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The evidence is unequivocal. Our kids are getting fatter. And it’s causing health problems – the kind that used to be seen only in adults. High blood pressure. Elevated cholesterol. Diabetes.
The health outlook for these children is not good, and we want to do something about it. But it won’t be easy. Most of the overeating and lack of physical activity that contribute to children being overweight happen beyond our doors.
So we’ve joined with those in our communities who are better able to have a daily impact on kids’ behavior – parents, schools, community pediatricians, churches and neighborhood centers.
The WeTHRIVE! Learning Collaborative is one such partnership. Part of the national WeThrive! movement, this program helps clinicians in primary care practices and community health centers identify and treat children who are overweight or obese. It does this by providing tools for screening kids, and information for kids and families to help them eat healthier foods and become more active.
As a member of the Healthy Kids Ohio initiative, Cincinnati Children’s is part of the pilot team of pediatric practices, community health centers and area schools developing initiatives targeted to preventing and reducing obesity in our children. Some of these initiatives include providing standard, evidence-based guidelines for the care of overweight children to pediatric offices and developing pilot exercise and nutrition programs with area schools.
Cincinnati Children’s is also working with two schools in Avondale on a pilot program to fulfill health requirements passed by the Ohio state legislature in 2010. The bill requires Ohio schools to provide a minimum of 30 minutes of physical activity each day, healthier food choices and regular body mass index (BMI) screenings.
Can we reverse the trend of childhood obesity in our communities? It is an ambitious goal, one we have set for ourselves by 2015. We will do all we can to get there, but we need the help of our community partners. Our children’s futures depend on it.
In Hamilton County, more than 28 percent of children ages 2 to 5 are overweight or obese; among kids ages 10 to 17, more than 31 percent. One of every three Ohio children is overweight or obese.
For children in impoverished families, the rate of overweight and obesity jumps to more than 47 percent.
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