Petition to Ban Junk Food From Day Care Centers: YMCA of the USA
Dear Mr. Neil Nicoll and the YMCA of the USA,
Thank you to the YMCA of the USA for the many great things you do for children, in every U.S. community and across all socio-economic strata. We applaud your efforts to provide safe and healthy environments where families and children can gather and participate in life-enriching events.
Given the YMCA's leadership role as America’s largest provider of childcare--serving 500,000 children across 10,000 centers--we parents, advocates, healthcare professionals and concerned citizens urge the YMCA of the USA to make 2 commitments in 2008:
1-    End the YMCA of the USA’s partnership with PepsiCo upon its expiration in 2010. While the YMCA’s “Healthy Kids Day” and “Activate America” campaigns are worthy initiatives, having one the world’s largest suppliers of soft drinks and foods of low nutritional value fund the events introduces a conflict of interest.
2-    Commit to the long-term elimination of “junk food” at all YMCA childcare centers including food offered from on-site kitchens, vending machines and meal programs. Reversing America’s obesity crisis will take a multitude of compromises and new considerations. Of particular emphasis will be America’s youngest children ages 0-5, as their body composition, eating patterns and exercise habits are not yet set. Promoting and serving fried food, refined rather than whole grains and those foods containing substances potentially harmful to health (including partially hydrogenated oil, high concentrations of sugar and high fructose corn syrup, high sodium content, nitrites, MSG, synthetic hormones, antibiotics, artificial colors, and artificial sweeteners), undermines the health of the very children entrusted to the YMCA’s care and contradicts the YMCA of the USA’s own mission statement.
The means and timing to effect the necessary changes are solely up to the YMCA of the USA including its 1,000+ boards of directors and 2,663 individual centers. However, we strongly urge there be no delay in making the 2 commitments immediately.
Just as New York City is considered the “domino” city, where public health improvement strategies by the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene are suggested, passed, and then emulated across the country, so too is it our belief that the YMCA’s leadership role in eliminating junk food from its childcare centers will begin a cascading effect across all of America’s childcare facilities. The YMCA of the USA will earn credit for being the catalyst for fostering a new generation of healthy children, Gen-H.
MeMe Roth, CHC
Nutrition Counselor
National Action Against Obesity
Dr. Barry Popkin, Ph.D.
Professor, Department of Nutrition
Director, UNC Interdisciplinary Obesity Center (IDOC)
Fellow, Carolina Population Center
Director: The Nutrition Transition Research Program
Dr. Walter Willett, M.D., Dr.P.H.
Professor of Epidemiology and Nutrition
Chairman, Department of Nutrition, Harvard School of Public Health
Professor of Medicine, Harvard Medical School
Co-Investigator, Nurses Health Study I
Principal Investigator, Nurses Health Study II
Author, “The Fertility Diet”
Dr. David L. Katz, M.D., M.P.H., F.A.C.P.M., F.A..C.P
Director, Prevention Research Center
Yale University School of Medicine
Chevy Chase
Actor, Writer
Co-Founder, Center for Environmental Education
Child Nutrition Advocate
Jayni Chase
Co-Founder, Center for Environmental Education
Child Nutrition Advocate
Environment, Health, Education, Safety Advocate and Author
Dr. Melissa Glassman, M.D.
Asst. Attending Pediatrician, Columbia University Medical Center / Morgan-Stanley Children's Hospital of NewYork-Presbyterian
Co-author of studies examining early childhood obesity risk factors in ages 1-5.
Dr. Ruby Natale, Ph.D, Psy.D.
Asst. Professor of Clinical Pediatrics
University of Miami School of Medicine
Mailman Center for Child Development
Co-author of studies examining early childhood obesity risk factors in childcare centers for children ages 2-5.
Dr. Susan Linn, Ed.D.
Associate Director, Media Center, Judge Baker Children Center
Director, Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
Author, “Consuming Kids”
Dr. Michael F. Roizen, M.D.
Co-Founder of RealAge
Co-Author, “You on a Diet”
Chief Wellness Officer, Cleveland Clinic
Dr. Neal D. Barnard, M.D.
Nutrition Researcher, Author, Health Advocate
Adjunct Associate Professor, George Washington University School of Medicine
Founder, Physicians Committee for Responsible Medicine
Chef Ann Cooper
Director of Nutrition Services, Berkeley, CA Unified School District
Renegade LunchLady
Author, “Lunch Lessons”
Joshua Rosenthal
Founder, Institute for Integrative Nutrition
Author, “Integrative Nutrition”
Dr. Jennifer L. Ashton, M.D., F.A.C.O.G.
National Medical Contributor, FOX News Channel
Kate Adamick, JD
Chef, School Food Expert
Food Systems Solutions, LLC
Consultant, The Orfalea Fund
Stephen Joseph
CEO,, Inc.
Amy Kalafa
Holistic Health and Nutrition Counselor
Award-Winning Producer
“Two Angry Moms”
Dr. Susan Rubin, D.M.D, H.H.C.
Holistic Health Counselor
Featured in film “Two Angry Moms”
Founder, Better School Food
Ann W. Armstrong, Ed.D
Executive Director, The Center for Educational Outreach & Innovation
President, Teachers College Innovations
Columbia University
MaryRose Barranco Morris, Ed.D.
Director, Continuing Education & Outreach Programs and the New Teacher Academy,
The Center for Educational Outreach and Innovation, Teachers College
Columbia University
Bryan Young
Producer, Shinebox Media
“Killer at Large”
Joel Christian McEwen
Director, Wolf & Moon Productions
“American Dream”
Dr. Lisa R. Young, Ph.D, R.D.
Adjunct Professor of Nutrition, NYU
Author, “The Portion Teller Plan”
Josh Golin
Associate Director
Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood
Julia Havey
Author, Motivational Speaker
Cathy Sorbo
Comedian, Columnist, Social Satirist
Dr. Gary Huber, D.O.
Health and Nutrition Expert
Dena Smith Givens
Health Counselor
Founder, Publisher, Executive Editor
Primal Parenting Magazine
Patrick Wright
Documentary Films Director
Chair, Video Department
Maryland Institute College of Art
Felicia Brodzky
Founder, Integration Health
Personal Integrative Health Counselor
Yvette Berman
Executive Director, Whole Lunches Program
School Food Expert
Katy Attebery
Women’s Heart Disease Prevention Advocate
Co-Founder Queen of Hearts Foundation
Phyllis McCarthy
Integrative Nutrition Expert
Certified Health Counselor
Amy Groh
YMCA IGNITE Instructor
Northern Neck Family YMCA
Kilmarnock, VA
Holly L. Halvorson, M.A., Ed.S.
School Psychologist
Children’s Librarian
YMCA Member
Karen Fletcher
Pre-K Teacher
CDA Certified
Charlotte Schoenke
Preschool Teacher
Jo Wehage
Certified Wellness Consultant
Friday, April 11, 2008