PUBLICATIONS & TOOLS
- McKinnon RA, Orleans CT, Kumanyika SK, Haire-Joshu D, Krebs-Smith SM, Finkelstein EA, Brownell K, Thompson JW, Ballard-Barbash R. Considerations for an Obesity Policy Research Agenda, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, April 2009.
CHILDHOOD OBESITY RESEARCH & NEWS
- Obesity Rates Steady Among American Children
- Seven Steps To Help Kids Slim Down
- Students Craft Their Own Cafeteria Offerings
- U.S. Program Aims To Help Babies Beat Obesity Odds
- North Carolina School Posts Calorie Information On Digital Cafeteria Menu Boards
- Unique Intergenerational Approach Battling Childhood Obesity
Building A Collaboration To Address Childhood Obesity
April 6, 2009, NCCOR
The scope and urgency of the childhood obesity epidemic requires comprehensive efforts to increase both healthy eating and physical activity. The new National Collaborative on Childhood Obesity Research (NCCOR) brings together the expertise and resources of three of the country’s leading research funders, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC), National Institutes of Health (NIH) and Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF), to accelerate the nation’s progress in reducing childhood obesity.
Although NCCOR launched publicly in February, the momentum for the Collaborative has been building privately since its first 10-person planning committee meeting a little over a year ago.
“The impetus for developing the Collaborative was the recognition of the need to maximize and expedite our knowledge and evidence for population-based obesity prevention,” said Laura Kettel Khan, a founding NCCOR member and senior scientist within CDC’s Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity and Obesity.
Forming the Collaborative
A year ago, CDC, NIH and RWJF discussed their respective research, practice, and funding priorities in an effort to identify common goals and determine how each organization could benefit and complement the other, and ultimately assist in reversing the epidemic of overweight and obesity among U.S. youth. The planning committee gained support for forming a collaborative from various CDC divisions, NIH centers, and RWJF by stressing that NCCOR would improve the science behind obesity prevention, as well as information sharing.
Grounded by a group of passionate, committed leaders in the field, said Kettel Khan, NCCOR was formed to improve the efficiency, effectiveness and application of childhood obesity research through enhanced coordination and collaboration.
The planning committee engaged a range of leaders to discuss the purpose of NCCOR and what could be achieved by working together.
“Given efforts by each of these three organizations to advance research on obesity, leaders of these organizations were concerned about how we could do more together rather than separately and challenged us to be resourceful and innovative to advance this research and extend its effect,” said Rachel Ballard-Barbash, associate director of the Applied Research Program at the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Control and Population Sciences.
“Our primary purpose in forming NCCOR was to increase our collective impact and leverage each other’s strengths. We’ve learned from our tobacco control collaborative that strategically coordinating our goals, efforts and resources will be essential to reversing the childhood obesity epidemic,” said C. Tracy Orleans, RWJF’s distinguished fellow and senior scientist.
By describing a vision for NCCOR and what it can achieve with collaboration, the planning committee gained the support and commitment from institutional leaders to move forward.
Developing a Common Agenda
NCCOR’s foundations were laid at various working meetings. Through a range of strategic planning activities, they developed the following four priority areas:
1. Develop, compile, test, and promote the consistent use of common measures and methods across childhood obesity prevention and weight control research at the individual, community and population levels.
2. Evaluate new and existing obesity prevention and weight control interventions, with an emphasis on those involving multi-level and/or multi-component approaches, and strengthen the capacity (e.g., knowledge, skills, tools) to implement both interventions and evaluations.
3. Accelerate rigorous evaluation of the effects of promising policy, system, and/or environmental changes—at the community, state, and national levels and across multiple settings (e.g., schools, homes, food and dining outlets, health care settings, and communities)—on children’s diet, physical activity, energy balance and weight status.
4. Accelerate the adoption or application of effective interventions, programs, policy and evaluation and monitoring systems in states, communities and clinical practice.
