Partner Profile – Erin Bennett

Each month, we Take 5 with one of our partners who are on the journey with us for a healthier Idaho, healthier future. This month: Erin Bennett, government relations director, American Heart Association

1. What is your go-to healthy snack or meal?

My snack on hand is usually an apple with a little peanut butter (or cheese, depending on the day). In fact, that’s usually my snack, meal, breakfast, dessert, everything. Life staple.

2. What are your favorite forms of exercise?

I’m a swimmer and play water polo. In the winter, I’m a big fan of snowshoeing. I run and lift weights almost every day.

3. Where is your favorite place to be active in your community?

I’m a big fan of all the tennis courts we have in so many of our city parks. In spring and summer, I usually meet friends for a fun tennis match at Camel’s Back Park after work, then head to Hyde Park to cool down after.

4. Can you tell us something about your organization that people don’t know but should?

We are engaged statewide and focus on so much more than just heart health. Our advocacy work has shifted to look at the many different parts of a community that help create and support healthy kids growing into healthy adults. We look at things like transportation, economic development, agriculture, etc., and how decision making in those areas impacts health. We can engage with all stakeholders and decision makers to build health into all community actions. 

5. What is on your wish list for promoting children to be active and healthy eaters?

There are so many things we would like to see happen to improve children’s health. Communities that have funding and development should support Safe Routes and Complete Streets projects so more kids and families can get out and be active and still be safe. It would help to have more consistent policies across all school districts that support physical education and healthy school breakfasts and lunches, while eliminating junk food marketing from schools. It would be great to support school gardens that can bring fresh fruit and vegetables into the school and help kids learn about where their food comes from. Have kids assist in preparation of food because it encourages them to eat healthy foods everywhere. Anything that we can do to get kids directly involved is useful to improving their health and building healthier communities.