Texas Obesity Awareness Week

2013 Texas Health Champions

Announcing the 2013 Texas Health Champion Award Winners

Bill Squires cropped | Texas Obesity Awareness Week

William G. (Bill) Squires, Jr. PhD, FACSM
Professor of Biology and Kinesiology
Dr. Frederick C. Elliot Chair in Health, Fitness and Nutrition
Texas Lutheran University


HEB1 | Texas Obesity Awareness Week

Texas-based Grocery Store

The Center for Healthy Living and Live Smart Texas are proud to announce two winners for the 2013 Texas Health Champion Award. We would like to tip our hats to Dr. William (Bill) G. Squires, Jr. Professor of Kinesiology at Texas Lutheran University and Texas-based grocery store H-E-B for their outstanding local contributions to the fight against the national obesity epidemic.

Dr. Squires has shown incredible leadership as Chair of the Seguin School Health Advisory Committee (SHAC), implementing impressive programs in the school district to bolster physical activity among community members. By advocating analysis of neighborhood routes and pairing up with the local DA office to declare crime-free zones, Dr. Squires has brought the Safe Routes to School program to Seguin. This program, paired with his project to build trails around nine local elementary schools, has helped citizens of Seguin to find safe places to walk and stay fit. The work Dr. Squires has done provides admirable models for programs that can be employed in other counties across Texas.  Read our blog post on Dr. Squires here.

H-E-B has used its prodigious influence as a company to educate its clientele on nutrition and promote healthier food choices. Through their work with a team of nutritionists, H-E-B has bolstered the nutritional value of their products, bringing them up to national nutrition standards. They have taken care to offer savings to customers on healthy foods, especially at the end of the month, when some lower-income families may run out of money. The company has not only provided their customers with healthy options, they have also put efforts into raising health awareness by promoting healthy food in their stores through healthy recipe suggestions and holding events like Slimdown Showdown to bring attention to healthy lifestyles. H-E-B’s efforts have helped to improve healthy eating choices where they begin—the grocery store; their many locations mean their work will be far-reaching.  Read our blog post on H-E-B here.

The awards will be presented at the Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony on Thursday, September 12th in Austin.

Click here to register!

Rising Star Award

Meet the Rising Star Award Finalists!

The Rising Star Award Winner will be announced at the Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony on September 12th, 2013.

Pallavi Dev web | Texas Obesity Awareness WeekPallavi Dev
Glenda Dawson High School
Pearland, TX

Pallavi is the founder and leader of a community service group in Pearland, Texas called High Five For Health (H5H). The group consists of adolescent health promoters who educate their peers and younger youth about obesity and how to live a healthy lifestyle. Pallavi and her H5H team have taken their message to kids and the community at large through partnerships with the Pearland Mayor’s office, the Parks & Recreation Department, Pearland ISD, and the 288 Rotary Club. Their efforts have included presentations to kids in the city’s free after-school programs as well as participation in community events. At Pearland’s Winter Festival, H5H hosted an obstacle course, a nutrition trivia game, and set up a booth to collect height and weight data. In an effort to better reach younger kids, Pallavi authored a children’s book on healthy eating titled Sam’s Lunch.

Danielle Fournier web | Texas Obesity Awareness WeekDanielle Fournier
Kempner High School
Sugar Land, TX

Danielle began teaching gymnastics when she was just 14 years old. Her early experiences working with kids gave her a unique understanding of the power of peer leadership. “Children need strong role models and they naturally look up to older students,” writes Danielle. As President of the Oliver Foundation’s Teen Advisory Board, Danielle has organized several obesity prevention efforts in her Sugar Land community. She focuses her efforts primarily on Mexican-American children and adolescents, serving as a role model and mentor for younger students. Danielle helped to improve curriculum for STOP 2048, an accredited nutrition and physical activity program in Houston charter schools, and worked with faculty at Baylor College of Medicine this summer to show the cost-effectiveness of the program.

Caitlyn Floyd web | Texas Obesity Awareness WeekCaitlyn Floyd
Quest Early College High School
Kingwood, TX

Caitlyn believes strongly in the power of policy to drive healthy change. The school Caitlyn serves currently faces many barriers to living a healthy lifestyle. Drugs and crime have made the parks unsafe for physical activity, and the stores and restaurants surrounding her school make it tough to achieve a balanced diet. As a member of the Youth Police Advisory Council and a youth ambassador of Healthy Living Matters, Caitlyn learned how changes to neighborhoods, such as safe walking trails and restaurants that offer fresh choices, can be facilitated through advocacy and thoughtful policy development. She has worked with her school to create a year-long competition that encourages physical activity, culminating in an end-of-the-year field day event. Caitlyn attended the Safe Routes to School Conference in California this year and returned with several ideas for expanding obesity prevention efforts in her community.