With these priorities defined, NCCOR members developed the Collaborative’s list of 2009 projects, as well as some of its preliminary goals through 2013. To ensure that project goals are met, NCCOR members with expertise in particular in particular research areas established workgroups, or subgroups, focused on: the creation of a measures registry; the creation of a catalog of surveillance systems; developing an NCCOR Conference Series; promoting strategic communications; and evaluating NCCOR’s progress.
Come learn more about the first activity of NCCOR’s Conference Series – a four-part webinar series on obesity-related policy evaluation that began on Feb. 27 – on NCCOR’s website at www.nccor.org/projects_webinar.html. Learn more about NCCOR’s entire ambitious agenda at www.nccor.org/projects.html.
Applying a Model of Success
Forming a collaborative to bring together knowledge, resources, and funding to achieve greater results is not new to CDC, NIH and RWJF. They, along with the American Legacy Foundation and American Cancer Society, previously formed the Youth Tobacco Cessation Collaborative (YTCC) in 1998 and the National Tobacco Cessation Collaborative (NTCC) in June 2005.
When formed in 1998, there were no identified evidence-based treatments for young smokers. Within 10 years after YTCC funded major research programs, proven cessation treatments for youth are now available and recommended in the U.S. Public Health Service’s Treating Tobacco Use and Dependence: 2008 Update—Clinical Practice Guideline. Similarly, NTCC has had a large impact on the field by identifying strategies to build consumer demand for tobacco cessation products and services. For more information on YTCC and NTCC activities, please visit www.youthtobaccocessation.org, and www.tobacco-cessation.org.
After seeing the success of the tobacco cessation collaboratives, RWJF foresees comparable achievements if able to leverage nutrition/physical activity expertise and other resources across all three partners. Establishing greater transparency and disseminating research findings more rapidly, NCCOR represents a new way of doing the business of obesity prevention and control.
Webinar Series Builds Policy Research Skills
April 6, 2009, NCCOR
Session 2 of a four-part webinar series designed to disseminate approaches for evaluating obesity policies was held on Friday, April 3. It addressed the pitfalls associated with research in real world settings.
The series was developed to disseminate techniques and approaches for evaluating policies intended to reduce obesity prevalence by improving diet and/or increasing physical activity. Rigorous evaluation of these “natural experiments” may be an effective means for the research community to inform policy on the issues of obesity, diet, and activity.
The webinar series is co-sponsored by the National Collaboration on Childhood Obesity Research, a collaboration of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the National Institutes of Health, and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. It is taught by Dr. Kathryn Newcomer, co-director of the Midge Center for Evaluation Effectiveness and Professor of Public Policy and Public Administration at The George Washington University in Washington, DC.
Issues covered in Session 2 included: redundancy and contingency plans before going into the field; addressing data quality assurance in real time; addressing limitation to assessment of validity and reliability; addressing problems of measurement influencing behavior (e.g., response set on surveys, Hawthorne effect and Pygmalion effects on performance, etc.); and how to assess the robustness of measures.
The first session of the webinar series (Feb. 27) successfully explored how to evaluate policy interventions. It was attended live by more than 300 people, although several “single” participants signed on were actually rooms of 10 to 12 participants. People from all over the world, from academia to national and local public health agencies, and other professions participated in Session 1. The heightened interest has encouraged talk for a related journal supplement on the issue. Stay tuned for details.
The 600+ others who registered for the session, as well as those interested in the future can watch the recorded sessions at their leisure. The video and downloadable PDF slides are available at www.nccor.org/projects_webinar.html. Details regarding the rest of the webinar series are listed below.
Webinar 3: Enhancing the Usefulness of Evidence to Inform Practice May 1, 2009, 1-2 p.m. EDT
Webinar 4: Communicating Results Effectively June 12, 2009, 1-2 p.m. EDT
To join the mailing list and receive further information on the webinars, firstname.lastname@example.org.
