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“Because of the increasing rates of obesity, unhealthy eating habits, and physical inactivity, we may see the first generation that will have a shorter life expectancy than their parents.”

U.S. Surgeon General,
Richard Carmona,
March 2004


Yvonne Sanders-Butler, ED, Ph.D.

2009 Summit video presentation

Principal, Browns Mill Elementary

Healthy Kids Smart Kids was created from Dr. Yvonne Sanders-Butler's own personal experience. It was amplified by a wake up call one morning in 1996 as she was rushed to the hospital at 1:00 a.m. only to learn that she was on the verge of a massive stroke.

She joined a support group and began to learn healthy eating and physical fitness. Empowered with this powerful information, she focused her research on facts not fads.

Yvonne Sanders-Butler made several lifestyle changes, including eating well-balanced meals that consisted of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean poultry and following a routine exercise regimen that helped her to regain her health. After several years of removing favorite desserts from her diet, she decided to use natural ingredients in her family's traditional recipes that provided the same quality of taste, but healthier. She made improving the health of "her" students and their families a top priority and established a Sugar Free Zone Wellness Program, the only one of its kind in the country. The results were higher test scores, fewer disciplinary referrals, and fewer weight problems among students. To share her success with families throughout the country and help them to better support their children at school and at home, she wrote "Healthy Kids, Smart Kids."

Healthy Kids Smart Kids results are making the difference in schools…
  • Disciplinary referrals drop 28%
  • Counseling referrals drop 23%
  • Higher test scores in homes….
  • “I have more energy…” – Carmen, 2nd grade
  • “…my daughter loves the program” – parent
  • “I hope it change other people’s lives too. - Antonio, 3rd grade

With the release of her book, overweight students slimmed down and became more active The Principal-Created, Parent-Tested, Kid-Approved Nutrition Plan for Sound Bodies and Strong Minds. This book is a common sense guide to help you make the best choices for your family. It is basic nutrition advice that parents can use everyday. This one of a kind book hit book stores September 2005.

Dr. Butler became the principal of Browns Mill Elementary and Magnet School in 1998. The school serves children from mostly middle-class families and is devoted to the arts and dedicated to high achievement.

Dr. Butler is also the President and Founder of Ennvoy, Inc., a company which provides comprehensive health and wellness intervention, consultation, and support. The company combines sound nutrition and fitness practices, behavioral influence techniques, and project management disciplines to help organizations assess and better manage wellness behavior and environments.


• 10 years later, school still sugar free and proud - CNN.com


Dr. Yvonne Sanders-Butler of Atlanta Honored as 'Healthy Hero'

by the AMERIGROUP Foundation.

Why I am passionate about supporting issues surrounding obesity and food addiction?

Each day I rise, I know I have been given a second chance at life, an opportunity to make a difference in the lives of the youth that I care so deeply about as an educator.

Both obesity and food addiction are very personal for me. I know first hand how painful and dangerous both the diseases can be. All of my childhood and most of my adult life I suffered from food addiction which caused me to become overweight as a child and then later becoming obese as an adult.

It was not until 13 years ago that I was able to admit to being food addict. It was through that admission that I was finally able to deal with the overeating and constant weight gain and as well as constant depression. Through education, support and research I have continued to stay sober and stay at a normal weight with dieting.

I know that the implementation of the Healthy Kids, Smart Kids program I developed ten years ago has not only created a healthier culture in which good nutrition and fitness is a priority at school and home, but it has also helped my students to improve their behavior as well as garner higher test scores. I believe we can use these programs to help to eradicate childhood obesity.

Other documented results from the Healthy Kids, Smart Kids Program:
  • Improves student nutrition, fitness and self esteem
  • Improves behavior and discipline
  • Increases academic performance
  • Enhances school and community relations
  • I believe we need a strong federal mandate, along with the funding to eliminate some of the barriers schools encounter. Right now funding is fragmented and it also lacks a common enforceable focus. For example, policies are in place but the lack of performance standards and requirements makes them unenforceable. There is also lack of training for school staff.

    By developing these basic federal support systems and programs, we could help reduce many of the medical issues/problems facing our country both in children and adults.

    I believe there are other emerging and best practice models like Healthy Kids, Smart Kids which is being replicated in the Creekside/Westlake Cluster, comprised of 17 other Georgia schools which are showing great success as it relates to students.