COLUMBIA — The city of Columbia and Mayor Bob McDavid have been awarded five medals by the National League of Cities in recognition of work to prevent child obesity.
The league is composed of municipalities from around the country and acts as a resource and advocate for its members. It is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities.
In 2005, the league's Institute for Youth, Education and Familiesbegan working to address childhood obesity. In 2010, first lady Michelle Obama launched the Let's Move! Cities, Towns and Counties program in collaboration with the league as part of her Let's Move! initiative.
Let's Move! is dedicated to solving the epidemic of childhood obesity by promoting strategies to improve the health of the community. The league, as part of its efforts to combat childhood obesity, is helping local leaders participate in the program.
Columbia is one of more than 160 cities, towns and counties that are participating in Let's Move!, and 541 medals were awarded to local elected officials across the country, according to a news release from the city.
Columbia received five of those medals because it has been working to increase access to affordable and healthful food and opportunities for physical activity as part of health and fitness goals, according to the release.
Columbia joined the Let's Move! program in May 2011, and so far has completed goals in three of five categories:
- Goal 1: "Start Early, Start Smart," which promotes best practices for nutrition, physical activity and the use of computers, video games, and TV's in early care and education settings. The city was awarded a bronze medal for the work done by the Department of Public Health and Human Services to educate early childcare providers on proper nutrition and physical activity for children.
- Goal 3: "Smart Servings for Students," which focuses on increasing participation in school breakfast and lunch programs. The city was awarded a bronze medal because all public schools in Columbia participate in the breakfast program, a federally funded assistance program that provides breakfast to students.
- Goal 5: "Active Kids at Play," which aims to increase opportunities for physical activity. The city was awarded a gold, silver and bronze medal after being recognized for having a 10-year Parks, Recreation and Open Space master plan, identifying play spaces, determining trends and directing future development of parks.
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