The article is part of our series of blog posts featuring each of the individuals and/or organizations selected for the National AfterSchool Association’s Most Influential in Health and Wellness for afterschool. The Walking Classroom proudly sponsored the competition because of our strong belief in the value of afterschool programs and the importance of promoting healthier lifestyles for all kids.
Our next honoree is:
Jean Wiecha, Ph.D., Senior Scientist, Food, Nutrition and Obesity Policy Research Program
RTI International | Research Triangle Park, North Carolina | rti.org
Dr. Jean Wiecha, a nationally known leader in obesity and chronic disease prevention among youth and families, led the development and dissemination of the National AfterSchool Association Healthy Eating and Physical Activity standards. The standards have been adopted by major national youth-serving organizations reaching more than 13 million U.S. children and youth.
Wiecha is a Senior Scientist at RTI International and is an expert in school-based youth health promotion strategies, physical activity and nutrition science, and intervention design and evaluation. She serves as an evaluator and advisor to the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, which works nationally to reduce childhood obesity. She also co-founded the Healthy Out-of-School Time Coalition, which brings together service, policy and research professionals.
RTI researchers provide independent research capabilities to help agencies and organizations achieve their missions and address analytical challenges. We study programs and policies affecting vulnerable populations and limited-resource households around the world. Our interdisciplinary staff of economists, program evaluators, nutritionists, behavioral scientists, policy analysts, statisticians, and survey researchers conduct research for federal and state agencies and private organizations. Recent clients include United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S. Agency for International Development, Alliance for a Healthier Generation, and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation.
Selections were made by NAA based on strong advocacy for and support of health and wellness in afterschool. Those selected represent individuals and organizations whose service, action, and leadership align with and support the NAA Healthy Eating and Physical Activity (HEPA) Standards and affect large numbers of youth, families, or afterschool professionals.