Speaker to Address Childhood Obesity at Swanston Event

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio  – A keynote address by a state health leader in the fight against childhood obesity and a panel discussion among local officials will highlight the William Swanston Charitable Fund’s 2015 Innovations Conference, scheduled for Thursday, Nov. 5.

Dr. Emia Oppenheim, coordinator of the Ohio Department of Health’s Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Program, will be the keynote speaker with a presentation titled, “Preventing Childhood Obesity in Ohio – Early Intervention is Key.”

The conference is scheduled for 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Mill Creek MetroParks Davis Education & Visitor Center. Admission is priced at $15. Registration is required and can be done online at the Wean Foundation website or by phone at 330 744 5555. Reservation deadline is Thursday.

The Swanston Charitable Fund, an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley, sponsors the annual conference to present new ideas to those who work with children.

According to the Department of Health, childhood obesity results in an extra $19,000 in medical expenses per child over a lifetime. If Ohio could reduce obesity for even 10 percent of the state’s youngest children, it could realize $169 million in economic benefit, the department says.

Evidence shows that intervening early, before the child reaches age 5, establishes habits that promote health and reduce medical costs later in life.

The Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Program implements scientifically based approaches to promote healthy eating and active living habits during a child’s formative years. The program encourages parents, families, education professionals, medical practitioners and community organizations to work together with consistent messages and strategies that ensure a sound foundation for the future.

Dr. Oppenheim has been the program’s coordinator since 2013. She holds a doctorate from

​ ​Cornell University in nutritional biochemistry and a masters in immunology. She has worked in research, education and private practice and is a registered, licensed dietician.
The Innovations conference will also include a panel discussion about local health agencies’ work against childhood obesity and how those efforts connect and tie into the statewide initiatives.

The presenters will be Patricia Sweeney, health commissioner for the Mahoning County Board of Health; Erin Bishop, health commissioner for the Youngstown Health Department; Robert Pinti, deputy health commissioner at the Warren Board of Health; and Frank Migliozzi, commissioner with the Trumbull County Board of Health.

They will also review the resources and opportunities available through their departments.

Also scheduled for the conference are three workshops:

Ian Beniston, executive director, and Tom Hetrick, neighborhood planner, both of the Youngstown Neighborhood Development Corp., will present “Create Lasting Change: Developing Solutions That Produce Long-Term and Sustainable Improvements in the Community.” They will discuss how tactics that address new public policies, change organizational systems and shape the physical environment can effectively improve the community more than those that focus only on individual behaviors.

Dr. Rob Fischer, associate professor and co-director of the Mandel School of Applied Social Sciences at Case Western Reserve University, will present, “Evaluation Design in Nonprofit Settings.” He will discuss practical tips for measuring outcomes.

Maureen Pisanick, chief nutrition officer for Pisanick Partners, a consulting firm in Brecksville, will discuss, “How to Reach Generation Z: Marketing Techniques That Work.” She will cover ways to make nutritional food options more appealing to children and strategies for improving menus.

The William Swanston Charitable Fund seeks to help improve the lives of children in Mahoning and Trumbull counties. It provides grants each year that support early childhood education, anti-obesity measures, after-school programs, parent-involvement seminars, anti-bullying initiatives and many other efforts in support of local children. The fund is an affiliate of the Community Foundation of the Mahoning Valley.

Pictured: Dr. Emia Oppenheim, coordinator of the Ohio Department of Health’s Early Childhood Obesity Prevention Program, will be the featured speaker at the event.

Copyright 2022 The Business Journal, Youngstown, Ohio.