Mount Washington Valley Recognized for Helping Kids Make Healthy Choices

December 16, 2019

NORTH CONWAY, NH – Let’s Go! honored 10 schools, 7 out-of-school programs, 4 child care programs, and 3 health care practices in the Mount Washington Valley region of Carroll County for making a positive impact on children’s health. A total of 26 sites are implementing the program’s five evidence-based strategies to increase healthy eating and active living. Let’s Go! Mount Washington Valley presented sites with recognition certificates on November 19 at The Legends Room at Eastern Slope Inn in North Conway.

Let’s Go! sites in Carroll County are committed to making it easier for children to eat well and be active. 87% percent limit or eliminate sugary drinks and promote water as the drink of choice, 83% percent prohibit the use of food as a reward, and 61% percent limit unhealthy choices during snacks and celebrations, focusing on alternatives. Additionally, 91% percent of evaluated sites provide opportunities for physical activity outside of recess on a daily basis. These numbers represent an increase across every level and the program has expanded its reach by 36% since last year which is showing incredible momentum within the community in developing generational wellness knowledge for our youth.

“Let’s Go! is proud to partner with over 1,500 sites to promote healthy changes in the places where children and families live, learn, work, and play,” said Tory Rogers, M.D., senior director of Let’s Go!. “Our partners play a crucial role in the success of this program and they work hard every day to encourage healthier choices throughout our communities.”

Memorial Hospital Community Health and Let’s Go! Coordinator, Heather Phillips states “the Let’s Go! model has been an ideal partnership throughout the community for the simple reason that it works. We are very proud of all the work our partners are doing to promote and model wellness to students and families. From Let’s Go! To The Library at Conway Public Library, to yoga in the classroom, healthy cooking classes for families or a walking classrooms it is having a real impact and we are seeing a generational shift as students continue to see these wellness strategies as the norm.”

Let’s Go! is happy to announce two new sites under Let’s Go! School Nutrition consisting of all SAU9 schools and Madison and Freedom in SAU13. The partnership supports simple, low-and-no-cost changes in the lunchroom to nudge kids to make nutritious choices on their own and ultimately improve participation in the school lunch program. “This is an important effort because we know that when students eat regularly, eat healthier and better food, they are better learners” continued Phillips.

Heidi Belle-Isle, Site Director for Project Succeed Pine Tree said, “Let’s Go! is a great motivational tool for healthy lifestyle for afterschool programming. This year we wanted to implement The Walking Classroom into our curriculum because it combines cognitive learning with physical activity. Through the help of Memorial Hospital’s Let’s Go! partnership we were able to get the program kits and get started.”

Danielle Nutting, principal at John Fuller Elementary School, said, “Thank you so much for hosting a fun recognition night. It was great to hear and see all of the important work other local schools and preschools in our community are doing.”

Introduced in 2012, the Let’s Go! recognition program identifies and celebrates schools, out-of-school programs, and child care programs for their role in improving the health of all children. The program focuses on sustainable change. A Bronze award reflects a site implementing the program’s five evidence-based priority strategies. Silver acknowledges a site for implementing the five strategies and communicating Let’s Go! messages to parents and family members. Gold, the highest level of recognition, is reserved for sites that have implemented the strategies, communicated messages, and written all five strategies into policy.

Let’s Go! also recognizes school cafeterias and health care practices for the role they play in helping kids make healthy choices.

Let’s Go! partners with 1,587 sites across 292 towns. 1,041 Let’s Go! sites met the criteria for recognition this year – a 13 percent increase from 2018. A listing of all recognized sites can be found at https://sites.letsgo.org/

Heathly Choices Group Recognition

Front row (L-R): Heidi Belle-Isle, Pine Tree School; Ardis Yahna, Children Unlimited, Sonja Porter, Jackson Grammar School; Heather Ouellette and Kellsey Libby Vaughan Early Learning Center; Heather Phillips, Memorial Hospital.

Back row (L-R): Wenda Saunders, MD Memorial Hospital; Janine McLaughlan, Robert Frost Charter School; Art Mathisen, President Memorial Hospital; Corey Dowe, A. Crosby Kennett Middle School; Joe Yahna, Josiah Bartlett School; Jeff Beaver, Conway Public Library; Danielle Nutting, John Fuller Elementary School; Sue Ruka, Memorial Hospital; Alison Memoli, John Fuller Elementary. 

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About Let’s Go!
Let’s Go! is a nationally recognized childhood obesity prevention program that reaches children and families where they live, learn, work and play. Let’s Go! is committed to promoting policy and environmental changes at child care programs, schools, out-of-school programs, health care practices, and workplaces. The program’s multi-setting approach, daily 5-2-1-0 message (five or more fruits and vegetables, two hours or less of screen time, one hour or more of physical activity and zero sugary drinks) and 10 evidence-based strategies are used to effect change across the state of Maine. Strong leadership from The Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital at Maine Medical Center and collaboration across health systems and community health coalitions contribute to the program’s success.