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Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Buffalo (HKHC) is a national program of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) whose primary goal is to implement healthy eating and active living policy- and environmental-change initiatives that can support healthier communities for children and families. HKHC places special emphasis on reaching children who are at highest risk for obesity on the basis of race/ethnicity, income and/or geographic location.

Buffalo is one of only 49 communities across the country selected to receive this highly competitive award from RWJF.

Policy Briefs

The HKHC Buffalo partnership conducted a series of assessments, led by Dr. Samina Raja and the University at Buffalo’s Food Systems Planning and Healthy Communities Lab. The policy briefs below explore the current conditions, the physical environment, the regulatory environment and youth perceptions about healthy eating and active living in the City of Buffalo. They provide data about Buffalo residents, food retail locations, healthy vs. unhealthy foods, where sidewalks are located, etc. The briefs lay out many of the current challenges facing Buffalo residents.

The briefs also present opportunities and suggestions for policy and environmental change that can lead to healthier behaviors, and potentially reduce childhood obesity in the City of Buffalo. The following reports provide valuable information about where we are today, what we can do in the future, and potential pathways for achieving success in creating a healthier, more vibrant eating and active living environment.

Primary Goals for HKHC Buffalo

  1. Engage the community in a dialogue about healthy eating (HE) and active living (AL) policy
  2. Promote HE and AL policy and environmental change in the City of Buffalo
  3. Create opportunities for increased food access in Buffalo
  4. Work with the Bicycle and Pedestrian Advisory Board for AL matters
  5. Conduct a citywide assessment of policy conditions, physical and environmental landscape, and organizational capacity with respect to HE and AL
  6. Support the development of a Food Policy Council
  7. Determine additional needs of HE and AL community in Buffalo

Partnership Seats and Membership

Seat Name
Bicycle and Pedestrian Interests Jim Costello, Director of Advocacy, Bert’s Bikes and Fitness
Bicycle and Pedestrian Interests Gregory Szewczyk, NYSDOT Regional Bicycle/Pedestrian Coordinator
Buffalo Public Schools Assunta R. Ventresca, Director, Health Related Services, BPS
Children’s Health Steven Lana, Medical Director, Buffalo Public Schools
Communications and Design Erin Sharkey, GG Communications Director, MAP
Economic Development Christina Orsi, Empire State Development
Municipal Planning Brendan Mehaffy, Executive Director, OSP, City of Buffalo
Municipal Planning Allita Steward, Community Planner, OSP, City of Buffalo
Public Health Cheryll Moore, Department of Health, Erie County
Public Safety OPEN
Public Works Steven Stepniak, Commissioner, Public Works, Parks & Streets
Steering Committee Justin Booth, Director, Green Options Buffalo
Steering Committee Phil Haberstro, Director, Wellness Institute of Greater Buffalo
Steering Committee Jessie Hersher Gouck, Project Coordinator, HKHC
Steering Committee Diane Picard Executive, Director, Massachusetts Avenue Project
Steering Committee Samina Raja, Associate Professor, UB Urban & Regional Planning
Urban Growing Susannah Barton, Executive Director, Grassroots Gardens
Youth Susan Miller, Tapestry Charter School
Youth Patience Nimely, Bennett High School, Growing Green (MAP)

Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities – Buffalo

Vision for a Healthy City

Buffalo is a safe, welcoming community that enhances the physical, social and spiritual well being of its individual residents, families, visitors and communities. By celebrating diversity and building on existing assets, Buffalo fosters a collaborative, fun and healthy environment where youth and adult citizens drive the change we seek.

We are a community where people of all ages, classes, races and ethnicities are well cared for, and there are healthy living choices accessible to:

  • Clean, safe and accessible places, indoors and out, are available for people to travel, move and play year-round; where parks are well maintained and inviting to all ages, waterways are safe for drinking and recreation, and streets are lively and vibrant with a preference towards human-powered activities and transportation.
  • Access to high-quality, nutritious, affordable and culturally meaningful food, sourced from local farms and community gardens when possible, is available within a reasonable distance from all Buffalo homes.
  • Abundant educational resources are equally accessible to all; with these resources, residents are actively engaged in conscious decisions to live a healthy lifestyle.

Read the HKHC-Buffalo press release announcement in 2010.

For more information and updates, visit the HKHC Blog.

Learn more about HKHC from Jessie Hersher Gouck on the Aging is for Everyone show hosted by Laura Mondello, WKBW.