, including those participating in LMCTC.