PHA Summit 2018: Innovating a Healthier Future

Business is coming to see that it has a role to play in solving global social problems, and not by forking over profits for a cause, but by building profitable solutions into the goods and services that we deliver. Nowhere is there greater opportunity to do that than with today’s food companies. —PHA President and CEO Nancy Roman, addressing 2018 Summit attendees.

PHA’s Summit provides a unique opportunity for business and industry leaders to collaborate with advocates from nonprofit, government, and academic organizations on innovative solutions to put an end to childhood obesity. On May 2-4, 2018, more than 650 leaders from the public and private sectors gathered at the Renaissance Hotel in Washington, D.C. to share new opportunities and explore market solutions focused on raising a healthier generation of children.

Speakers at the 2018 Summit—who focused on the theme of Innovating a Healthier Future—included Ido Leffler, Co-Founder and Chairman of the e-grocer Brandless; Congressman Jim McGovern; and Dr. Todd Hobbs, Chief Medical Officer of Novo Nordisk, the 2018 Summit Premier Sponsor. Participants learned about how knowing where our food comes from can change the way we eat, what employers can do to support and improve employee wellness, and the current state of childhood obesity prevention in America.

During breakout sessions, participants were able to learn more about topics such as evidence-based strategies to help all people eat better; community-led partnerships that work; and how PHA partners are using technology to create better health for families.

As it has in the past, PHA announced numerous new partners and commitments at the 2018 Summit, including 16 new college campuses in its Healthier Campus Initiative and 11 new food banks in its Food Assistance Partnership program. It welcomed an extension of its partnership with the Produce Marketing Association and Sesame Workshop, which will continue efforts to make fruits and veggies more appealing to young consumers through 2021 by leveraging the popularity of characters such as Big Bird, Elmo, and Abby Cadabby.

PHA also recognized new partner Giant Food, which has committed to better and more prominent nutrition labeling and to bringing PHA’s FNV campaign to 164 stores in the D.C., Maryland, and Virginia area. FNV utilizes Madison Avenue-style marketing campaigns featuring high-profile sports and entertainment celebrities to drive consumption of fruits and vegetables.

While adults shared best practices and brainstormed new ideas, children at the Summit were introduced to healthier eating habits by former Obama White House Chef Quincy Jackson, who helped them prepare (and eat!) flavorful, healthy snacks. The kids also had the chance to learn how to grow healthy foods for themselves through hands-on, indoor gardening activities. Movement Matters—a program developed by childcare provider Bright Horizons—and yoga sessions showed the kids how to care for their bodies through exercise, stretching, and guided breathing activities.

Kids also had an opportunity to educate the adults: Influential kid leaders, such as young celebrity chefs and youth nonprofit leaders, offered advice on how industry professionals can best reach kids to encourage them to be their healthiest selves.

Next: Catalyst for Change Awards 2018

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