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Academic Network

Shaping America's Youth Initiative

Shaping America’s Youth (SAY) is a nationwide public and private initiative created to identify and centralize information on what is being done across American society to reverse the rapidly increasing prevalence of overweight and inactivity among children and adolescents. SAY was developed, owned and managed by Academic Network. It is supported by Nike, McNeil Nutritionals (a Johnson & Johnson company), and Campbell Soup Company, with the involvement of the Office of the US Surgeon General, and in partnership with the American Academy of Pediatrics, American Diabetes Association, and the University of California at Davis Nutrition Department.

To define the scope of the nation’s effort addressing overweight in young people, Academic Network designed and has managed a nationwide, online, cross-sector survey to obtain detailed information from organizations and programs working in this area. More than 1100 organizations that sponsor and/or conduct programs addressing physical activity and /or nutrition in children have been surveyed to date, including government agencies, health and education organizations, professional societies, philanthropies, community organizations, and private companies. The survey database served as one component of a national dialogue fostered through community, regional, and national meetings, with the engagement of committed individuals, organizations, and agencies. Academic Network coordinated the dissemination of SAY data and activities related to their effective implementation.

A key feature of the SAY website is the searchable Program Registry, which contains detailed information on the individual intervention programs across the US that completed the survey and requested that their information be included. In addition, the site serves as a centralized resource for up-to-date information on news, meetings, funding opportunities, and publications related to childhood obesity. Academic Network has established a variety of means to capture this information and maintains the dynamic content of the site.