Publications & Tools
McKinnon RA, Orleans CT, Kumanyika SK, Haire-Joshu D, Krebs-Smith SM, Finkelstein EA, Brownell K, Thompson JW, Ballard-Barbash R. Considerations for an Obesity Policy Research Agenda, American Journal of Preventive Medicine, April 2009.
ABSTRACT: The rise in obesity levels in the U.S. in the past several decades has been dramatic, with serious implications for public health and the economy. Experiences in tobacco control and other public health initiatives have shown that public policy may be a powerful tool to effect structural change to alter population-level behavior. In 2007, the National Cancer Institute convened a meeting to discuss priorities for a research agenda to inform obesity policy. Issues considered were how to define obesity policy research, key challenges and key partners in formulating and implementing an obesity policy research agenda, criteria by which to set research priorities, and specific research needs and questions. Themes that emerged were: (1) the embryonic nature of obesity policy research, (2) the need to study “natural experiments” resulting from policy-based efforts to address the obesity epidemic, (3) the importance of research focused beyond individual-level behavior change, (4) the need for economic research across several relevant policy areas, and (5) the overall urgency of taking action in the policy arena. Moving forward, timely evaluation of natural experiments is of especially high priority. A variety of policies intended to promote healthy weight in children and adults are being implemented in communities and at the state and national levels. Although some of these policies are supported by the findings of intervention research, additional research is needed to evaluate the implementation and quantify the impact of new policies designed to address obesity.
Childhood Obesity Research & News
Obesity Rates Steady Among American Children
March 30, 2009, Voice of America News
By Carolyn Presutti
Lawmakers on Capitol Hill were briefed on obesity in the United States. About two in three American adults are obese or overweight. But the emphasis for legislators was on childhood obesity.
There Is Good and Bad News
It’s bad news and good news for childhood obesity in the United States.
The good news is: childhood obesity has leveled off in the past nine years.
But William Dietz, at the Centers for Disease Control, says it’s still an epidemic. “There’s a total of 31 percent of children and adolescents in the United States at risk for the complications of obesity,” Dietz said.
That equals one in three kids. The CDC found the highest levels among Mexican American boys and African American girls. It says obesity affects medical costs, the economy, and a child’s ability to learn. But the main impact is on health.
“We are on a dangerous course in the United States where our children will no longer outlive our lifetime on earth,” Republican Congresswoman Jean Schmidt said. “But where we may outlive theirs.”
Dietz says diabetes is one consequence of obesity. High school senior Ryan Siegal learned from experience. “I got clinically obese and that led to me being pre-diabetic, and I was taking insulin for it,” Siegal said. “But through sports and medication, I lost the weight.”
Food: Education Versus Availability of Better Choices
Surprisingly, experts don’t think education will make a difference. Instead, they say the availability of good choices is key.
For example, fruits and vegetables are good, not only because they are low in calories, but also because their water content means they are more filling.
But fresh produce is difficult to find, here in the inner city where there are plenty of fast food restaurants, but few grocery stores.
That’s why Gwen Gray buys fast food for her children. “We got Giant and Safeway [supermarkets], but they got so expensive and you got to go a little ways to get to them. If you ain’t got [don’t have] a car, you got to travel by bus or get a ride,” she said.
Jotresa Williams says it’s cost that drives her to fried foods. “It’s very high these days. The grocery store is high,” Williams asserts.
150 Calories Per Day, Makes a Difference
A recent study found when fast food restaurants are located within a block of a high school, the student obesity rate is 5 percent higher.
Doctors say the difference between a healthy child and an obese one is about 150 calories a day, equal to half a candy bar. It’s an easy choice — as long as better choices are available.
Original source: http://www.voanews.com/english/2009-03-30-voa13.cfm
Seven Steps To Help Kids Slim Down
March 26, 2009, Los Angeles Times
By Jeannine Stein
Childhood obesity is a thorny issue without simple solutions, but that hasn’t daunted healthcare experts who work diligently to come up with viable proposals to help kids lose weight and get in shape.
