A national organization that promotes afterschool programs has recognized Gwinnett County and Live Healthy Gwinnett for addressing health and wellness issues for youth outside of school hours.

The National AfterSchool Association selected Gwinnett County and Live Healthy Gwinnett among its 2017 Most Influential in Health & Wellness recipients. Each year, the NAA commends individuals and organizations whose service, action and leadership align with the NAA Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards and affect large numbers of youth, families or afterschool professionals.

“The National AfterSchool Association believes that out-of-school time hours offer a great opportunity to impact the health of today’s youth and their families,” said Gina Warner, President and CEO of NAA. “Promoting healthy eating and physical activity can lead to lifelong physical and mental health and prevent disease.”

NAA last month also recognized Community Services Director Tina Fleming as one of its 2017 Most Influential in Health & Wellness recipients.

“I believe a single organization cannot effect change in afterschool health and wellness, but a network of invested community partners committed to transforming the face of today’s youth will ultimately achieve greater impact for healthy lifestyles,” said Fleming. “Gwinnett County, Live Healthy Gwinnett, and I are committed to improving the health of our young people and the population in general.”

Fleming is a founding partner of Live Healthy Gwinnett, part of a network to implement year-round programs, events and initiatives for youth and adults. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Strong4Life helped develop Live Healthy Gwinnett’s health and wellness standards. The program involves staff training, evidence-based nutrition education, the use of undergraduate and graduate student interns, and incorporating outside organizations.

Launched in 2014, Live Healthy Gwinnett promotes wellness by encouraging residents to make smart lifestyle choices, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, increasing physical activity and reducing stress. The program emphasizes four steps: Be Active, Eat Healthy, Get Checked and Be Positive.

Live Healthy Gwinnett has partnered with the Gwinnett Parks Foundation to establish a Health and Wellness Scholarship fund to provide free swimming lessons to at-risk youth attending summer camps at County facilities.

Other partners include UGA Extension Gwinnett, Girl Scouts of Greater of Atlanta, American Red Cross, Gwinnett County Public Library and Gwinnett United in Drug Education Inc. as well as other County departments.

An estimated 10.2 million children participate in afterschool programs each year and the industry employs an estimated 850,000. The National AfterSchool Association is the membership association for professionals who work with children and youth in diverse school and community-based settings to provide a wide variety of extended learning opportunities and care during out-of-school hours.