LiveWell Colorado is proud to announce that we are a finalist in The Social Impact Exchange 2011 Business Plan Competition to expand our Go, Slow, Whoa program from eight Colorado schools to 258.  LiveWell Colorado’s CFO Mary Ellen Williams will present the plan at the 2011 Annual Conference on Scaling, June 15 in New York City.

The Social Impact Exchange is a community of funders, practitioners, advisors, wealth managers, intermediaries and researchers interested in developing practices for studying, implementing and funding large-scale expansions of top-performing nonprofit organizations. If chosen as one of two winners, LiveWell Colorado will receive financial and consulting awards to support the Go, Slow, Whoa expansion.

This competition allows us the opportunity to showcase a successful childhood Colorado obesity prevention program at the national level. Our Go, Slow, Whoabusiness plan demonstrates how we have aligned business practices with nonprofit management to create sustainable, scalable programs.

A Scalable Solution to Childhood Obesity

Go, Slow, Whoa is an obesity prevention program developed by the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute to help kids identify healthy foods.  The program, implemented in partnership with Aurora Public Schools (APS) and KMGH-TV – Azteca América Colorado, teaches students that Go foods, or more nutrient dense foods, should be consumed more often than Slow or Whoa foods that have added fat and sugar and should be eaten less often and in smaller quantities.

The program launched in 2009 as a pilot in one APS elementary school and expanded to eight APS elementary schools in 2010 after results showed promising attitude and behavior changes in healthy eating. If LiveWell Colorado wins the award, plans are to scale the program to three additional school districts and increase the reach of the program to 258 schools and over 110,000 Colorado elementary school students by the end of 2014.

Transforming School Environments

Since its launch, the Go, Slow, Whoa program has boosted student recognition of and improved attitude toward healthy food choices. It has also increased the amount of Go food selections in participating schools’ meals. In addition, the initiative has transformed school environments in participating schools – integrating program elements into curriculum, involving physical education teachers, providing training opportunities for school cafeteria staff, and facilitating ties to national USDA school programs.

Go, Slow, Whoa has proven to have a short-term impact on students’ food choices and we anticipate that it will have a long-term impact on childhood obesity. LiveWell Colorado aims to grow this program into a high impact statewide initiative that can be duplicated in other states and at the national level.