Newsletter Contents
National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
Upcoming VML Conference
Spotlights of the Month
Tools & Resources
About Us
Stay Connected!
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National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month 
This September we're recognizing National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month - an annual event to recognize a public health challenge impacting communities around the country. Rates of childhood obesity have tripled since the 1970s, now impacting 1 in 5 school-age children between 6 - 19 years (18.5%). Rates of obesity among US adults have also increased dramatically, affecting nearly 40% of adults. The rates differ from state to state; however, both  Maryland and Virginia show similar trends with even higher obesity rates among Black and Latinx residents -- due to various  social, environmental, and political inequities that disproportionately impact lower-income and minority communities, such as limited access to affordable, healthy food or safe environments to be physically active. 

While current obesity rates are alarming, the good news is that childhood obesity can be prevented. Cities and towns like you have recognized the power of health policies, practices, and environmental changes that can make a significant difference in local regional health outcomes. By passing a HEAL resolution, your city or town has made steps towards creating healthier opportunities for youth and families

This month, we're encouraging you to publicize the steps your city or town is taking to improve health outcomes for your residents. Consider hosting a community forum on how your city or town can better serve the health needs of your residents or issue a special update in your municipal newsletter to share wellness resources. For more ideas on how to jump-start a local awareness campaign for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, check out these resources from the US Department of Health and Human Services  and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .

As always, don't forget to join the conversation on social media! All month long we'll be sharing resources and news to highlight the impact of childhood obesity in our region. Follow us at @HEALMidAtlantic. 

Upcoming Virginia Municipal League  Conference 
This October the HEAL Campaign will recognize Virginia HEAL members at the Virginia Municipal League (VML) Annual Conference in Roanoke. The purpose of the HEAL Recognition Program and its levels of membership - Bronze, Silver, Gold and Platinum -- is to recognize and motivate local governments' continued achievement from passing a HEAL resolution to accomplishing HEAL goals.

To apply for a new recognition level, please complete the application by Friday, September 13th to be recognized at the upcoming conference.  If you are applying to become a new HEAL city/town, please send in your application earlier -- by Monday, September 9th  - we may need more time to follow up with you before the conference.   
HEAL Spotlight | Bowie, Maryland
This past June, the City of Bowie was awarded Platinum HEAL recognition at the annual Maryland Municipal League Conference in Ocean  City. Since joining the HEAL Campaign, Bowie has made tremendous strides to integrate HEAL policies and practices into how the City does business. The City is addressing active living and bike infrastructure through a new Trails Master Plan and expanding workplace wellness through an annual walking challenge and healthy vending program.  Find the article here.

Interested in having your city or town featured in an upcoming Spotlight article? Please send a request to Sydney Daigle at
Tools & Resources 
Report | Safety Demonstration Project: Case Studies from Durham, NC, Huntsville, AL, and Pittsburgh, PA  - Through the Safe Streets, Smart Cities Academy, the National Complete Streets Coalition helped three cities build skills in safer street design, creative placemaking, and community engagement, and then put those skills into practice. With local demonstration projects, Durham, NC, Huntsville, AL, and Pittsburgh, PA transformed their streets and intersections into slower, safer places for people. Download the report here
Book Excerpt | Lessons for Any Downtown  This excerpt from Alexander Garvin's "The Heart of the City: Creating Vibrant Downtowns for a New Century," illustrates key lessons and examples of successful downtown environments and the people, businesses, institutions and public agencies that are responsible for implementing these projects. The author points to two essential components to successful and thriving downtowns 1) designating more public, pedestrian and bike-friendly space and 2) developing parkland and green space. Read more
Resource | Mapping the Impact of Dockless Vehicles -  Smart Cities Dive has developed an interactive map to reflect cities across the country that are welcoming (or opposing) dockless bikes and e-scooters. Find recent updates on anything from cities that have banned e-scooters to updates on new models coming to cities around the country. This map is updated every week with new info and articles on shared mobility. Do you have dockless vehicles in your city that aren't represented on the map? Submit an update to Smart Cities Dive to share your story.  Find the map and more info here. 
Webinar | City Park Trends and Practices -  This webinar from the Trust for Public Land shares how they're providing park resources such as the ParkScore interactive tool and City Park Facts. Learn from experts in the field on emerging trends and best practices for creating city parks and green spaces. This one hour webinar will help you learn new approaches to improving parks and public spaces in your city or town using tried and true approaches from around the country.  
About Us
HEAL is a project of the Institute for Public Health Innovation in  partnership with the Maryland and Virginia Municipal Leagues and funded by Kaiser Permanente, founding partner.

For more information on the HEAL Cities & Towns Campaign, please visit the website at or contact HEAL Campaign Manager, Sydney Daigle at
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