About the Rising Star Award

The Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living and Live Smart Texas are pleased to announce the call for applications for the inaugural Rising Star Award. As part of the 6th Annual Texas Obesity Awareness Week and the Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony, The Rising Star Award will be presented to a young Texan (13-18 years of age) who has demonstrated exceptional leadership in his or her community in an effort to raise awareness and reduce the burden of the obesity epidemic. He or she will be honored at the Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony on September 12, 2013, and featured on the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living and Live Smart Texas websites.

The Rising Star award winner will also receive a full scholarship to attend the Southern Obesity Summit, November 19-21 in Nashville, Tennessee. This will include travel, hotel, registration and meals!  This scholarship is generously sponsored by Texas Health Institute.

THI logo color 300x62 | Texas Obesity Awareness Week

Learn more about the Southern Obesity Summit here


  • Initiative: Applicant has actively created or fostered an obesity prevention or awareness program in their community.
  • Leadership: Applicant serves as a leader or mentor to peers within his/her organization, as well as to others in the community.
  • Education: Applicant strives to learn more about obesity prevention and public health, and values the learning process in program/community organizing.
  • Awareness: Applicant has a comprehensive understanding of the obesity prevention program elements, such as cultural relevancy, goals and mission, and evaluation requirements.
  • Future aims: Applicant has a desire to continue involvement and education in the field of obesity prevention.


About TOAW

About Texas Obesity Awareness Week

Texas Obesity Awareness Week (TOAW) was established in the 80th Legislative Session (2007) by House Bill 2313 and is designated to occur in the second full week of September each year.  The purpose of the week is to raise awareness of the health risks associated with obesity and to encourage Texans to achieve and maintain a healthy lifestyle.  TOAW consists of several events statewide and culminates with the Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony hosted by the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living, Live Smart Texas, and The University of Texas School of Public Health.

Events taking place this week

  • Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony, Thursday (9/12) at 6:00 p.m. – Austin, TX
    • Each year the Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony is held to recognize outstanding achievements made to combat the obesity epidemic in Texas. This year’s Texas Health Champion Award Ceremony will be held on Thursday, September 12th at 6 p.m. at The University of Texas at Austin’s Blanton Museum of Art.  There will be a networking reception with heavy (and healthy!) hors d’oeuvres from 5:00-6:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public, but space is limited and attendees are asked to register here: https://texasobesityweek2013.eventbrite.com/
  • Walk Across Texas kickoff week
    • Walk Across Texas! is a FREE, 8 week program designed to help Texans establish the habit of regular physical activity. Brought to you by The Texas AgriLife Extension, click here to learn more.
  • CATCH kickoff week
    • Many Texas schools choose Texas Obesity Awareness Week as the perfect time to kick off their coordinated school health program initiatives for the year. Click here to learn more about CATCH.
  • Healthy at H-E-B Community Challenge, presented by IT’S TIME TEXAS
    • This eight-week competition challenges communities across the state to see which can demonstrate the greatest commitment to healthy living. The Healthy at H-E-B Community Challenge unites and mobilizes schools, businesses, organizations, community members and leaders towards the common goal of transforming their community’s health!  Click here to find healthy activities taking place in your community this week.
  • High Five for Health (H5H) – Pearland, TX *H5H is led by one of the 2013 Rising Star Award finalists!
    • H5H is in the process of creating a Health Club for Dawson High School. It is currently being approved by the principal and administrative staff, but they are aiming for the club to kickoff during Obesity Awareness Week. The Health Club will be able to distribute posters, flyers, and information to the other students. They are also are planning to initiate school participation in the HEB Community Challenge. H5H is also going to help their city with the HEB Community Challenge apart from the Health Club at school. They will be volunteering at various community events that Pearland will be holding for eight weeks starting September 1st.  Click here to visit the H5H Facebook page.
  • WeViva is a non-profit organization that provides accessible and affordable fitness and nutrition programs to people in low-income communities. They conduct Zumba, Yoga, Strength Training and Nutrition classes every day at 14 different locations around Austin.  All classes are totally free and open to the public! Check out this week’s schedule below, and learn more at WeViva.org
    • WeViva free fitness programs, Monday (9/9) – Austin, TX
      • ZUMBA: Our Lady of Guadalupe Church: 6:15-7:15pm; Southwest Key: 6:45-7:45pm; Trails at the Park Apartments: 6:30-7:30pm; Trails at Vintage Creek Apartments: 6:30-7:30pm
      • STRENGTH TRAINING (geared toward Seniors): North Loop Apartments: 1:30-2:30pm
    • WeViva free fitness programs, Tuesday (9/10) – Austin, TX
      • YOGA: Sierra Ridge Apartments: 6:30-7:30pm
      • STRENGTH TRAINING (geared toward Seniors): North Loop Apartments: 1:00-2:00pm
    • WeViva free fitness programs, Wednesday (9/11) – Austin, TX
      • ZUMBA: Daffodil Apartments: 6:30-7:30pm; Southwest Key: 5:30-6:30pm; Our Lady of Guadalupe: 6:15-7:15pm
      • STRENGTH TRAINING (geared toward Seniors): Sierra Ridge Apartments: 6:30-7:30pm
      • YOGA: Trails at Vintage Creek: 6:30-7:30pm
    • WeViva free fitness programs, Thursday (9/12) – Austin, TX
      • ZUMBA: Sierra Ridge Apartments: 6:30-7:30pm; Trails at the Park Apartments: 6:30-7:30pm
    • WeViva free fitness programs, Friday (9/13) – Austin, TX
      • ZUMBA: Southwest Key: 6:00-7:00pm
      • STRENGTH TRAINING (geared toward Seniors): North Loop Apartments: 1:00-2:00pm

2013 Texas Obesity Awareness Week Partner Organizations

TOAW Partners 20131 | Texas Obesity Awareness Week


*These links are presented only as sources of information. The partnered organizations that created this resource guide in no way endorse any persons or organizations on this list.

Online Resources

Key Resources
Organizations, Initiatives and Organizing Tools
Physical Activity
Built Environment
Walking or Biking
Healthy Living Tips

Key Resources

•   The brainchild of ACTIVE Life, IT’S TIME TEXAS is a first-of-its-kind initiative designed to build on existing obesity prevention and health promotion efforts by igniting a grassroots health revolution focused on making healthy the norm.

Obesity Statistics in the US and Texas (PDF)
•    Fact sheet with the latest statistics on obesity in the United States and in Texas.

Texas Obesity Awareness Week Community Guide (PDF)
•    A simple guide with suggestions of ways to incorporate physical activity and healthy eating into your community, school, and workplace.

Reshaping Texas website
•    The 82nd Texas Legislature tasked the Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts to build this web portal — a comprehensive, statewide collection of resources and information to help Texans address the economic effects of obesity.

The Weight of the Nation
•    The centerpiece of this campaign is a four-part HBO documentary series on obesity in the United States.  This website contains a wealth of obesity-related resources, information, tools, and of course, the fully downloadable documentary films.

Organizations, Initiatives, and Organizing Tools

Action for Healthy Kids
•    Addresses childhood undernourishment, obesity and prevention by working with schools to help kids learn to eat right and be active every day

•    Provides resources to learn about programs in other areas of the country, and offer guidelines and ideas to so that you can plan, establish and measure initiatives in your area.

•    Non-profit that supports and seeks to gain support for their movement to make healthy the norm in Texas and across the country.  Provides resources for schools, youth and workplace.

Growing Community Video Series
•    6 part video series created to educate and inspire communities into action against obesity in Texas

Healthy, Texas
•    Resources to build your plan to help improve the health of your community, school or work site.  Access to information about obesity and overweight facts in Texas

IOM Accelerating Progress in Obesity Prevention
•    In this 2012 report, the IOM evaluated prior strategies and identified recommendations to accelerate progress in obesity prevention.

IOM Community Perspectives on Obesity Prevention in Children
•    Summary of workshop on Community Perspectives on Obesity Prevention in Children.  Discussion of interventions and policy to address childhood obesity

Leadership for Healthy Communities (PDF file)
•    Policy brief from 2009: Supporting Healthy Communities Through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009.

Let’s Move!
•    First Lady Michelle Obama’s initiative for healthy living.  Giving parents helpful information and fostering environments that support healthy choices.

Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living
•    MSD Center spotlight page for all obesity-related projects, people, publications, resources, and news.

Partnership for a Healthy Texas

•    Coalition of 22 organizations that develop and promote legislative policies and programs that prevent obesity in Texas.

Salud America!

•    The RWJF Research Network to Prevent Obesity Among Latino Children is a national network of researchers, community leaders, policymakers, and other stakeholders who are working together to increase the number of Latino scientists seeking environmental and policy solutions to address Latino childhood obesity.

Shaping Policy for Health

•    Competency-based training program by Directors of Health Promotion and Education.  This training curriculum was developed recognizing that health problems are influenced by policies and environments that either sustain healthy behaviors or fail to support them.

Texas Department of State Health Services, Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention Program
•    The Texas Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity Prevention (NPAOP) Program serves as a leader using Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended strategies and Healthy People 2020 guidance to encourage implementing evidence-based strategies and interventions.

US Department of Health & Human Services – We Can!
•    We Can! = Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition.  Gives parents, caregivers, and entire communities a way to help children 8 to 13 years old stay at a healthy weight.

Voices for Healthy Kids
•    Voices for Healthy Kids is a new collaboration between the American Heart Association and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation working to engage, organize and mobilize people to improve the health of their communities and reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.

•    WeViva is a non-profit organization that provides accessible and affordable fitness and nutrition programs to people in low-income communities. They conduct Zumba, Yoga, Strength Training and Nutrition classes every day at 14 different locations around Austin.

Physical Activity

CDC’s Division of Adolescent and School Health – Addressing Physical Activity
•    Information about Physical Activity and the CDC’s efforts to address youth fitness.

CDC Healthier Worksite Initiative
•    Information on how to become a healthier worksite.

HHS Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans

•    2008 Federal Government guidelines for physical activity.  Tips, tests, quizzes concerning physical activity.

Nature Rocks and Nature Rocks Austin
•    Resource for planning outdoor family activities.  Information about parks, hiking, outdoor activities, etc.

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
•    Serves as a catalyst to promote healthy lifestyles through fitness, sports and nutrition programs and initiatives that engage Americans across the lifespan.

Walk Across Texas
•    Information on the 8 week walking program in Texas communities.


•    CATCH curriculum information and tips.

Cereal F.A.C.T.S.
•    Research on food marketing campaigns aimed at kids.

Center for Science in the Public Interest
•    CSPI has long sought to educate the public, advocate government policies that are consistent with scientific evidence on health and environmental issues, and counter industry’s powerful influence on public opinion and public policies.

IOM Report – Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the United States
•    Research, findings, and action steps from the Committee on Strategies to Reduce Sodium Intake in the US.

Junior Master Gardener 4-H Youth Gardening Program
•    Information on becoming a gardener for kids and creating local groups.

•    Information on dietary guidelines as recommended by the USDA.

Rudd Center for Food Policy and Obesity 
•    Non-profit research and public policy organization devoted to improving the world’s diet, preventing obesity, and reducing weight stigma.

School Gardening Project
•    Their vision is to make available free educational plant-based materials, grants, and resources that speak to young minds, educators, youth and community organizations, and the general gardening public in five core areas; education, health and wellness, environmental stewardship, community development, and home gardening.

Square Meals
•    Texas Department of Agriculture Program; explanation of all nutrition assistance programs offered by the state.

Sustainable Food Center
•    From seed to table, SFC creates opportunities for individuals to make healthy food choices and to participate in a vibrant local food system.

USDA Dietary Guidelines for Americans
•    Workshops on following and implementing the guidelines for a variety of audiences.

Built Environment

Active Living by Design

•    Grant program that creates community-led change by working with local and national partners to build a culture of active living and healthy eating based on the built environment.

Safe Routes to School Improves the Built Environment
 (PDF file)
•    CDC report on encouraging biking and walking to school and improving the built environment to foster safe routes.

Prevention Institute – The Built Environment and Health
•    Highlights neighborhood-level changes to the built environment that can have a positive influence on the health of community residents, especially in low-income communities.  Eleven profiles of neighborhood transformation.

Center for the Built Environment

•    Seek to improve the environmental quality and energy efficiency of buildings by providing timely, unbiased information on building technologies and design and operation techniques.  Resources on green buildings and construction.

Solar Decathlon

•    Yearly competition of college students around the country to design, build, and operate solar-powered houses that are cost-effective, energy-efficient, and attractive
•    Sponsored by the Department of Energy

The Built Environment and Health

•    BEH uses spatial data to examine the impact of the built environment, including land use, public transit, and housing on physical activity, diet, obesity, and other aspects of health. The group has investigators from public health, social science, and urban planning.

CDC Designing and Building Healthy Places
•    CDC initiative that links public health with public spaces.

Walking or Biking

CDC Kids Walk-to-School
•    CDC resources for fostering walking to school.

National Center for Safe Routes to School
•    Programs are sustained efforts by parents, schools, community leaders and local, state, and federal governments to improve the health and well-being of children by enabling and encouraging them to walk and bicycle to school.

National Complete Streets Coalition
•    Seeks to fundamentally transform the look, feel, and function of the roads and streets in our community, by changing the way most roads are planned, designed, and constructed.

Safe Route to School Texas
•    Program creates practical projects to make school routes safer for children to walk and bicycle, such as sidewalks, crosswalks and bicycle facilities. Community leaders, parents and schools also use education programs to help children travel.  Information on the program and how to apply.

Texas Bicycle Coalition – Bike Texas
•    Bike maps and other resources for many Texas areas.

US Department of Transportation: Integrating Bicycling and Walking into Transportation Infrastructure
•    Policy statement adopted by the United States Department of Transportation for integrating bicycling and walking into the transportation mainstream.

Healthy Living Tips

American Cancer Society’s “Choose You”

•    Variety of resources to help start and sustain a healthy lifestyle.

Building Healthy Families: Step by Step
•    6 part video series to help families create healthy home food environments.

Dinner Tonight

•    Instructional cooking videos and recipes.

Health Hints: Maximizing Your Exercise Payoffs (PDF file)
•    Tips for exercise and explanation of physical activity benefits.

HEB-Eat Better

•    Healthy meal ideas, snacks, and products, and exercise tips.

Reading Nutrition Facts Labels

•    Easy to understand explanation of nutrition labels.

Sample Walking Program (PDF file)
•    Tips for creating your own personal walking regimen.

Still Tasty

•    Food safety information.  Tips on how to pick fruits and vegetables and food preparation/storage.

Texas Farmers Markets Association
•    Provides list of Texas Farmers Markets by area, their hours and payment options.

Past Events

5th Annual Award Ceremony

2012 Texas Health Champion:
Kay Morris
Founder and Former Executive Director, Marathon Kids

Keynote Speaker:
Margo Wootan, D.Sc.
Director of Nutrition Policy, Center for Science in the Public Interest

4th Annual Award Ceremony

2011 Texas Health Champions:
Barbara Storz, MS
Extension educator for horticulture with Texas AgriLife Extension Service, part of Texas A&M University system

Sustainable Food Center
With a broad vision of ensuring that all adults can grow, share, and prepare healthy, local food, Sustainable Food Center goes beyond the nutrition facts label to cultivate healthy community from farm to fork.

3rd Annual Award Ceremony

2010 Texas Health Champion:
Dr. Richard Middleton
Former Superintendent of Schools, North East Independent School District

T-COPPE Presentation: Dr. Marcia Ory and Dr. Deanna Hoelscher
Active Texas 2020 Presentation: Donna Nichols and Dr. Bill Kohl
Partnership for a Healthy Texas Legislative Priorities: Carrie Kroll

2nd Annual Award Ceremony

2009 Texas Health Champions:
Partnership for a Healthy Texas
The Partnership was formed in 2006 with the mission of promoting obesity prevention and reduction policies in Texas.

Texas Health Institute
Texas Health Institute provides leadership in development of health care solutions to shape the Texas health care landscape.

Keynote Speaker:
William “Bill” Klish, MD
Professor of Pediatrics at Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, TX

1st Annual Texas Obesity Awareness Week Lecture Series

Keynote Speaker & Leadership Award in Obesity Prevention:
Susan Combs
Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts

2008 Texas Health Champions:
The Honorable Robert Nichols
Texas Senate

The Honorable Patrick Rose
Texas House of Representatives

The Honorable Susan King
Texas House of Representatives

Outstanding Leadership in Public Health Award:
The Honorable Jane Nelson
Texas Senate

Kenneth Shine, MD
Executive Vice Chancellor for Health Affairs, The University of Texas System

Contact Us

Questions regarding Texas Obesity Awareness Week or the Texas Health Champion Award can be directed to Amy Blum with the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living.

Amy Blum
Special Programs Coordinator
(512) 391-2517

Media inquiries can be directed to Brooks Ballard with the Michael & Susan Dell Center for Healthy Living.

Brooks S. Ballard, MPH
Communications Specialist
(512) 391-2517