Posts Tagged ‘childhood obesity’
Tonight, the documentary, The Weight of the Nation for Kids, premieres on HBO. The three-part series focuses on young people taking the initiative to fight obesity by effecting real change in their school and community environments.
The three films are:
- The Great Cafeteria Takeover, which follows a group of children in New Orleans that set out to make a difference in their community during the post-Katrina rebuilding period, eventually succeeding in changing their school lunch menus to include healthier options.
- Kabreeya’s Salad Days, the story of 17-year-old Kabreeya Lewis, whose fierce persistence allowed her to achieve her goal of having a salad bar in her high school cafeteria in North Carolina.
- Quiz Ed!, a documentary-style quiz show that polls young people, ranging from 10 to 18 years of age, using riddles about the food and activity factors that are contributing to the obesity epidemic.
Kaiser Permanente is also addressing the issue of obesity through the recently launched Thriving Schools — a comprehensive, national effort for K-12 students, their parents and families as well as teachers and staff, focused on creating a culture of health in schools. These efforts combined are part of an ongoing commitment to improve school health through healthy food options and regular physical activity.
The original Weight of the Nation series of documentaries first aired on HBO (and were available on the documentary’s official website) in 2012, and was part of a major public awareness campaign aimed at addressing the obesity epidemic in the United States. More on The Weight of the Nation series is available here, and on the official website.
The Center for Total Health has a new, interactive, touch-screen exhibit focused on healthy schools and healthy workplaces, and much of its content addresses the growing challenge of obesity in the United States. If you are in the Washington, D.C. area, we invite you to stop by and experience it — and the rest of the center’s exhibits — first hand. You can find information about visiting the center here.
As National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month comes to a close, it’s clear that childhood obesity is an issue supported by communities, parents, schools and community programs around the nation.
Recently, the East Bay Community Foundation partnered with Kaiser Permanente to present the Weight of the Nation—a national public health campaign targeting obesity—at the Council on Foundations’ annual community foundations conference in New Orleans. The East Bay Community Foundation is an important partner in the work to combat obesity in our local communities, and the organization demonstrates how community foundations nationwide can lead collaborative efforts in fighting obesity. In this interview, Nicole Taylor, president and CEO of the East Bay Community Foundation, explains the challenges in Northern California that the East Bay Community Foundation and Kaiser Permanente are working to address.
Although Colorado takes pride in being the leanest state in the nation, the rate of overweight and obesity among children in Colorado is on the rise. In addition, the rate of childhood poverty is rising faster in Colorado than everywhere else in the nation. Children living in poverty are faced with a number of barriers putting them at greater risk for becoming overweight or obese including less access to nutritious foods like whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.
Over the last few years, The Denver Foundation and Kaiser Permanente have both supported a nonprofit aimed at addressing hunger in Colorado. Hunger Free Colorado, formerly known as the Colorado Coalition to End Hunger, is the state’s leading advocate to end hunger. It aims to do this by increasing participation in federal nutrition programs, food stamps, and school breakfast and lunch programs.
In this interview, Barbara Berv, vice president of philanthropic services at The Denver Foundation, speaks about their partnership with Kaiser Permanente and Hunger Free Colorado and the goal of eliminating hunger in Colorado.
The City of New Orleans has been taking bold steps to address obesity and fitness on a local level—most especially for the city’s children. In this recent interview, Dr. Karen DeSalvo, City of New Orleans health commissioner, discusses the Fit NOLA Partnership, which aims to improve fitness levels and combat childhood obesity in New Orleans through a number of innovative, data-driven program and policies. DeSalvo’s vision is that through Fit Nola, New Orleans will become one of the top ten fittest cities in the United States by 2018.
In honor of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, we thought we’d offer a few helpful resources for engaging children and young people in healthy eating and active living.
Michelle Obama and the Let’s Move! campaign recently teamed up with Epicurious, the award-winning food website, to challenge kids across the country to submit their original recipes for nutritious and delicious lunches. The top 54 winning submissions were featured in The Healthy Lunchtime Challenge Cookbook and invited to the White House for a luncheon celebration with Mrs. Obama herself. The menu included some of the winning recipes, including kale chips and a quinoa, corn, and black bean salad.
Consider sharing these resources with the young people in your life….all of us need to engage in activities that foster healthy living.
