August 4, 2011

Active, healthy family vacation can be a fun family vacation

By Lisa Gable
This is the time of year to get away with our families on a vacation. It’s also a great opportunity to get the family working together to promote good health and counter obesity. And, by the way, it’s also a great opportunity for families to earn team points in the Together Counts™ program, the national campaign encouraging families to eat meals together and engage in physical activities together.

Healthy living should always be an important element of family life. Families that pursue this goal together are happier and healthier. That’s why the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation is conducting the Together Counts campaign ( Family vacations are a natural time to pursue these goals.  A family trip can be one of the most memorable experiences a family shares as well as provide an opportunity to pursue healthy living in a new and interesting way.

 In fact, this time as a family is a great opportunity to build your points on the Together Counts dashboard. You earn points by keeping your pledges, and use them to measure your progress and compare it with others.
Consider the family vacation possibilities. Does a family vacation during the summer always have to be on the beach? It can be a lot of fun, but there are a lot of other ways that families can spend their time together: such as walking a downtown area filled with historical sites and museums, hiking a nature trail or mountain, cycling, canoeing, kayaking, or even white-water rafting.
Even if you’re spending time at the beach, you can make sure your family takes the opportunity to fit in some healthy physical activity. Walking, swimming and beach volleyball are always great exercise.

Vacations are a great way for families to get away – but not from each other. In fact, it’s one of the best ways for families to bond, try new foods and for parents to find opportunities to get their kids and themselves to embrace a healthy style of living.

July 4, 2011

July 4th: Celebrate Our Nation’s Past – and Our Family’s Future

By Lisa Gable

How will you celebrate the 4th of July this year? No matter what you do, it can be an opportunity not just to mark our nation’s founding, but also to launch (or build on) a healthy lifestyle for you and your family.

No doubt about it, eating is a big part of the 4th of July holiday. But it’s important to remember: There’s also a 5th of July. Making sure our kids live a healthy life depends on BALANCE, especially energy balance – making sure that the energy (or calories) we consume is balanced by the energy we expend through physical activity.

July 4th is a day to play. Since it falls on a Monday this year, it makes for a great weekend to do these things – as a family. That works in perfectly with the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation’s Together Counts™ program, which encourages families to eat meals together and engage in physical activities together to counter obesity and promote good health.

Why not go out for a family walk after dinner for all three days of the holiday? Or you can throw the Frisbee around. Or how about going on a swim as a family – maybe even make it a race.
If you’re having a family picnic, there is nothing more fun than a potato sack race or a three-legged race – or just a regular footrace. When is the last time you got the chance to play touch football with the kids? Or if the kids are younger, tag or hide-and-seek?

The important thing is to keep on moving. It all burns calories – and it all balances out that great food we’ll be eating. Let’s have a great – active – Fourth of July.

February 16, 2011

National Organization Pursues Wellness as a Priority of African-American Community

By Lisa Gable

1963 was a critical year for African-Americans. Dr. Martin Luther King led the March on Washington. President John F. Kennedy called for a Civil Rights Act. African-American leaders intensified their organizing efforts aimed at strengthening their communities.

One of those efforts was the 100 Black Men of America Inc. It brought together community leaders to explore ways of improving conditions in their community.

Black History Month is a good time to mark the work of 100 Black Men of America. One of their goals is to promote wellness, especially reducing childhood obesity. A member organization of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, the organization is committed to promoting energy balance – taking fewer calories-in and expending more calories out through physical activity.

Battling obesity is not easy, especially where recess and physical education classes have been cut back. 100 Black Men’s dedicated vehicle for pursuing energy balance is called Youth Movement, a program that helps students improve their heath, develop long-term goals and overcome obstacles and achieve lifetime success, by providing an outlet for physical activity, along with nutritional education. Volunteer nurses and coaches bring equipment and assess health and fitness levels at participating schools. After-school and weekend programs offer track and field clubs, athletic training and clinics facilitated by Olympians and world-class athlete volunteers.

Black History Month is a time to pay tribute of the power of community to better lives. 100 Black Men, Inc.’s efforts to improve wellness and reduce obesity among young people is an important part of that.

January 28, 2011

Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation triples membership in first year

Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation triples membership in first year, launches program in all its priority areas
By Lisa Gable

It started with 41 food companies, trade associations and non-governmental organizations coming together to help reduce obesity, especially childhood obesity. After a year, the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation has taken a look at what we have achieved and what we plan to achieve in the near future, in our annual report.

