Child Health Advocates Create Resources to Fight 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.

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

Seattle Children’s Hospital, Foundation and Research Institute together deliver superior patient care, advance new discoveries and treatments through pediatric research, and raise funds to create better futures for patients. Consistently ranked as one of the top 10 children’s hospitals in the country by U.S. News & World Report, Seattle Children’s Hospital specializes in meeting the unique physical, emotional and developmental needs of children from infancy through young adulthood. Through the collaboration of physicians in nearly 60 pediatric subspecialties, Seattle Children’s Hospital provides inpatient, outpatient, diagnostic, surgical, rehabilitative, behavioral, and emergency and outreach services to families from around the world.

Located in downtown Seattle’s biotech corridor, Seattle Children’s Research Institute is pushing the boundaries of medical research to find cures for pediatric diseases and improve outcomes for children all over the world. Internationally recognized investigators and staff at the research institute are advancing new discoveries in cancer, genetics, immunology, pathology, infectious disease, injury prevention, bioethics and much more.

Seattle Children’s Hospital and Research Foundation and Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association work together to gather community support and raise funds for uncompensated care, clinical care and research. The foundation receives nearly 80,000 gifts each year, from lemonade stand proceeds to corporate sponsorships. Seattle Children’s Hospital Guild Association is the largest all-volunteer fundraising network for any hospital in the country, serving as the umbrella organization for 450 groups of people who turn an activity they love into a fundraiser. Support from the foundation and guild association makes it possible for Seattle Children’s care and research teams to improve the health and well-being of all kids.

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