Childhood obesity and other nutrition and lifestyle issues that negatively impact the health of America's children and youth represent some of the most pressing public health challenges of our time. While the dynamics of these challenges are complicated, and many issues depend for their resolution on government action, one significant sub-set of these concerns — the creation and promotion of healthier foods and beverages — provides multiple opportunities for immediate and focused attention in our nation's K-12 schools, colleges & universities, as well as in chain restaurants.
The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), widely regarded as the world's leading culinary college, has long been committed to advancing healthier food choices in society. Since 2004, the CIA has been working with partners at Harvard to host national conferences that promote healthful eating. Worlds of Healthy Flavors educates menu-decision makers from the top volume foodservice operations in the country (including chain restaurants, colleges & universities, contract foodservice, and supermarkets) about our nation's most pressing public health issues, and presents ideas for delicious, healthful menu options. Healthy Kitchens, Healthy Lives is a CME conference for healthcare professionals that prepares healthcare professionals from a wide range of disciplines to talk with their patients and clients about food, culinary, and lifestyle choices that promote better health.
In 2011, the CIA expanded its mission to advance healthier food choices through its new Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids initiative, beginning with a national, invitational culinary and nutrition leadership summit held at the CIA's new San Antonio, Texas campus, May 11-13.
The core of the Healthy Flavors, Healthy Kids initiative is focusing on culinary insights and actions around K-12 school foodservice, but chain and other restaurant kids' menus, campus dining, and the family food environment are also being examined. And in all cases, we are looking to enhance the role of America's chefs as leaders and change agents, principally through better equipping them with the understanding and kinds of tools they will need to be more effective in transforming the food environments of children, youth, and their families.