Allentown Health Bureau Nutrition & Physical Activity Manager Tina Amato was honored by the National League of Cities (NLC) Thursday in Nashville, Tennessee for building partnerships to make Allentown a healthier place.
Amato was one of five persons selected from dozens of applications across the country to receive the most dedicated city staff award. Amato was also cited for her leadership in promoting innovative strategies to improve children’s nutrition and physical activity.
Amato has been part of the city’s “Fruits and Vegetables on the Move” program since its inception. A specially outfitted pick-up truck brings free fruits and vegetables to Department of Parks & Recreation playground and recreation sites, across the city. It has served an estimated 10,000 children and adults over the last four years.
“Reducing the incidence of childhood obesity is very important to me,” Amato said. “This program is a real team effort, and I am happy to accept this recognition on everyone’s behalf.
The city of Allentown was also recognized by the NLC for achieving gold medals in all five Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC) goal areas, which are based on achievements made to improve access to healthy, affordable food and promote physical activity for children and adults.
“These local policymakers, representing small and large communities from across the country, are transforming their communities into healthier places,” said National League of Cities President Ralph Becker, mayor, Salt Lake City, Utah.
LMCTC is a key part of the First Lady’s Let’s Move! initiative and helps local elected officials, their staff and communities ensure all children grow up healthy and have the ability to reach their full potential. NLC works in partnership with Let’s Move! and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to provide assistance to local elected officials. Over 500 cities, towns and counties have committed to the five goals in the LMCTC initiative since July 2012.
All LMCTC communities have the opportunity to earn up to five gold medals, one for each actionable goal that they commit to as part of the initiative. Medals are awarded to local elected officials based on their achievements in areas such as providing healthy school meals, opportunities for physical activity during and outside of school, and healthier early care and education programs. Since July 2012, NLC has awarded over 2,800 bronze, silver and gold medals to local elected officials across the country to recognize their LMCTC progress.
Allentown joins an elite group of 59 cities and counties that have earned gold medals in each of the five goal areas. This number is expected to grow as more local leaders take advantage of their unique position to ensure the health and well-being of young people today and that of future generations is a priority.
“We’re beginning to turn the tide on childhood obesity in America’s communities, and we can’t stop now, especially when it comes to our work at the local level,” First Lady Michelle Obama said. “City and county officials have provided essential leadership for these efforts, and their innovative approaches and effective solutions can help ensure that all our children have a healthy start in life.”
“I am very pleased Allentown has achieved gold medals in providing healthy school meals, opportunities for physical activity during and outside of school, and healthier early care and education programs,” said Mayor Ed Pawlowski. “I am also very excited that Tina is one of just five people to be recognized from across the country. Tina, and health bureau and parks and recreation staffers can be very proud that their work is being recognized by the NLC and Let’s Move!”
For more information about the cities, counties and individuals recognized, visit http://www.healthycommunitieshealthyfuture.org/coc2015announcement/
NLC works in partnership with Let’s Move! and HHS, with support from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the National Association of Counties and other nonprofit organizations, to provide assistance to local elected officials as they implement policy and program changes to improve access to healthy, affordable food and provide opportunities for physical activity for all children. The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provides generous support to NLC to provide technical assistance to local elected officials working to create healthier communities and prevent childhood obesity, including those participating in LMCTC.
For more information about LMCTC and Allentown’s accomplishments, visit www.HealthyCommunitiesHealthyFuture.org.