A letter from Barbara Baylor MPH, Minister for Health Care, Justice & Witness Ministries
Dear 'Let’s Move' enthusiasts!
Two years ago the United Church of Christ joined the national movement to help end childhood obesity and to increase awareness among adults about the chronic diseases associated with weight gain (i.e. diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and cancer).
The United Church of Christ, along with other mainline denominations, continues to work with the Campaign for Health Kids project (CHK) and Faith United to End Childhood Obesity to help First Lady Michelle Obama to expand grassroots participation in the Let’s Move Faith initiative to end childhood obesity.
The Campaign for Healthy Kids’ Faith United to End Childhood Obesity will scale-up engagement in the Let’s Move initiative by identifying and organizing 1,000 faith leaders from a number of diverse faith congregations. The effort will leverage community faith leaders to convene health councils and implement the five pillars of let’s Move!: 1. Creating a healthy start for children, 2. empowering parents and caregivers, 3. providing healthy food in schools, 4. improving access to healthy, affordable foods and, 5. Increasing physical activity.
What can you do as a Faith Community to raise awareness, education and provide information on this issue of rising obesity rates across this country, especially among our children? Here's how you can help right now:
1. Please TAKE 5 MINUTES and sign on to the Let's Move! Faith and Communities website. When you sign, be sure to put the name of your church and list “United Church of Christ” as your denomination. Also, please put “Faith United to End Childhood Obesity" in the comments section.
Signing makes you an official partner in a growing movement that believes that any differences that exist among us pale in comparison to our common commitment and mission to protect and promote the health of children. Please share this link with others in your network and be sure to ask them to include the name of their UCC church and indicate the denomination “United Church of Christ” and write "Faith United to End Childhood Obesity" in the comments section as well.
2. Please take a moment to check out the Let's Move! Toolkit . In it you'll find creative ways to address the childhood obesity issue in your congregation and community, including how to establish health councils and implement the five pillars of Let’s Move!
3. Consider hosting a press conference in your city/community to highlight the collaboration between Faith United, the Campaign For Healthy Kids and the First Lady's Let's Move! team to mobilize faith leaders to work to reduce childhood obesity. PLEASE LET ME KNOW IF YOU ARE INTERESTED IN HOSTING A PRESS CONFERENCE ON THIS ISSUE AT YOUR CHURCH. STAFF FROM THE CAMPAIGN FOR HEALTHY KIDS AND FROM FAITH UNITED TO END CHILDHOOD OBESITY ARE WILLING TO HELP YOU PLAN THIS!
4. Please send me pictures, articles, activities, etc. etc. that you are doing in your church and community to promote the Let’s Move goals.
Thank you for your past and continued work on the Let’s Move campaign. We need your assistance now as we move forward to secure and identify at 1,000 faith leaders across the country support the Let’s Move goals. Please sign on today!
Barbara Baylor, MPH
Minister for Health Care Justice
Justice & Witness Ministries, United Church of Christ
700 Prospect Ave., Cleveland, OH 44115
Phone: (216) 736-3708, Fax: (216) 736-3703, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org or www.ucc.org/justice/health
Karen Methot is the Program Support Associate for the Innovation Team of the Southern New England Conference.