Long Branch, N.J.—The Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center has joined a group of educators in a unique pilot program for obesity prevention. Over the last 25 years, the rate of obesity has doubled for children ages six to 11 and has tripled for teens. Today about 10 percent of two- to five-year-olds and 15 percent of six- to 19-year-olds are overweight.
The American Academy of Pediatrics/New Jersey Chapter’s Foundation, known as the Pediatric Council on Research and Education (PCORE), was awarded a $304,800 grant from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation for an obesity prevention program for preschoolers in Long Branch, N.J. The pilot program is a partnership between the Long Branch School District, Monmouth Medical Center, Prevention First, Knowledge Learning Corporation and PCORE, aimed at improving life skills for children and families to encourage them to make healthy choices to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
“Without proper intervention, overweight children are at risk for early development of health problems such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, breathing problems, sleep problems, joint problems, as well as social and psychological difficulties,” reports Margaret Fisher, M.D., FAAP, Chair of the Department of Pediatrics at The Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center and the medical director of the project. “Childhood obesity is the epidemic of the 21st Century and this generation of children faces the real possibility of a lifespan that is shorter than their parents.”
To combat the rise in childhood obesity, the pilot program educates children at the preschool level about healthy food choices and being physically active.
Children participate in this program during their after-school activities. It features a series of sessions on life skills that educate children on how to make healthy choices for food, portion size and physical activity. A healthy mascot, known as “Claude, The Dog That Loves to Eat Vegetables” helps to inform the children about nutrition and exercise. Parents can go to www.ClubClaude.com and download coloring pages and print out quick and easy vegetable snack ideas.
Dr. Fisher adds “Long Branch is a high-risk community. Parents simply don’t have the means to make educated healthy food choices. Limited household income and lack of nutrition awareness prevents many families from buying healthier foods, even fresh fruits and vegetables for their kids.”
Children and their families receive incentives, such as sneakers and fruit baskets, upon successful completion of the program. The three-year project began during the 2006 school year and will continue through the summer of 2009. The program has the full support of Mr. Joseph M. Ferraina, Superintendent of Schools at the Long Branch School District.
For more information about the fight against childhood obesity go to
About The Children's Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center
As a regional leader dedicated to children’s health, The Children’s Hospital at Monmouth Medical Center offers the highest level of pediatric care for newborns to adolescents, including leading edge treatments and specialized expertise. More than 130 pediatricians are affiliated with the Monmouth Medical Center’s pediatric attending staff and more than half are subspecialty trained. The Children’s Hospital has extensive subspecialty outpatient services for children with chronic illnesses, a Neonatal Intensive Care (NICU), part of Monmouth's state-designated regional perinatal center, a Cystic Fibrosis Center and a Ronald McDonald House. For a referral to a pediatrician or specialist from The Children’s Hospital Monmouth Medical Center, please call 1-888-724-7123.
CONTACT: Beth Salamon
(973) 322-4926, firstname.lastname@example.org
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