The 41 founding members have grown into more than 135 organizations, united to develop practical solutions to America’s obesity problem by promoting healthy, active lifestyles. These organizations – including retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, sporting goods and insurance companies, restaurants, a professional sports association, trade associations, NGOs, professional athletes and the U.S. Army – talk to millions of people every day, focussing enormous attention on the problem of obesity.

We have been pursuing our mission in schools, the workplace, and the marketplace.

  • Energy Balance 101, available for free online and at more than half our nation’s elementary schools, provides valuable teaching tools to help young people achieve a healthy weight.
  • Member companies – joined by First Lady Michelle Obama – pledged to reduce 1.5 trillion annual calories by the end of 2015 through new lower-calorie options, reduced calorie content of current products, or reducing portion sizes of existing single-serve products.
  • Members began to comprehensively measure their wellness programs on an annual basis.

Over the next year, member companies will bolster programs in all of these areas through social media aimed at encouraging and supporting families to pursue healthy lifestyles that help curb and prevent obesity.

In the Foundation’s first year, we’ve found enormous willingness to work together to address the critical national problem of obesity. This spirit of cooperation is the biggest asset we bring to meeting the challenge.

Lisa Gable is executive director of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a first-of-its kind coalition aimed at addressing the challenge of obesity – especially childhood obesity.

December 14, 2010

The latest in weight loss: Internet conference provides cutting edge info.

By Lisa Gable, Executive Director, Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation

The day-long Internet symposium Weight Management 2010 Virtual Conference & Expo gave those who attended over the Internet a peek at the future of weight management.  Over 900 attendees learned about the cutting edge science of probiotics and prebiotics, new weight control practices (such as a three-part method to help consumers control their weight, based on how they gain it) –new nutritional ingredients, product reformulation, and the technique of satiety (products that promise to fill you up for a longer period of time).

We heard about the state of the weight control market, renewed interest in the benefits of carbohydrates, and the interlinking issues of reformulation, portion control, and nutrition labeling.

More than anything, the virtual conference demonstrated weight management’s dynamic nature. Some of the products and practices discussed were barely heard of just a few years ago. Now, they have the potential to dramatically reduce obesity and help millions achieve and maintain a healthy weight level. It almost seems like advancement in this area is best measured in dog years – a 7-1 ratio over the calendar.

While America faces major challenges in countering obesity, the conference illustrated the significant resources, energy and know-how that is being summoned to address the problem. It also underscored the fact that this is a global concern. Almost half of the attendees were from outside North America, predominantly Europe.

If you missed the conference, it is available free of charge, at (for a year). It runs eight hours (one hour per session) and is worth the time. Bringing together high-level presenters to address cutting-edge topics, it is an opportunity to get a lot of perspectives on weight management – and find out how many dimensions the issue has, and how much we are learning about it.

Lisa Gable is executive director of the Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation, a first-of-its kind coalition that brings together more than 125 retailers, food and beverage manufacturers, restaurants, sporting goods and insurance companies, a professional sports organization, NGOs, trade associations, and the U.S. Army.

November 24, 2010

Get Kids Off Their Couches

By Lisa Gable, Executive Director, Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation

Parents know that videos and other modern entertainment technologies are a major roadblock standing between kids and the healthy physical activity they need. For example, a study released earlier this year by Kaiser Family Foundation reports that children devote an average of 7 hours and 38 minutes a day to entertainment media.

That doesn’t leave much time to burn off energy.  So it’s a great thing that Boston Celtics star Paul “The Truth” Pierce (an associate member of Healthy Weight Commitment Foundation) has found a way to get kids off their couches. He has come up with the equivalent of a ju-jitsu move to use videos to promote physical activity – producing videos in conjunction with Comcast that inspire young people to lead active, healthy lives.

Pierce’s 5-7 minute vignettes – available on his Truth on Health website ( and on Comcast On Demand – feature the NBA all-star demonstrating a variety of exercises designed to get and keep kids moving.

Backpack Attack, for example, illustrates simple exercises that kids can engage in while wearing a backpack.

Commercial Cardio features basic calisthenics kids can perform at home while watching television. Rock, Jock & Clock promotes basic basketball drills.

In Celtic Pride Workout, Pierce issues a challenge to kids: Instead of just watching a basketball game, start participating. Every time the team dunks, do five jumping jacks. For every foul shot, do five squats. For every rebound, five push. The goal is to turn spectators into participants.

The videos are just some of the tools Pierce uses. For example, he also provides kids with his personal fitness regimen, and gives parents tips on healthy, delicious meals and how to talk to their children about living a healthy, active lifestyle.

By making videos a force for healthy living, Pierce is turning children’s fascination with technology into a vehicle for getting them off the couch and into action.

Page 1 of 1 pages