The most recent strategy is the “Seven Steps to Success: A handout for parents of overweight children and adolescents,” designed by physicians and weight-loss experts to be worked in progressive stages: medical management, education, environmental changes, support groups, two forms of cognitive behavior therapy (clinic or short-term, and long-term) and bariatric surgery.
The steps, published in the February issue of the journal Obesity Management, are a reaction to a detailed article published in the journal Pediatrics in 2007. That article also outlined a multi-pronged approach to obesity, including prevention, structured weight management that includes medical screenings, physical activity and diet; a multidisciplinary intervention with food monitoring and structured exercise; and very-low-calorie diets and bariatric surgery (this updated a less comprehensive plan published in that journal in 1998).
But not everyone in the field of childhood obesity was satisfied with all the suggestions outlined in the Pediatrics paper — some objected to the education-oriented proposals.” An educational approach is very popular in the United States, but it’s very ineffective,” said Daniel Kirschenbaum, professor of psychiatry and behavioral sciences at Northwestern University Medical School in Chicago and co-author of the Obesity Management article. Providing information about eating more fruits and vegetables may be well-meaning, he added, but it’s not so useful for prompting sustainable changes.
The seven steps ratchet up in intensity, requiring more effort and commitment to achieve results. “Try one intervention,” he said, “and if in a month you’re not making progress, try another one. Science has taught us that you can tell pretty quickly if something isn’t working.”
The plan presumes that the entire family is involved with the process — previous studies have shown that better results come from a collaborative effort, not from telling one kid he has to eat chicken breasts and broccoli while the rest of the family gobbles pizza. As children segue into adolescence, he added, they can do more on their own. For behavioral therapy, the plan suggests starting with groups such as Weight Watchers or Take Off Pounds Sensibly that offer support, education and accountability and allow parents and children to work together. “These are very low-cost alternatives where people can come in every week,” he said, “but they have to be willing to work.” If those don’t provide suitable results, parents can opt for more intense group sessions run by trained weight-loss professionals.
Bariatric surgery, Kirschenbaum said, may be a viable option for certain kids and teens, although it’s not a decision to enter into lightly. Most clinics require patients to meet parameters such as being quite overweight and providing proof they’ve tried other weight-loss methods. Support — before and after surgery — and behavior modification are also essential components.
How should parents approach the list? Kirschenbaum says they shouldn’t go it alone because navigating the steps may prove intimidating and frustrating. “They should take it to their primary care physicians and get some help in making sense of it,” he said. It works in reverse, too — healthcare professionals can show it to their patients to begin a discussion about weight loss. “You should talk about it, see what you think. If you don’t set a target for something, you’re not going to reach it.”
Students Craft Their Own Cafeteria Offerings
March 22, 2009, The Baltimore Sun
By John-John Williams IV
Erika Henderson winces when she thinks of the food served up in the cafeteria at her Howard County high school – especially the wheat crust pizza.
“It’s disgusting,” said Henderson, a senior at Oakland Mills High. “It’s cheap food with no seasoning.”
But on a recent day, as she lunched on microwaveable instant noodles she brought from home, Henderson and the other students in culinary arts class were taking up a challenge to change things. They sliced onions and dipped them in batter, tweaking a dish they hope will win a place on the county’s school cafeteria menu next fall.
Over the past decade, school cafeteria food has taken a turn for the healthier, federal officials say, in response to the epidemic of child obesity. But the challenge has been balancing better nutrition with tastes that appeal to students raised in a fast-food world. So Howard’s and other school systems in Maryland and across the country are enrolling students in an effort to upgrade cafeteria menus.
Baltimore schools put on a similar contest this year, with bonus points for family recipes and use of locally grown ingredients. A Florida school system invited students to take part in a veggie burger taste-testing. In Ohio, teen chefs were offered college scholarships for cooking up a winning recipe.
