New Programs To Help Overweight Kids Get Healthier
Jan. 18-Due to the new federal health care law, health insurers and employers must now pay the cost of screening children for obesity and providing them with appropriate counseling, according to "Learning to be Lean,” a January 16, 2012 article in The New York Times.
33% of U.S. children are overweight
According to government statistics, approximately one in three U.S. children are obese or overweight. Reversing this alarming—and enormously expensive—fact will be challenging. The NYT article explains that other than intensive hospital-based programs, few proven models exist for helping children and adolescents achieve and maintain a healthier weight. Researchers do not even fully understand which factors have contributed to the overwhelming rise in childhood obesity in recent years.
New programs to help kids lose weight and get in shape
There is hope for our kids! Many programs have recently emerged to help children eat better, lose weight, and exercise more, including Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative. Weight Watchers is developing a program for children and teenagers, and drug companies and medical device makers are also testing some products on children. Even adolescent bariatric surgery is on the rise.
But according to the NYT article, adults have a difficult enough time losing weight, and the issues are even more complicated with children and teenagers. Children are still growing, and the goal of any program might be to help them grow into a healthier weight rather than to actually lose pounds. Experts also say that to be successful, programs need to focus on the family as a whole, changing what all the family members eat and how much they are active, rather than sitting in front of a computer screen or TV.
Hurley Medical Center responds with programs geared at the entire family
At Hurley Medical Center, we have several successful programs that are helping kids and their families live healthier lifestyles, many of them led by the Hurley Center for Health Outcomes.
• Our Family Weight Loss Program focuses on getting children to move more and eat less. Kids and their parent(s) attend classes which involve physical activity, as well as discussions between the child, his/her parent(s), and a Hurley pediatric psychologist or dietitian.
• Hurley's Nutrition Services has 12 full-time registered dietitians on staff to talk with children about healthy eating, cooking habits and how to achieve weight loss.
• Hurley's Pediatric Diabetes Education Program - Being out of shape or overweight often brings about diabetes, a serious disease that is especially common in Genesee County. If a child has diabetes or pre-diabetes, Hurley offers education classes to teach him/her child how to control this chronic disease.
• Hurley Health and Fitness Center - The area’s only medically-based health and fitness facility, Hurley Health and Fitness Center offers advanced exercise technology, an experienced team of fitness professionals, and most importantly, access to specialists from Hurley’s full range of medical practices.