A Houston/Harris County Childhood Obesity Prevention Collaborative 
June  2017 / Issue No. 55      

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Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living Legislative Bill Tracker
Healthy Living Matters thanks the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living for compiling and tracking important bills relative to health during the 85th legislative session. The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living sorted health related bills in four general categories: Food Policy; Obesity, Breastfeeding, & Built Environment; School Health & After-School Health; and Tobacco. Below are the tracked bills that have successfully made it through both houses of the Legislature and have been signed or are awaiting signature by Governor Abbot.

SB 725 (Senator Miles) - Allows school districts to donate surplus food from meals served in the cafeteria to nonprofit organizations. Similar bills: HB 367 and SB 755 .

SB 1873 (Representative Hinojosa) - Requires the TEA to create a report on school districts' PE program and physical activity opportunities, including number of PE classes and teachers, if students can miss PE to prepare for class or tests, and if physical activity can be withheld as a punishment. Companion bill: HB 3606.

For more information on legislation relative to health,click here.
OLE! Texas Comes to Harris County! Article1 
The GCCSA Pasadena Head Start Center, administered by Gulf Coast Community Service Association, Inc. (GCCSA), is a federally funded, comprehensive, high quality early childhood development program for children ages three to five who come from economically challenged families. Located in Pasadena, this campus served 217 children during the 2016-2017 school year, consistently supporting children's growth and development through early learning, health, and family well-being.
GCCSA's Pasadena Head Start will become the first implementation site of the OLE! Texas project in Harris County. As part of this project, facility staff and local landscape architects took part in a two-day training on June 6-7 presented by trainers from the  Natural Learning Initiative (NLI). During the training, participants learned about Preventing Obesity by Design (POD) principles and assessed the property to determine how to better connect children to nature. Projects like OLE! Texas will help advance HLM policy priority L4, which includes to "promote outdoor classrooms and incorporate active learning". 

By the end of the second day, the team had developed a draft design that would best meet the needs of their facility, children, and staff. The NLI design team will be preparing a final design to share with the group by August. After that the team will develop an action plan to identify next steps for the work that needs to happen in order to create the new outdoor learning environment. This training and design support was made possible through funding by the Texas Department of State Health Services (DSHS).

The OLE! Texas project is being launched in Lubbock, Austin, and now Pasadena. For more information on this statewide initiative, click here. For information on the work being done in Pasadena, please contact Katie Chennisi at cchennisi@hcphes.org
Houston Sims Bayou Greewnway OpeningArticle2

On Thursday morning,
Houston Parks Board , Mayor Sylvester Turner, and many more, celebrated the completion of the newest Bayou Greenways 2020 segment along Sims Bayou Greenway. The new 1.8-mile hike-and-bike trail extends from Heatherbrook Drive to Hillcroft Avenue, creating new green spaceand linear parkland for the surrounding community. The opening of the Sims Bayou Greenway progresses the development and adoption of a "Safe Neighborhoods" policy.

Members attending the ribbon cutting included (L t R) Council Member David Robinson, Texas State Representative Alma Allen, Council Member Larry Green, President and CEO of the Houston Parks Board Beth White, Mayor Sylvester Turner, and Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, among others.

The recently opened greenway along Sims Bayou features a new 10-foot wide concrete hike-and-bike trail with a trailhead at a scenic Harris County Flood Control District detention basin which is being transformed into Blue Ridge County Park, complete with parking, signage and seating. The greenway also includes replacement of an existing asphalt trail. The expanded greenspace within the county park is surrounded by 1,000 new tree plantings from Trees for Houston and freshly planted, native wildflowers. 

For more details, please contact Mark Solano at   msolano@hcphes.org.  
Creating a Culture of Safe Exercise in Near Northside  NNExercise

How do you transform the built environment and the community culture that surrounds it to facilitate safe physical activity that promotes health? That's a common challenge being tackled by both Avenue Community Development Corp. (Avenue CDC) in Houston and NeighborWorks Orange County (NWOC). Both are part of a healthy communities demonstration project that combines financial investments with peer-to-peer learning and coaching to build community health and well-being.

For Avenue, a primary goal was to improve health, particularly by reducing childhood obesity. For NWOC, a major concern was safety, since Santa Ana has the third-highest rate of collisions involving pedestrians or bicyclists in the nation. However, both initiatives are focusing on safe spaces that promote physical activity, and both relied on a fundamental principle to achieve success: residents must be front and center in choosing priorities and designing responses.

Top picture includes Marie Arcos of the MD Anderson YMCA, Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee, Executive Director of Avenue CDC Mary Lawlor, among others.

"We didn't set out to do this just because it's what the experts recommend. We didn't just tell people we were going to make you healthier," comments Jenifer Wagley, deputy director of Avenue CDC. "The residents themselves chose this as a priority. We asked what they are passionate about, and this is what they said. Make sure what you're focusing on is community-driven."

For the rest of the article, written by NeighborWorks America blogger Pam Bailey, click here.

Featured Resource: Voices for Healthy KidsResource

Have you seen the newest resources added to the Voices for Healthy Kids issue based toolkits? You can check out the full toolkits at www.voicesforhealthykids.org/get-involved/or go directly to the new resources through the links posted here. For related resources, follow the link below:

For more information, visit Voices for Healthy Kids Action Center

Urban Harvest - Eastside Farmers Market
Saturday, July 1, 2017 from 8:00 AM - 12:00 PM 
3000 Richmond, Houston, TX 77098
The Bayou Ride - Bike Houston 
Sunday, July 2, 2017 from 8:00 AM - 11:30 AM 
301 Milam St, Houston, TX 77002 
Healthy Living Matters (HLM) - Pasadena Monthly Meeting 
Thursday, July 20, 2017 from 1:30 PM - 3:30 PM
Pasadena Public Library, 1201 Jeff Ginn Dr, Pasadena, TX 77506
For more information, contact Katie Chennisi at cchennisi@hcphes.org

Healthy Living Matters (HLM) - Early Care & Education/Out-of-School Time Monthly Meeting
Thursday, July 27, 2017 from 10:00 AM - 11:30 AM 
Harris County Public Library, 5749 South Loop East, Houston, TX 77033 
For more information, contact Katie Chennisi at  cchennisi@hcphes.org 

Healthy Living Matters (HLM) Quarterly Collaborative Meeting 
Friday, August 25, 2017 from 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM 
Moody Community Center, 3725 Fulton St, Houston, TX 77009 
For more information, contact Mark Solano at  msolano@hcphes.org 

To view more events, visit our Calendar of Events webpage