And a school system in California relied on research of students’ preferences in developing a food court model that includes sushi, stir-fry and deli-style sandwiches.
“I think the lesson for us all is that if we get children to make healthier choices [they] make their own choices and make healthier decisions,” said Jean Daniel, a spokeswoman for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
School lunch is a part of the daily routine for many children. Nationally, 31 million lunches are served daily in public schools, the USDA says. Last academic year, 72 million lunches were served in Maryland public schools, eaten by 45 percent of students.
While the effort in Howard is drawing the attention of other jurisdictions, officials there have had their ups and down with school lunches. The system adopted a stringent “wellness” policy in 2006 that limited the sales of high-fat foods as a la carte items – apple slices were in; french fries were out.
But students balked in droves, and the system’s food program budget incurred a $740,000 deficit, school officials said.
Now they’re looking at new ways to give students a voice in the process.
“We think that they will try something that was prepared by their peers,” said Laurie Collins, an instructional facilitator for the Family and Consumer Science curriculum in Howard schools. “When they do an all-out marketing thing and get kids involved, they will eat it.”
In addition to the recipe contest, the school system will use feedback from an annual tasting of prospective food items by students in making menu decisions. At the January taste-testing of 66 “healthy food items” at Howard High in Ellicott City, 12 students sampled everything from fruit smoothies to teriyaki chicken.
The event was attended by representatives from all 12 counties that take part in a food purchasing cooperative that includes Howard County. Students’ feedback will factor into decisions on what food is purchased, said Mary Klatko, the system’s administrator of food and nutrition services.
Though aimed at yielding a menu with taste appeal, the recipe contest is posing a challenge, students say. Aside from making items that are tasty, the participants must adhere to nutritional and cost limits. For example, a dish cannot exceed 750 calories (no more than 30 percent of the calories from fat) or 150 milligrams of sodium. Deep fried is a no-no, and an item must cost no more than $1.22 to make.
Classes in five of the county’s 12 high schools are busy working on dishes for the competition, which will conclude with judging on April 1, Collins said. The items range from sandwich wraps to pizza bagels to baked sweet potato wedges.
The Oakland Mills students have been testing recipes and food combinations, and on a recent day were working on a recipe for baked onion rings. They were making them the old-fashioned way – fried in oil in a sauce pan – for comparison with the baked ones.
Zenoba Stephens, who teaches Henderson’s culinary arts class, said the project has struck a chord with the students, adding, “They actually have some input as to what they will have during lunch.”
As they sliced onions, the students talked of how cafeteria food has plenty of room for improvement.
“You can only eat two things on the menu – chicken nuggets and french fries,” Larissa Lopez said.
Her classmates complained about the costs of lunch – tied for highest in Maryland at $3 – the “nasty” vegetables, and the wheat crust pizza that they likened to “cardboard.”
School officials say they recognize it’s a tall order to serve meals that are healthy and satisfy the taste bud of today’s teen.
“Not everything will be pleasing to everybody,” Klatko said. “A family of six might not agree. When we have 18,000 students, not everyone will like all the menu items. That is why we have choices.”
Part of what’s at work is the growing sophistication of the teenage palate, Collins said. The surge in popularity in the culinary arts – exemplified by TV shows such as Top Chef and Hell’s Kitchen and the personas of celebrity cooks Emeril Lagasse, Rachel Ray and Paula Deen – has resonated with teens.
“They are eating different things,” Klatko said. “There is a comfort and an excitement about food that didn’t exist before.”
Students participating in the Howard County recipe competition must create items that adhere to stringent cost and nutrition guidelines:
Cost to Make
Entree: No more than 58 cents
Fruit: 16 cents
Vegetable: 16 cents
Bread: 11 cents
Milk: 11 cents
Condiments: 10 cents
No more than:
30 percent of calories from fat
10 percent of calories from saturated fat
150 mg of sodium
U.S. Program Aims To Help Babies Beat Obesity Odds
March 16, 2009, Reuters
By Julie Steenhuysen
Elena Nieves hardly looks like a poster girl for an obesity program for pregnant moms.
