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Child Health Advocates Create Resources to Fight Childhood Obesity and Physical Inactivity

March 30, 2004

Seattle, Wash.: March 30, 2004 – Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center and the American Heart Association (AHA) have teamed up to create new resources to address the serious issues of childhood obesity and physical inactivity.

Seattle, Wash.: March 30, 2004 – Children’s Hospital and Regional Medical Center and the American Heart Association (AHA) have teamed up to create new resources to address the serious issues of childhood obesity and physical inactivity.

The project, called “Love Them With All Your Heart,” offers age and culturally-specific educational and informational materials to children, parents and health care providers to give them the tools they need to help combat what former U.S. Surgeon General David Satcher called the “silent epidemic.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), an estimated 8.8 million children and adolescents ages 6-19 are considered overweight or obese. The CDC says that the percentage of children and adolescents who are defined as overweight has more than doubled since the early 1970s, with about 15 percent of children and adolescents now considered overweight.

Successfully preventing or treating obesity in childhood may reduce the risk of adult obesity and thus help reduce the risk of heart disease and other diseases. The emotional consequences of childhood obesity, including a diminished quality of life, are also gaining increased recognition.

“Childhood obesity is one of our most pressing issues,” said Dr. Ben Danielson, medical director, Odessa Brown Children’s Clinic, a program of Children’s Hospital. “In our clinic, we see the devastating effects of obesity every day. Obesity makes asthma worse, causes sleep disturbances, affects reproductive health and causes painful joint disorders. It triggers life long diseases like type 2 diabetes and hypertension that damage many organs and shorten lives. This epidemic presents an important opportunity to collaborate together to help whole families make difficult lifestyle changes.”

With funding from an award from the Office of the Washington State Attorney General through the Vitamins Antitrust Litigation Settlement to develop obesity resources for children and families, the Children’s Obesity Action Team conducted a series of focus groups with children, teens, parents/guardians and health care providers to learn their needs.

Using the information learned from these focus groups, Children’s and the AHA created the following “Love Them With All Your Heart” project materials that are currently available to Washington state residents:

  1. Age-Specific Packets - a compilation of preferred resources for healthy eating and activity for preschool, school age and teens. Available in English, Spanish and culturally specific packets for African Americans. Families can order a free packet from the Children’s Resource Line at (206) 987-2500, option 4 or toll-free at (866) 987-2500, option 4. Be sure to mention your child’s age and specify if you would like materials for African Americans or written in Spanish. (One packet available per family.)
  1. Indoor Activity Kits - a colorful packet containing instructions for four safe, active, indoor games. The cards are laminated for durability and are in English and Spanish. Promotional posters and request cards are available for groups that would like to promote the project as well. To order the Indoor Activity kit or the promotional materials, call the American Heart Association at (206) 525-7665 or (888) 440-2328 or email.
  1. Provider Kits - A compilation of preferred resources for pediatricians and other primary care providers are available through the Children’s Resource Line at (206) 987-2500, option 4 or toll-free at (866)987-2500, option 4.
  1. Skills Workshops - Continuing Medical Education (CME) certified workshops for pediatricians and other primary care providers to focus on counseling families and children/adolescents to address nutrition and activity issues.
  1. Web-Based Resources - Children’s Obesity Action Team, a multidisciplinary group of healthcare professionals dedicated to increasing awareness, providing education, and facilitating action to decrease childhood obesity, has created a Web-based resource manual for professionals who care for children who are obese and their families.

Children’s Hospital and the American Heart Association encourage children, teens, parents/guardians and health care providers to order these materials and put them to use.

“Obesity may soon overtake tobacco use as the number one leading cause of preventable death,” said JJ McKay, AHA senior vice president of major metros. “‘Love Them With All Your Heart’ provides tools to combat this growing concern, and is one way that the American Heart Association is working to reduce death, disability and risk from cardiovascular diseases by 25 percent - a goal we intend to accomplish by 2010.”

Physical inactivity is a major risk factor for developing coronary artery disease. It also increases the risk of stroke and such other major cardiovascular risk factors as obesity, high blood pressure, low HDL (“good”) cholesterol and diabetes.

The AHA recommends that children and adolescents participate in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity activities every day and an additional 30 minutes of vigorous activity at least 3-4 days each week for optimal heart and lung fitness.

About Seattle Children’s

Consistently ranked as one of the best children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s serves as the pediatric and adolescent academic medical referral center for the largest landmass of any children’s hospital in the country (Washington, Alaska, Montana and Idaho). For more than 100 years, Seattle Children’s has been delivering superior patient care while advancing new treatments through pediatric research. Seattle Children’s serves as the primary teaching, clinical and research site for the Department of Pediatrics at the University of Washington School of Medicine. The hospital works in partnership with Seattle Children’s Research Institute and Seattle Children’s Hospital Foundation. For more information, visit www.seattlechildrens.org or follow us on Twitter or Facebook.

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