Girl Scouts and Congresswoman Mary Bono Join Forces to Support Children's Health

Hundreds of Girl Scouts Visit Capitol Hill to Urge Congress to Support the IMPACT Act


Girl Scout NicoleGirl Scout Nicole, 12, of Washington, D.C., introduces Congresswoman Mary Bono at the June 13 press conference.June 13, 2007

CRT/tanaka - Lisa Harris, (646) 218-6022
CRT/tanaka - Elizabeth King, (203) 733-5126
Rep. Mary Bono - Jason Vasquez, (202) 226-5365

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Girl Scouts of the USA (GSUSA) and Congresswoman Mary Bono (CA-45) joined forces today on the issue of children's health by urging Congress to support the Improved Nutrition and Physical Activity Act (IMPACT Act), H.R. 2677. The bill, which was introduced today by Bono and Congresswomen Nita M. Lowey (NY-18), Kay Granger (TX-12) and Congressman Jim Ramstad (MN-3), encourages cross-sector collaborations for improving the health of young people and ensures that community partnerships approach youth health comprehensively by addressing physical activity, nutrition and emotional wellness.

Congresswoman Mary Bono and Girl Scouts "This bill takes the critical step necessary to support health services that address the looming crisis of eating disorders and obesity, especially among America's youth," said Bono. "This legislation will provide the tools necessary to support partnerships between our academic institutions and organizations that are working to promote the dangers of obesity and eating disorders. Our inability to address the poor health of our citizens will escalate the continued trend in rising health care costs."

More than 700 young and adult Girl Scout representatives met with legislators today on Capitol Hill to advance the issue of healthy living among girls as part of GSUSA's Congressional Advocacy Day. Today's meetings encouraged support for the IMPACT Act. Congressional Advocacy Day is part of a six-day celebration in Washington, D.C., honoring GSUSA's 95th anniversary as the premier leadership development program for girls. The celebration began on Saturday with a Sing-Along for more than 120,000 Girl Scouts on the National Mall and culminates tomorrow at a meeting for Girl Scout council representatives from around the country.

Photo of Juliette Gordon Low posing with some of the nation's first Girl Scouts. © GSUSA. All rights reserved.Congresswoman Mary Bono and Girl Scouts"We applaud Congresswomen Bono and Lowey for their commitment to the issue of children's health," said Kathy Cloninger, CEO of GSUSA. "Girls are telling us to help them lead healthy lives, and we believe all sectors must be involved in creating solutions."

"We have the power to set kids on a path of healthy living for life," Lowey said.  "While individuals bear responsibility for what they eat and how much they exercise, I strongly believe that parents, health professionals, educators, the food industry, and policy makers all have a responsibility to promote healthy living and eating habits."

Based on findings from the Girl Scout Research Institute and its long-standing commitment to girls, GSUSA has identified two key principles on healthy living:  1) policy solutions should embrace a holistic definition of health rather than focusing on a single aspect of children’s health; and 2) community-based organizations that serve youth, including the Girl Scouts, should be seen as vital partners in developing solutions that serve youth because schools cannot address this issue alone. Girl Scouts of the USA currently offers more than 60 badges related to healthy living and has supported physical activity for girls since 1913, when Girl Scout founder Juliette Gordon Low offered badges in swimming, cycling and horsemanship.   

Photo of Juliette Gordon Low posing with some of the nation's first Girl Scouts. © GSUSA. All rights reserved.Laurie Westley, Senior Vice President for Public Policy, Advocacy and the Research Institute, Girl Scouts of the USA, and Girl Scouts.About Girl Scouts

Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership development organization for girls with 3.6 million girl and adult members worldwide. Girl Scouting is the leading authority on girls’ healthy development, and builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place. The organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts, call (800) GSUSA 4 U [(800) 478-7248] or visit www.girlscouts.org.