The 5-foot-8 (1.7-meter) 23-year-old recently lost more than 50 pounds (23 kg) and looks healthy. But 15 weeks into her third pregnancy, she was gaining the weight back — too fast.
“I found out I was pregnant in December. I didn’t go to the doctor until mid-January and I had already gained 15 pounds (7 kg),” said Nieves. Having struggled with excess weight in her last pregnancy, she decided to take action.
Nieves became the newest member of an experimental program at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago designed to help pregnant mothers keep their weight in check.
It is based on new research suggesting that excessive weight gain in pregnancy hurts both the mother and her fetus, raising the risk of complications during pregnancy and putting the child at risk for obesity and diabetes later in life.
“We’ve known for a long time that children of overweight mothers are more likely to be overweight themselves,” said Dr. Robert Kushner, who directs the Northwestern Comprehensive Center on Obesity.
But he said researchers had assumed that was simply because the mother passed along her bad eating and lifestyle habits to her child after birth. Now, animal studies suggest the environment the fetus is growing in influences the genes.
“The whole idea is, as that child comes out of the birth canal, you’ve already imprinted that child’s vulnerability to be overweight,” Kushner said.
“It’s like being born with handcuffs on. In this environment, how do they have a fighting chance?” said Kushner, referring to the growing obesity epidemic that affects a third of adults and nearly 17 percent of children in the United States.
U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates nearly one quarter of the 4 million births each year in the United States involve obese women.
Obesity raises the risk for diabetes, hypertension, heart disease, osteoarthritis, stroke, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, respiratory problems and even some cancers. A 2000 report by the U.S. Surgeon General estimated the direct and indirect cost of obesity at $117 billion each year.
Kushner said the program at Northwestern is among the first in the country to tackle obesity in pregnancy. He said pregnant women have often been considered hands off because of fear of harming the developing baby.
But it now seems doing nothing may be doing more harm.
No More Hands Off
Doctors have referred about 20 women since the program started in November, and new ones come in each week.
Women meet for classes every other week on nutrition, stress and exercise and keep daily logs of their diet and activity levels. That is proving difficult for some women, who are already juggling work, child care and weekly appointments with their obstetrician.
Charlotte Niznik, an advanced practice nurse who coordinates the program, said the team may start offering some of the services online. “Everything is flexible. If we’re rigid, we’ll never get participation.”
A three-year grant allows the team to offer the program for free. They hope to attract more black and Hispanic women, who are at highest risk for obesity and its complications.
Niznik said several women in the program have had gastric bypass surgery and fear gaining too much weight.
“They are motivated to maintain a normal weight gain in pregnancy, which is no more than 15 pounds (7 kg), because these women are obese,” Niznik said. “They are 300 (136 kg) to 400 pounds (180 kg).”
At 195 pounds (90 kg), Nieves weighs considerably less than that, but her previous weight battles and rapid weight gain — 20 pounds (9 kg) so far — make her a candidate.
During her last pregnancy, Nieves felt pressured by her obstetrician to gain weight. “I was about 220 pounds (100 kg). I would tell him, ‘I’m already overweight. I don’t want to gain the weight,'” she said.
“He would just tell me, ‘You have to gain a pound a week.’ That’s 40 pounds at the end of the pregnancy!”
She hopes the program will give her ammunition to resist some of the pressure she is getting to gain weight.
“My background is Hispanic,” she said. “My mother-in-law is like, ‘Oh my God, you are pregnant. Eat, eat, eat. The baby has to be nice and fat.'”
