National Health Experts Discuss Ideas for Improving Health and Wellness in U.S. Families and Communities

Tuesday, January 14th, 2014
Press Contact:
Maureena Thompson
(805) 748-2272
January 14, 2014


(Washington, DC) – Following the successful conclusion of an intensive healthy eating pilot program involving more than 60 Washington, D.C. families, Hope Street Group and Grow Your Family Strong (GYFS) celebrated with an interactive panel discussion and reception at the Kaiser Family Foundation last Wednesday to discuss policy implications on how to further address the health needs of families.

The event, called Healthy Families: New Tools and Networks, featured Hope Street Group CEO and GYFS Founder, Monique Nadeau, who created the pilot to discover firsthand the challenges and opportunities involved for parents and families trying to eat well and maintain healthy lifestyles. Nadeau was inspired to begin the project by the realization that many busy families, despite their best intentions to feed their children well, simply do not feel they have adequate time, resources, knowledge, or support to consistently produce healthy, home-cooked meals. By the end of the pilot, 61% of participants believed they felt more confident in their ability to feed their children nutritious foods. For more results from the pilot, please see here.

At the event, pilot program participant Mya Zavaleta Ford shared her experiences of moving toward a healthier eating model within her own family. “The pilot project reinforced that good health is critical to our family’s development,” said Ford, who added that the program “positively influenced the way I view feeding our family, and it is very important for me to spread that knowledge, to make an even wider impact in our communities.”

Esteemed panelists included Dr. Fik Isaac, MD, who is the Vice President of Global Services for Johnson & Johnson as well as the Chief Medical Officer for Wellness and Prevention, Inc., Peter Long, PhD, the President and CEO of Blue Shield of California Foundation, Chef Nora Pouillon of Restaurant Nora and Larry Soler, President & CEO of Partnership for a Healthier America.

The primary theme of the discussion, which was attended by over 170 diverse stakeholders, from local families to national health experts to innovators and entrepreneurs, was the power of networks and collaboration across sectors to impact health at family, community and national levels.

“If our goal really is to promote health, and the health of the population, we need to actually promote a culture of health,” said Long.

“The top three risk factors that we are dealing with today are unhealthy eating, physical inactivity, and stress/depression. When you look at those factors, they are mostly preventable,” explained Dr. Isaac.

While there was agreement that there needs to be greater collaboration among employers, communities and individuals when it comes to promoting preventive health measures, Soler added, “I am really excited and optimistic about where we are heading as a country. We have the first data that we’ve seen that is showing that in 16 states, there is a decrease in childhood obesity amongst low-income preschoolers.”

“I think, at the end, we all want to be happy, and one of the biggest ingredients to being happy is being healthy,” said Pouillon.

This pilot is the first step for Hope Street Group and Grow Your Family Strong to understand the opportunities for families and communities and interventions necessary to improve regional and eventually national health. Next steps are to capture these lessons into a new beta technology from Grow Your Family Strong to enable families to personalize the GYFS plan according to their needs and preferences and design re-enforcing health policy initiatives through Hope Street Group’s leader network. A more comprehensive overview of the evening’s discussion is available here.

The Grow Your Family Strong and Hope Street Group pilot was funded by Blue Shield of California Foundation and the Kaiser Family Foundation. The event to celebrate the success of the pilot was sponsored by Vitamix and Cancer Treatment Centers of America.

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Hope Street Group is a national nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to expanding economic opportunity and prosperity for all Americans. Founded by a small group of young entrepreneurs on South Hope Street in Los Angeles, we are committed to helping further innovative and collaborative reform efforts in education, health and jobs and workforce.

Grow Your Family Strong (GYFS) is a new venture committed to providing families with healthy, practical tools for enhanced nutrition and

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