Cities Share $445,000 in Grants to Encourage Children’s Healthy Weight & Lifestyle

Washington, D.C. – Today, the U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM) announced the winners for the 2020 Childhood Obesity Prevention Awards during the USCM’s 88th Winter Meeting in Washington, D.C.: Albuquerque, N.M. Mayor Tim Keller, Augusta, Ga. Mayor Hardie Davis and Oakland Park, Fla. Mayor Matthew Sparks. The awards went to cities whose mayors initiated exceptional programs to encourage healthy weight through balanced diet choices and regular physical activity.

”America’s beverage companies believe strongly in the power of industry and government coming together to improve the health of the communities where we all work and live,” said Katherine Lugar, president of the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America (ABFHA) Board of Directors and president and CEO of the American Beverage Association.  “The mayors being recognized today are leading the way with innovative programs to promote environmental sustainability and wellness, while having a real impact in America’s hometowns.  The American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America is proud to partner with the U.S. Conference of Mayors to support these critical efforts.”

“The Conference is proud to partner with the American Beverage Foundation for a Healthy America to improve the lives of children in cities across the country,” said Tom Cochran, USCM CEO and executive director. “Together, we have provided over $3.5 million in grants to more than 40 cities to support programs that take on childhood obesity. With this continued support, America’s mayors are ensuring a healthier future for the next generation.”

Six U.S. cities were recognized for their mayoral-based initiatives:

  • Albuquerque, N.M.
  • Baton Rouge, La.
  • Augusta, Ga.
  • Fall River, Mass.
  • Oakland Park, Fla.
  • Alexandria, La.

The grant program is the result of a partnership between USCM and ABHFA, which was created and funded by America’s non-alcoholic beverage industry and reflects the industry’s long-standing tradition of giving back to communities. Since the start of this partnership in 2012, USCM and ABHFA have awarded over $3.5 million in grants to more than 40 cities across the nation.

The awards are divided into small, medium and large city categories, with first place and second place awards given in each category. An independent panel of judges evaluated each application based on innovation, creativity, replicability and potential impact.

A brief description of each winning program appears below.

Large City

1st Place ($150,000): Albuquerque, N.M., Mayor Tim Keller

The One ABQ Out-of-School Time Get Moving Initiative will enhance existing out-of-school educational, physical activity opportunities to provide a place where children feel safe, are surrounded by supportive mentors, have access to nutritious foods, are able to be active, can form relationships with their peers, learn how to set positive goals for themselves, and feel empowered to take charge of their lives. The “Find Your Park and Public Art” is a component of the program which encourages youth to explore the Albuquerque’s open spaces and public art locations.

2nd Place ($25,000): Baton Rouge, La., Mayor-President Sharon Weston Broome

The Baton Roots Community Farm seeks to empower community residents to develop a local sustainable fresh, healthy, and affordable food system by working directly in urban agriculture. The goal of the program is to teach, prepare (through supervised experience), and embolden local residents to serve as stewards of their own communities by growing fresh and affordable food for themselves and their neighbors.

Medium City

1st Place ($120,000): Augusta, Ga., Mayor Hardie Davis

Augusta Fit Families aims to impact multiple spheres of influence within a young child’s (0-5yrs) health environment: their homes and families, their social networks, their caregiving setting, their neighborhoods, and their community. The goal of the program is to expose children to healthy eating and activity environments both inside and outside of the home so they can learn and benefit from healthy habits throughout their lives.

2nd Place ($25,000): Fall River, Mass., Mayor Paul Coogan

The Super Start Program draws upon the idea that consistent early morning physical activity, health education and friendly competition is the key to reducing childhood obesity. The awarded grant will expand the program across all ten (10) of Fall River’s elementary schools.

Small City

1st Place ($100,000): Oakland Park, Fla., Mayor Matthew Sparks

The Oakland Park Paddle Club (OPPC) will make use of the city’s many lakes and waterways to address the physical wellbeing of young people and enhance their recreational opportunities.  OPPC will feature two popular outdoor activities, kayaking and paddle boarding, at various venues throughout Oakland Park. The program’s exercise and educational components aim to address specific child health issues, reduce child obesity and strengthen their connection to the outdoors.

2nd Place ($25,000): Alexandria, La., Mayor Jeffrey Hall

The Good Food Project is a partnership between the city of Alexandria, Good Food Project of the Food Bank of Central Louisiana and Inglewood Farm of Alexandria to provide approximately 50-75 young people the opportunity to attend day-long camp sessions focused on sustainable gardening, physical activity, good nutrition, and access to nutritious food. By exposing these youth to agricultural and food entrepreneur ideas, this program will create opportunities for youth to learn and provide for their own healthy eating needs while also exploring a potential career in this space.