Introduction

A Message from the Chairman of the Board of Directors: Reshaping the Culture of Health

Portrait of James R. Gavin III, Chair of PHA's Board of Directors.

After nearly a decade of developing innovative models that make the healthy choice the easy choice for American families in the many places that we live, work, study, and play, PHA and its partners entered an exciting new phase in 2018, emerging with new leadership and a broader sense of purpose that will further our efforts to reshape the culture of health in America.

When we began our work in 2010, we set out with the ambitious goal of reducing childhood obesity within a generation. We focused our efforts on transforming the marketplace and creating healthier environments so that we would generate a greater supply of healthier products and opportunities for physical activity, as well as an increased demand for them. This important work continues.

As we move forward, we do so with the understanding that reducing childhood obesity – which remains an urgent health goal– must not be our only goal. Poor eating and sedentary lifestyles dominate American culture, leading not only to obesity, but also to myriad chronic illnesses associated with these behaviors: diabetes, heart disease and stroke, high blood pressure, fatty liver, kidney disease, and certain types of cancer, to name a few.

These illnesses – the seeds of which are planted in childhood – are robbing too many of our children of a healthy future. We have not only an opportunity, but also a moral obligation to help our children develop healthier habits now, so they won’t need to unlearn bad habits later and relearn healthier ways to eat and move.

This transformation will require a substantial shift in the culture of health in this nation – from consumer expectations and demands, to corporate philosophies and practices, to government policies that help shape the way Americans think about healthy living. We all have a role to play in providing opportunities for maintaining good health as we go about our business, whether we’re at home in our communities, at school, at work, or at play. Our next phase of evolution will tackle these broader challenges.

We have already begun this work. As we entered this transitional phase last year, we did so with a new CEO and several new board members, who brought with them new ideas and perspectives on how to shift our strategic thinking to capture this broader sense of purpose.

We have a strong team already in place that is eager, willing, and able to take this work to the next level. Having already developed or discovered successful models for transforming the marketplace, we are now working to catalyze and accelerate the pace of change. We will continue to take what we have learned over the past decade and scale those best practices to accelerate healthier trends in the marketplace, in our schools, and throughout our communities for even greater impact.

I am proud of the great work PHA and its partners have done and continue to do, creating a healthier future for our children and the generations that follow. As we begin work on this next phase of our journey, I am grateful to all who have joined us in these pursuits and look forward to what we can achieve together. There is no greater gift we can leave our children than that of sustained good health. It is truly the gift of life.

Dr. James R. Gavin III, MD, PhD Chairman of the Board of Directors Partnership for a Healthier America

Next: Read Our Methodology

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