Looking for more inspiration to get your family cooking healthy and delicious meals together? Check out Chop Chop, a quarterly food magazine and website for kids aged 5-12 and their families. ChopChop’s mission is to educate kids to cook and be nutritionally literate, empower them to actively participate as health partners with their families, and help establish and support better eating habits for a lifetime of good nutrition. The magazine and website are packed with great recipes, fun facts about food and food nutrition, basics on how to use kitchen utensils, and even some tips on how to grow your own vegetables at home.
Our friends from the Care Management Institute and the pediatric department of Kaiser Permanente in Hayward, Calif. recently offered up a list of free fitness videos to help get kids and youth more active. Check these out:
Resources for kids
- Sesame Street: Grover’s Workout Video
- Exercise with Daniel Cook
- Get Active Series
- A Cosmic Kids Yoga Adventure
- Jazz Ballet Basics
- Dance Moves with Benjamin Allen
- Fit Factor Kids Exercise
Resources for teens
- MMA Workout with Coach Kozak
- BeeTwixt Pilates
- Fitness Blender Sports Endurance Workout
- Guide to Basic Zumba
- Dance Moves with Benjamin Allen
- Cardio Workouts with Kyle Brayer
We all need to work together for better health. Consider sharing these resources with the young people in your life, and help build awareness about how all of us need to engage in activities that foster healthy living.
Obesity prevention and treatment are recurring topics explored in this blog, and for good reason. According to the official website for National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, more than 23 million U.S. children and teens are obese or overweight—an epidemic putting almost one third of this nation’s children at early risk for conditions usually not seen until adulthood, like Type 2 diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, and stroke (not to mention gallstone disease, as highlighted in a recent post).
Three inspiring stories of kids who made changes in how they eat and move are now featured on the Kaiser Permanente Care Stories Blog. The videos, including the one below featuring college student Josie Clayton, show how these young people and their families made practical shifts in behavior and reaped health-improving results.
Read more about Josie here, and check out the other featured videos—stories from Austin Stanfill and Jesse Campos. For information, online resources and tools to promote September as National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, you can download the COAM’s official toolkit.
A study published this week in the Journal of Pediatric Gastroenterology & Nutrition indicates that overweight and obese children are at higher risk of gallstones.
The study, conducted by Kaiser Permanente, was based on the information in electronic health records of more than 500,000 children, ages 10 to 19, from 2007 to 2009. Researchers found that overweight children are twice as likely to suffer from gallstone disease compared to children and teens with a normal body mass index. Kids identified as moderately obese were four times as likely to develop gallstones, and extremely obese children were six times as likely. There also was a higher association between obesity and gallstones in girls.
this points to a disturbing trend: Obese children being diagnosed with diseases normally considered adult conditions.
Because of the size of the study, researchers could explore racial and ethnic health disparities, and they found that Hispanic youth had a higher likelihood of developing gallstones than children from other ethnicities.
Authors of the study point out that while they are common in obese adults, gallstones in children and teens have been historically rare, and that this points to a disturbing trend: Obese children being diagnosed with diseases normally considered adult conditions.
The study is part of ongoing research and community programs focused on identifying and treating childhood obesity. Earlier published research, the Kaiser Permanente Southern California Children’s Health Study, found that 7.3 percent of boys and 5.5 percent of girls under the age of 20 are extremely obese.
Read more on the study here. And check out the video, below, on the growing prevalence of extreme obesity in children.
A significant part of total health is the overall health and well being of our communities, and we try to highlight examples of programs working toward total health on this blog. After all, with the number of American adults without health insurance increasing to 17.1 percent in 2011, there continues to be a growing need for programs and initiatives in our communities that support good health and healthy living.
Kaiser Permanente recently released its community benefit report, which highlights programs that benefited from the $1.8 billion the health organization devoted to its community benefit activities in 2011. These investments included $68 million for community health initiatives and environmental stewardship, $24.6 million for grants to safety net partnerships, and $119 million for medical research (that’s 4,000 research and evaluation studies conducted and 1,100 articles published in professional journals on topics like diabetes, childhood obesity, HIV, and genomics).
You can read more about the report here, including great stories of total health in action at the community level.
This week, Kaiser Permanente announced results from a study that found programs promoting healthy eating can substantially reduce the amount of unhealthy foods and beverages on school grounds if the programs focus on a school’s specific needs and involve teachers, parents, staff, and administrators. This research is reinforced by a recent report on obesity prevention issued by The Institute of Medicine that describes schools as “the heart of health” and identifies school-based interventions as among the most promising to prevent childhood obesity. To find out more about this study and why schools are an ideal place for establishing life-long healthy eating habits, we sat down with study lead author Karen J. Coleman, PhD, from Kaiser Permanente Southern California’s Department of Research and Evaluation. Watch this video for highlights, and for more on the study from Dr. Coleman, read our Q&A with her below.
