A Brief Message from AOF’s Founder & Executive Director

Let’s Make Healthy Our New Happy!

Many obesity-related suffering could be prevented by making healthy choices, such as, eating and drinking right, staying at a healthy weight, keeping active and making healthy lifestyle choices. However, we know that is not the case in many households and communities across America, especially, under-served communities, because obesity and obesity-related suffering like, type-2 diabetes, asthma, cardio-vascular diseases and even cancer, are on the rise.

Why does eating and living well remain a persistent challenge in some neighborhoods and not others? What are the critical factors that make some communities heed the importance of good nutrition, healthy activities and lifestyle choices and not others? What can we do differently as an organization and together with targeted communities to effect lasting changes based on a culture of health? How do we ensure the next generation of American kids, grow up healthy and strong, ready to take their rightful places in the American economic system? These are some of the questions that keep me awake at night. Undoubtedly, the fact remains, low-income communities are faced with destabilizing factors: lack of access to healthy and affordable foods, cycles of deprivation and overeating, higher levels of stress, anxiety and depression, limited opportunities for physical exercise and more exposure to marketing of obesity-promoting products. Needless to say, under-served neighborhoods often face higher and stringent barriers to health than wealthier communities. Yet, this should compel us to come together because from experience, building resilient cultures in communities work.

Consequently, the thrust of the American Obesity Foundation is based on a Self-Healing Model that essentially believes a community can heal itself when all its members come together purposed to live healthier lives. To reach this goal, the American Obesity Foundation (AOF) is dedicated to:

  1. Community Leadership Involvement: We cannot do this work alone. It is an enormous task that needs all hands on deck, as it were. We need neighbors talking to neighbors; residents taking on leadership roles in fostering a healthy culture built on a “Health-is-Wealth” mindset, which is likely to ensure greater successes.
  2. Focal Point: AOF seeks to promote a shared understanding of the values and priorities that make up the local culture of the targeted communities we serve. Particularly, because we believe the prevailing culture helps residents come up with interventions everyone wants to support.
  3. Process of Innovation: The American Obesity Foundation is a strong supporter of interactive and reflective processes with community members, with a view to, continuous improvement.
  4. Outcomes: A well-known proverb says: the proof is in the pudding. So, based on the gap between current results and the yearnings of neighborhood residents, participation in research and findings of outcomes, AOF hopes to drive residents to improve their approaches in leading healthier lives.

All in all, we are excited about this work and what we can accomplish by the power of our collective communities. American Obesity Foundation needs you, in order, to stay in the forefront of the fight against the obesity epidemic. Let’s keep America’s kids and families, especially those from underserved communities, healthy and strong again – Let’s Make Healthy Our New Happy!

Best Wishes,

AUG 2013 PHOTO BAfi Okon, MPA, Adv. Cert (Healthcare Mgt)
Founder & Executive Director
American Obesity Foundation, Inc.