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Alliance for a Healthier Generation Making Strides

by Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD on May 22, 2008

Some experts believe that if childhood obesity rates in the U.S. continue to rise, the current generation of kids could become the first in American history to live shorter lives than their parents.

To combat this growing epidemic, the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation joined together in 2005 to form the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. The Alliance is working to stop the nationwide increase in childhood obesity by 2010 by taking bold, innovative steps to help all children live longer and healthier lives.

The Alliance formed a partnership with IDEA, creating numerous opportunities for IDEA members to take part in the fight against childhood obesity. Here is an update on some of the Alliance’s achievements so far and how IDEA members can get involved.

Two of the Alliance's initiatives include the Healthy Schools Program, which aims to improve schools in the areas of nutrition, physical activity and staff wellness, and the Kids’ Movement, which is a “by kids for kids” effort working with youth to help them take control of their health and actively strive to make their communities and families healthier.

IDEA members can get involved with the Alliance in various ways, including

  • recruiting kids to pledge to Go Healthy at;
  • offering group exercise or personal training services at Alliance events or offering these services—including before- or after-school programs—at schools enrolled in the Healthy Schools Program;
  • donating fitness equipment to schools enrolled in the Healthy Schools Program;
  • offering discounted membership rates to staff and students in schools enrolled in the Healthy Schools Program; and
  • offering personal training services to students who are identified as overweight or obese in school-based health centers associated with schools enrolled in the Healthy Schools Program.

More than 1,000 IDEA members have pledged to contribute their time and expertise to improve physical activity opportunities in their communities. You can join them, and this industrywide effort, to combat childhood obesity. Go to and click on the Alliance for a Healthier Generation icon to learn more, to find out about classes you can provide in schools and to sign up. You will receive a webinar training on how to best work with the schools and then you will be matched with a local school that is a member of the Healthy Schools Program, or you can recruit schools to join the Healthy Schools Program.

Other noteworthy achievements of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation:

  • More than 750,000 students have pledged to Go Healthy by signing up for the Go Healthy Challenge.
  • The free Healthy Schools Program is currently operating in 3,400 schools nationwide and aims to be in 30,000 schools by 2010.
  • The Alliance brokered a landmark agreement with beverage manufacturers to allow schools to opt out of old vending machine contracts.

More details about the opportunities available to IDEA members will be presented at the IDEA World Fitness Convention™ in Las Vegas, July 8-12. Look for session #427, “Alliance for a Healthier Generation—How You Can Get Involved,” presented by Alliance Resource Manager Jordan Parks on Saturday, July 12, at 9:20 am; or stop by the Alliance booth in the Expo Hall. For more information, visit

Tell Us What You’re Doing: Have you pledged your time and energy to helping kids, either through IDEA’s partnership with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation or on your own? We’d like to hear your stories. Please send an e-mail to, and we may publish your response in an upcoming issue of IDEA Fit Tips or IDEA Fitness Journal.

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About the Author

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD IDEA Author/Presenter

Natalie Digate Muth, MD, MPH, RD, is a registered dietitian and a recent graduate of the UNC School of Medicine. She has made several appearances as a nutrition expert on CW's San Diego 6, been quo...