The Root continued its yearlong Black, Fit & Healthy series on Friday, July 13, with its Focus on Obesity event at the Washington Post headquarters in Washington, D.C. The event featured panels on how to find solutions to the obesity epidemic in the home, community, medical field and schools; a keynote luncheon with a speech from Sam Kass, White House assistant chef and senior policy adviser for healthy food initiatives; and networking for attendees invested in the health and wellness of the black community.
The Root's managing editor, Sheryl Huggins Salomon, kicks off the day with a panel on community-based solutions from the obesity epidemic, which covered everything from New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's soda ban to outreach challenges that community organizations face.
Ron Dellums, a former congressman and former mayor of Oakland, Calif., spoke passionately about how the crack epidemic of the 1980s decimated the black community and led to generations of addicted parents not able to cook meals for their families and pass along healthy eating habits.
Former Mayor of Trenton, N.J., Douglas Palmer talks with fellow panelists — including, from right, Erika Nicole Kendall, the blogger behind A Black Girl's Guide to Weight Loss; Lauren Darensbourg, director of strategic partnerships for minority and underserved populations at the President's Council on Fitness, Sports and Nutrition; and Lawrence Williams, president of the nonprofit United States Healthful Food Council, which advises consuming high-caloric food and drink only in moderation.
Attendees laugh during a light moment.
Panelist Lauren Darensbourg (left) greets an attendee.
In addition to hosting three panels, The Root also screened a segment of HBO's documentary series the Weight of the Nation.
The Root's Focus on Obesity event offered individuals in the health field an opportunity to network.
The Root showcased a healthy menu for the event's luncheon, including raw and vegan items.
Sam Kass, White House assistant chef and senior policy adviser for healthy food initiatives, was the keynote luncheon speaker. He talked specifically about childhood obesity and the White House's healthy living initiatives.
The Root Managing Editor Sheryl Huggins Salomon, Sam Kass and The Root Publisher Donna Byrd.
Members of The Root's staff pose with Sam Kass.
Next up: a panel on health disparities moderated by The Root's deputy editor, Lauren Williams. The panelists, from right, were Dr. Michelle Gourdine, physician and clinical assistant professor at the University of Maryland School of Medicine; Eleanor Hinton Hoytt, president of the Black Women's Health imperative; and Sheree Crute, a health writer who has written extensively about health disparities. A major topic of conversation? A study suggesting that white girls benefit more from exercise than black girls do.
Vanessa Garrison (center), co-founder of GirlTrek, a nationwide walking club for black girls, got a shout-out from panelist Sheree Crute, who said that Garrison's organization had succeeded in inspiring thousands of African Americans to become more physically active.
The Root's Lauren Williams (left) and Donna Byrd chat with an attendee.
The last panel of the day, which focused on school-based solutions for the obesity epidemic, featured, from left, Fran Meyer, member of the board of governors for the American Alliance for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance; Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association; chef Wilhelmina Bell of Children's Village; moderator and Senior White House Correspondent for The Root Cynthia Gordy; the National Wildlife Federation's Danielle Moodie-Mills; and Mack Jones, principal of the Kennedy School.
Chef Wilhelmina Bell explained how she gets the children she cooks for more interested in tasting new and healthy foods.