Virginia Beach Wins National Medals for Childhood Obesity Efforts

Monday, June 30, 2014

The National League of Cities has recognized Mayor Will Sessoms and the City of Virginia Beach for recent completion of key health and wellness goals for the Let’s Move Cities, Towns and Counties campaign.   

Let’s Move Cities, Towns and Counties is a major component of First Lady Michelle Obama’s comprehensive Let’s Move! initiative, which is dedicated to solving the childhood obesity epidemic within a generation. Let’s Move Cities, Towns and Counties calls upon local elected officials to adopt sustainable and holistic policies that improve communities’ access to healthy, affordable food and opportunities for physical activity through five goal areas. 


“We congratulate and commend Virginia Beach for your efforts to improve the health of your community’s children and families,” said National League President Chris Coleman, mayor of St. Paul, Minn. “Through the leadership and dedication of local elected officials in cities, towns and counties across the country, we are beginning to see a measurable decrease in obesity rates and a cultural shift towards health.”


Five medals were awarded to Virginia Beach for action taken to improve access to healthy, affordable food and increase opportunities for physical activity. 


“Virginia Beach takes pride in its efforts to create a healthy lifestyle and environment for children and families through its many recreational opportunities, strong agricultural presence and commitment to healthy childhood development,” said Mayor William D. Sessoms, Jr. “With our involvement in the Let’s Move Cities, Towns and Counties campaign,  we look forward to going above and beyond the goals set before us in order to provide a healthier future for local youth and do our part to turn the tide on childhood obesity.”


All Let’s Move sites have the opportunity to earn up to five gold medals, one for each actionable goal to which they commit as part of the initiative. Medals are awarded to local elected officials based on achievements in each of the following five goal areas: 


·         Goal I: Start Early, Start Smart: Promoting best practices for nutrition, physical activity and screen time in early care and education settings. In Virginia Beach, collaborative efforts through Virginia Beach GrowSmart and the development of the Helping Kids Get Fit! training for early child care providers.

·         Goal II: My Plate, Your Place: Prominently displaying MyPlate in all municipal or county venues where food is served. Efforts by Virginia Beach City Public Schools and Parks and Recreation are recognized for displaying MyPlate throughout their facilities.

·         Goal III: Smart Servings for Students: Provide healthy food to children and youth, local elected officials commit to expanding access to meal programs before, during and after the school day, and/or over the summer months. Collaborative partnerships between Virginia Beach City Public Schools and Parks and Recreation to offer meals and snacks to students in after-school programs and during summer camp programs. Publicize through multiple avenues the availability of these programs through resources, including the Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation program guide and website

·         Goal IV: Model Food Service: Implementing healthy and sustainable food service guidelines that are aligned with the Dietary Guidelines for Americans. In Virginia Beach, food vendors within city owned and operated facilities have been identified including those utilizing third party contract food vendors.

·         Goal V: Active Kids at Play: Increasing opportunities for physical activity. Virginia Beach Parks and Recreation conducts a comprehensive planning process that includes action plans for specific initiatives, such as the city’s Outdoors Plan, Bikeways & Trails Plan and Revenue/ Pricing Plan. Access to active play areas is also addressed, including economic accessibility and other barriers.


For more information about Let’s Move Cities Towns and Counties and Virginia Beach’s accomplishments, visit


The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. National League of Cities is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.


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