News: National

Posted on Nov 3, 2015

Communities and Local Officials Honored for Let's Move! Achievements

At a celebratory event at the National League of Cities’ (NLC) Congress of Cities in Nashville, NLC honored cities and counties for their leadership and commitment to preventing childhood obesity and improving community health.

Local elected officials have an important role to play in ensuring children in their communities reach their full potential and live healthy lives. Through their participation in Let’s Move! Cities, Towns and Counties (LMCTC), local leaders across the country can adopt policies that improve access to healthy, affordable food and opportunities for physical activity, and receive recognition for their efforts!

Over 500 cities, towns and counties participate in LMCTC, and nearly 80 million Americans (that’s 1 in 4) are now living in communities that are dedicated to helping young people eat healthy foods and be physically active.

Through LMCTC, communities can earn bronze, silver and gold medals in each of the initiative’s five goals, which aim to help young people eat healthy and be physically active. Since July 2012, NLC has awarded over 2,800 medals to participating local elected officials.

At a celebratory event at NLC’s Congress of Cities in Nashville, NLC honored 36 cities and counties who have earned gold medals in all five LMCTC goal areas within the last year. Those cities and counties being recognized for achieving five gold medals include:

Allentown, PA; Anchorage, AK; Baldwin Park, CA; Buffalo, NY; Chicago, IL; Davenport, IA; East Orange, NJ; Emmett, ID; Evanston, IL; Gaithersburg, MD; Greenacres, FL; Hawaiian Gardens, CA; Hernando, MS; High Point, NC; Independence, MO; LaFayette, AL; McAllen, TX; Mercer Island, WA; Missoula County, MT; Moscow, ID; Mountain View, CA; New Bedford, MA; New Port Richey, FL; Norfolk, VA; North Miami, FL; O’Fallon, MO; Pico Rivera, CA; Prattville, AL; San Francisco, CA; Selma, AL; South Bend, IN; South San Francisco, CA; Tamaqua, PA; Upland, CA; Vaiden, MS; and Williamstown, KY.

Additionally, NLC honored five city leaders for their leadership and dedication to addressing childhood obesity and improving the health of their residents. Councilmember Michael Gomez of Hawaiian Gardens, California and Commissioner Veronica Whitacre of McAllen, Texas received the Most Dedicated Official Award.

Councilmember Gomez has worked tirelessly to promote health through Activate Hawaiian Gardens. The city and its partners have been able to reduce childhood obesity rates among a largely socioeconomically disadvantaged Hispanic majority.  Commissioner Whitacre has been a champion for bicycle and pedestrian friendly communities. She created the Run, Ride and Share Awareness Program and has increased the miles of bike lanes and trails in McAllen.

Tina Amato, nutrition and physical activity program manager in Allentown, Pennsylvania; Osner Charles, acting director of recreation and cultural services in East Orange, New Jersey; and Kathleen Gibi, public affairs specialist in Knoxville, Tennessee, received the Most Dedicated City Staff Award.

Tina Amato leads Allentown’s efforts on Let’s Move! and has brought a coalition of community stakeholders together to assure youth serving programs provide a healthy environment for children. Osner Charles recently oversaw the implementation of his East Orange’s afterschool and summer meal program, and has also facilitated trainings for child care providers on the benefits of making healthy food choices and limiting screen time for children. Kathleen Gibi works diligently to promote Knoxville’s outdoor amenities and leads planning efforts for Knoxville’s annual Let’s Move! event held each May.

These award winners are just a few of the many local elected officials and city and county staff who work to advance change in their community to create environments that support healthy eating and physical activity. City and county leaders are building new partnerships with their health and human services agencies, parks and recreation departments, planning offices, community- and faith-based organizations, and parents and early care and education providers to foster a healthy start for children.

There is a lot to celebrate in communities across the country!

For more information about the LMCTC initiative, its accomplishments, and how local elected officials can sign up, visit: