Helping Chambers of Commerce Engage the Business Community in Wellness Issues Including Childhood Obesity Prevention

Dates of Project: From February 1, 2014 to August 31, 2014

Description: The Education Attainment Division (EAD) of the Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives (ACCE), which focuses on cradle-to-career education and workforce development initiatives, was launched in 2012 through a partnership between ACCE and the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce.

Recognizing that early childhood education and wellness, including childhood obesity, affects the current and future workforce, the EAD realized that growing the business community’s engagement in this area was central to their overall mission of improving cradle-to-career education and workforce development outcomes.

The EAD staff spent seven months developing a plan to engage the business community in wellness issues and share relevant information on this topic with ACCE members. Their main goals were to understand the interest within their membership around the topic of wellness, test what messaging would resonate with the business community, and identify business leaders who would be champions of this issue and key partners in the implementation of wellness strategies.

Key Results

  • Results of a member survey showed a high level of interest among ACCE members in the workforce impact of employee health and childhood obesity.

  • Division staff launched the new “Workforce Wellness and Community Health” Web page on ACCE’s website in May 2014.

  • The division hosted a webinar on May 28, 2014 entitled, “Healthy Employees, Healthy Communities, Healthy Economy,” to explore why early childhood education and wellness—including childhood obesity prevention—should interest chambers of commerce.

  • Division staff wrote three business-focused two-page communications briefs that explain how wellness issues, including childhood obesity, impact the economy and affect quality of life around the country.

  • As a result of their communications efforts, division staff noted increased interest from chambers about engaging local business communities in wellness efforts to decrease the negative economic impacts associated with issues such as childhood obesity.

“There is an interest in this area of work and an already pretty activated network of chamber and business champions that we’ve discovered.” Jessie Azrilian, MPP, Association of Chamber of Commerce Executives.

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Preventing childhood obesity is about more than health and wellness. It's about boosting the bottom line.