Dr. Alan Peaceman, an obstetrician who co-directs the pregnancy and obesity program, said the near-term goal is to help women like Nieves have healthy pregnancies. Down the road, they hope to gather data to see if it helped reduce complications for mothers and gave babies a better shot at having a healthy weight.
“If we can show that weight control during pregnancy reverses these trends, this is going to be one of the first successful approaches toward reducing childhood obesity, and that will be a major accomplishment,” he said.
Original source: http://news.yahoo.com/s/nm/20090316/us_nm/us_obesity_pregnancy
North Carolina School Posts Calorie Information On Digital Cafeteria Menu Boards
March 9, 2009, RWJF Childhood Obesity News Digest
To give students more information about the nutritional content of the food choices in its cafeteria, Crest Middle School in Shelby, N.C., has installed digital menu boards that feature the calorie content of the cafeteria offerings, News 14 reports. The menu boards resemble those stationed at drive-through restaurants, but feature the calorie value of each item served rather than the price. A separate board in the cafeteria broadcasts information on nutrition and anti-obesity messages featuring the school’s mascot and colors. Teachers will reinforce the healthy messages by incorporating nutrition curriculum into classroom activities.
School officials say inspiration for the menu boards came from the demonstrable success and educational value reaped from menu labeling requirements for fast-food menu boards. The menu boards, which cost between $10,000 and $12,000 to install and $150 per month to maintain, were paid for by the school system, Cleveland County Health Department and Cleveland Regional Medical Center. School administrators plan to install the menu boards at Crest County middle and high schools this school year and in Burns, Kings Mountain and Shelby middle and high schools during the summer break. According to the Childhood Obesity Action Network, an estimated one in three North Carolina children between ages 10 and 17 are overweight (Gaier, News 14, 3/5/09; Cleveland County Schools Web site, accessed 3/9/09).
Original source: http://www.rwjf.org/childhoodobesity/digest.jsp?id=9842
Unique Intergenerational Approach Battling Childhood Obesity
March 5, 2009, PNNOnline
A unique, intergenerational program developed by OASIS to enlist older adults in the fight against childhood obesity will be expanded to eight cities during the next two years with a $313,000 grant from the WellPoint Foundation, Inc.
Active Generations promotes physical activity and healthy eating for low-income children and their families. The program reaches children in grades 3 to 5 in after-school settings using teams of volunteers age 50 and older who offer weekly sessions on healthier lifestyles. Sessions include a lesson, vigorous physical activity and a healthy snack.
“The WellPoint Foundation is dedicated to working with organizations to identify and target public health concerns,” said Caz Matthews, president, WellPoint Foundation. “With Active Generations, OASIS takes aim at childhood obesity, a serious and costly public health care epidemic, using a resource that is not only plentiful, but also extremely powerful in this country: mature adults who want to make a difference.”
Active Generations uses CATCH – Coordinated Approach to Child Health, an evidence-based, nationally-recognized curriculum to measure outcomes for children, including their knowledge before and at the end of the program about healthy food choices and physical activity.
“The CATCH curriculum has been proven to impact healthy behaviors in children, which is why we chose to use the program as part of Active Generations,” said Danilea Werner, National Health Director at The OASIS Institute. “OASIS has a strong commitment to provide health promotion programs for older adults that result in positive long-term health changes.”
Active Generations, which was successfully piloted in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and San Antonio, Texas, will be expanded to OASIS centers in St. Louis, Missouri; Albany, New York; Los Angeles, California; and San Diego County, California during the first year. During the second year, OASIS will introduce the program in additional cities including Syracuse, New York; Indianapolis, Indiana; and Denver, Colorado.
During the last three decades, obesity rates in the United States have more than tripled among children ages 6 to 11. Many obese children will carry those extra pounds into adulthood, increasing the incidence of heart disease, diabetes, stroke and cancer.
By the end of the two-year grant period, an estimated 3,600 children and volunteers will have participated in the Active Generations program.
Original source: Link no longer working