Tell us a little bit about your background. How long have you been doing this sort of research and what has been your focus so far?
Karen Coleman, PhD:
I have been a research scientist with Kaiser Permanente for about five years now. I’m specifically trained as a behavioral interventionist and am primarily interested in the behavioral, social, and environmental determinants of child, adolescent and adult obesity. In addition to the Healthy ONES research, I have conducted other school health studies to reduce child obesity in low-income, primarily minority school districts in San Diego County and El Paso, Texas.
What was most surprising to you in this research and its findings?
I was surprised by how strongly adults associate unhealthy foods like cakes and sodas with a child’s happiness. Teachers and parents really believed that if we took these things away children would no longer have fun or enjoy celebrations. What we discovered was that children enjoy celebrations without any food by playing games, winning prizes, and having love and attention from the adults they admire. It was the adults that were the most upset when we changed how schools celebrated and fundraised.
Why are the findings of this study significant to the overall health of U.S. kids and adults?
I think that many people have given up on the hope that schools will change foods and beverages on campus and in school meals. But what we found is that by working with the schools and addressing their priorities as well as those of the research study, we could change the way schools raised money, the way they celebrated, and the way they promoted fun and recreation on their campuses. Schools do not need to have bake sales to raise money or cupcakes to celebrate birthdays. They can have healthy and safe environments without compromising sources of revenue or taking the fun out of learning.
Building on these findings, what do you think will be important in terms of next steps—future studies or research, and broader recommendations for schools?
The approach we used to help schools implement their federally-mandated wellness policies should be disseminated to larger school districts and implemented for much longer periods of time, so that the benefits can accumulate and have the best chances of impacting child obesity. Also, we cannot forget physical activity and physical education. We must find ways to integrate recess, play, and physical education back into the regular curriculum. Our work with the Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) in El Paso is a good example of how having physical education every day for 45 minutes can directly impact child obesity.
We’ve talked a lot about HBO’s Weight of the Nation documentary series on our blog. If you saw it, what was your reaction? And how do you think your work on Healthy ONES and public health approaches factor in to reversing the U.S. obesity epidemic?
Weight of the Nation did a good job encapsulating the problems leading to obesity, however, I do not think it provided people with models for change. There are efforts all over the country like Healthy ONES and CATCH where schools, day care centers, youth centers, and other systems caring for children and teenagers are making changes that impact health. We need to highlight these efforts and let the people in these systems know that we recognize their work and that they matter.
Do you have any other thoughts about this latest study?
There has been a focus on the fact that Healthy ONES did not affect child obesity rates. Our goal was never to change obesity rates, but the environments and policies that may be one part of the larger system contributing to obesity. And change takes time. We only had about one year of complete change before the study ended.
Changing the nutrition environment in isolation is not likely to change obesity trends, however, it is an essential part of a wellness approach, in addition to regular physical activity, that makes public school settings a healthy and safe place for our children.
Last week, 600 people attended the Washington, D.C., screening of The Weight of the Nation, HBO’s documentary on America’s obesity crisis produced in partnership with the National Institutes of Health, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the Institute of Medicine, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation, and Kaiser Permanente. After opening remarks from the producers and partners, the crowd viewed part one in the series, called Consequences. The first part of the four-part series presents an alarming overview of our nation’s weight crisis, where one-third of adults and 17 percent of children and adolescents in the United States are obese.
Being overweight or obese carries increased risk of Type 2 diabetes, coronary heart disease and coronary artery disease, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, stroke, osteoarthritis, gallbladder disease, sleep apnea, cancer, and nonalcoholic fatty liver disease. Overall quality of life can be negatively affected as well.
While on hand to live tweet the event, the Center for Total Health blog had a brief conversation with Harvey Fineberg, president of the Institute of Medicine. Harvey spoke about the unique partnership that brought about this documentary, as well as his hope that people who view this series (premiering May 14-15 on HBO) will take what they learn, request screening kits and discussion guides, and get engaged where they live and work to make changes and reverse this epidemic.
Visit here for more information about the documentary. For resources on how to bring healthy changes to your family, community and workplace, visit the Kaiser Permanente Weight of the Nation site. Read more coverage of Weight of the Nation screenings and outreach here.
This blog is intended to be a place for robust dialogue on health-related issues. Statements on this site do not necessarily represent the views or policies of Kaiser Permanente. All content is copyrighted.