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Support for Healthy Living in Sunnyvale


All youths in Sunnyvale and their families will have reinforcement from a huge collaborative effort whose mission is to make active living and healthy eating available and accessible in Sunnyvale. Palo Alto Medical Foundation (PAMF) and El Camino Hospital support a shared group, Collaborative Addressing Childhood Obesity in Sunnyvale, with a mission to prevent and reduce childhood obesity through community collaboration. The effort launched in April 2012. The idea to initiate and facilitate a dialog among community partners came from Sally Twesten, PAMF Health Education Manager, and Jeremy Loader, PAMF Health Education Program Specialist. Jeremy has been the lead for the collaborative while Sally is a co-founder of the group. Instrumental to the launch of the collaborative was the support from PAMF President: Dr. Liz Vilardo, Sunnyvale Vice Mayor at the time, David Whittum and Dr. Nick Sikic, who was with Valley Medical’s Pediatric Healthy Lifestyle Center in 2012 (currently at Santa Clara Valley Medical Center’s Pediatric Healthy Lifestyle Center). Dr. Sikic and his support for the collaborative has been truly amazing.

After two years of this dedicated group of collaborating agencies and individuals meeting regularly to share and discuss ways of helping Sunnyvale residents live more physically active and healthier lives, the group re-examined their goals, scope of their work and resources and decided to switch from a relatively narrow focus of combating obesity to a broader and more holistic objective of supporting healthier living in Sunnyvale. Nancy Newkirk, Sunnyvale School District board member, has been involved in this project since the initial launch, and has spearheaded the latest re-focusing effort. The collaborative group will now be known as Sunnyvale Collaborative for Healthier Youth and its mission will be Making Active Living and Healthy Eating Accessible through Community Partnership. Working together on this mission will be all the local health care groups, City of Sunnyvale, Sunnyvale School District, Safe Routes to School, and many others.

Nancy Newkirk facilitating a discussion of the collaborative group at the March 27, 2014, re-evaluating the group's mission and exploring ideas for a new name.
Nancy Newkirk facilitating a discussion of the collaborative group at the March 27, 2014, re-evaluating the group’s mission and exploring ideas for a new name.

Collaborative partners are moving forward with consistent messaging. Members of this collaborative agree that the 5-2-1-0 guideline (a daily healthy living goal of: 5 servings of fruit/vegetables, 2 or fewer hours of screen time, 1 hour of physical exercise, and zero sugary drinks) is an appropriate and easy to remember message. Each of the health care groups (PAMF, El Camino Hospital, Kaiser and Valley Medical) will be using the same message that Sunnyvale’s elementary school students are learning about with the PAMF/ECH 5210 Healthy Heroes school program. The year, the collaborative will be seeking to reach out to increase participation from community members, especially PTA/PTOs and Sunnyvale’s faith based groups.

The next meeting of the Sunnyvale Collaborative for Healthier Youth will be on October 23rd, Santa Clara Public Health will be hosting at the Valley Medical Center’s Fair Oaks site. Public Health will be sharing a local community assessment that was recently conducted. The meeting will be 8:30 to 10 AM. Interested parents are invited to attend. Please RSVP at

Contributor: Jeremy Loader, PAMF Health Education Program Specialist, Nina Wong-Dobkin

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