Shaping America’s Youth

Shaping America’s Youth
Health Care, National Policy, Youth
Memphis, Dallas, Philadelphia, Chicago, and Iowa
August 2007

Shaping America’s Youth® (SAY) is a unique public-private initiative founded to give voice to America’s families in identifying barriers and solutions to improving nutrition and physical activity among children and youth. SAY has partnered with AmericaSpeaks to facilitate a series of 21st Century Town Meetings® to develop a national action plan designed to mobilize policy makers, service providers, health professionals, educators, parents and others to address our nation’s youth obesity crisis.

To date, we have organized and facilitated five SAY meetings.  Each meeting has brought together hundreds of demographically diverse residents including youth, parents, business leaders, health professionals, faith leaders and many others. The meetings were organized with support from local sponsor organizations in each community. Each meeting has focused on the role of families in preventing obesity, as well as the role of other community stakeholders: educators and schools; community leaders and service providers; legislators and policy makers; the healthcare community; and businesses and the private sector. A segment of each meeting has been set aside to discuss the specific needs of the local community – this content has varied across the five meeting locations.

SAY is currently analyzing the results of the five meetings. The findings will serve as the foundation for a national Community Based Plan of Action. Additionally, SAY plans to report on the findings in an upcoming article.

  • January 2006 – Memphis, TN (1000 people)
  • April 2006 – Dallas, TX (500 people)
  • April 2007 – Philadelphia, PA (350 people)
  • May 2007 – Chicago, IL (600 people)
  • August 2007 – Des Moines, IA (250 people)

SAY analyzed the results and citizens’ recommendations from the five meetings and published them in the prestigious journal, Pediatrics. These findings will serve as the foundation for a national Community Based Plan of Action, for which funds are currently being raised.