Western North Carolina – YMCA of Western North Carolina through a partnership with Pioneering Healthier Communities, and in alignment with the Y’s 2020 Vision Plan to create healthier communities, stopped selling unhealthy beverages in vending machines at their facilities as of June 1, 2012.
The YMCA of WNC, a longtime advocate of health and wellness, ignited the PHC initiative in 2008. PHC engages community leaders and organizations in an effort to create healthier communities through policy and environmental change. Kristen Weaver, Community Healthy Living Director, said “Embracing PHC as part of the Y’s Vision Plan gave PHC legs for the Y to run with.”
The Y’s 2020 Vision Plan was implemented in 2010. This ten year strategic plan incorporates the mission of PHC with the Y’s commitment to improving the well-being of its members and the community. “Along with the PHC initiative, the YMCA of WNC has made many important strides towards making Asheville a healthier place to live, work and play,” said Tony Baldwin, Superintendent of Buncombe County Schools. “Their healthy vending machine decision should be commended.”
The decision to offer healthier alternatives to standard vending machine choices such as carbonated beverages, sports drinks and energy drinks was a policy decision supported by most YMCA members and the community at large. “Small changes like beverage choices are more likely to help you make lasting positive health and well-being changes,” said Weaver.
It is estimated that health care costs associated with the treatment of diabetes and other related health consequences for one person is approximately $12,000 per year and rising.
“We are fostering positive healthy environments so that when faced with opportunities to make health-related decisions, the healthier choice becomes the easier choice,” said Paul Vest, CEO of YMCA of Western North Carolina.
PHC provides support, resources and collaboration to remove obstacles and assist in healthy changes for western NC. If you or your organization are interested in learning more or collaborating with PHC contact Kristen Weaver at 828-210-9658.