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CDC dispenses $25 million to battle childhood obesity

BY Michael Johnsen

ATLANTA — The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday launched a new effort to address childhood obesity using successful elements of both primary care and public health. As much as $25 million in funding made available through the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act will support a four-year Childhood Obesity Demonstration Project. The project will build on existing community efforts and will work to identify effective healthcare and community strategies to support children’s healthy eating and active living, and help combat childhood obesity.

“Over the last three decades, obesity rates among children and adolescents have nearly tripled,” stated CDC director Thomas Frieden. “Obese children are more likely to have asthma, depression, diabetes and other serious and costly health problems. This project will help figure out ways our children can grow up to lead long, healthy and productive lives.”

The project will target children between the ages of 2 years and 12 years covered by the Children’s Health Insurance Program, a low-cost health insurance that covers more than 7 million children from working families. Rates of childhood obesity are high overall, but for minority and low-income communities in particular, they are even higher. Using innovative approaches to reach low-income and minority families to tackle childhood obesity prevents the onset of many diseases associated with childhood obesity, including Type 2 diabetes, asthma and heart disease.

These approaches include combining changes in preventive care at doctor visits with supportive changes in schools, child care centers and such community venues as retail food stores and parks. Community health workers will provide a bridge between families and resources in their communities in order to inform and educate hard-to-reach, limited English proficiency and minority communities about disease prevention, health insurance enrollment opportunities and disease management. Overall, the grantees’ work will focus on strategies that improve children’s health behaviors by involving the children themselves, their parents and other family members and the communities in which they live.

The project grantees include three research facilities, each of which will receive approximately $6.2 million over four years to identify effective childhood obesity prevention strategies. The evaluation center will receive about $4.2 million over four years and will determine successful strategies and share lessons and successes.


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Cardinal Health joins Practice Greenhealth

BY Michael Johnsen

DUBLIN, Ohio — Cardinal Health on Thursday announced that it has joined Practice Greenhealth, a membership organization for institutions and businesses in the healthcare field that are engaged in reducing their environmental footprints.

"Cardinal Health is committed to helping increase efficiencies and cost-effectiveness in health care," stated Frank Macielak, VP environment, health and safety. "Our Practice Greenhealth membership is a perfect complement to the work we’re already doing in the areas of pollution prevention, energy efficiency and product stewardship."

Practice Greenhealth offers a variety of programs to its members, including environmental purchasing, sustainable operations, continuing education, webinars, networking opportunities and communications.

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Americans concerned over value, safety of vaccines, poll finds

BY Allison Cerra

ANN ARBOR, Mich. and WASHINGTON — In the latest poll conducted by Thomson Reuters and NPR, it seems that some Americans are concerned with the safety of vaccine use.

According to the new research, which polled more than 100,000 households between Aug. 1 and 16, 24% of respondents said their opinions of vaccines have changed in the past five years and among them, 59% said their views on vaccines have become less favorable. What’s more, 26.6% of respondents expressed apprehensiveness over the safety of vaccines. The highest level of worry was expressed among respondents with children under 18 years old (30.8%), while those ages 65 years and older had the least concern (18.5%).

When it comes to what prompted their vaccine fears, 47.3% said their worry stemmed from concern that vaccines would impact their long-term health, while 46% said they are worried about side effects. Additionally, 21.4% of those surveyed believed vaccines can cause autism, 9.2% believed vaccines can be linked to cancer, 6.9% believed they play a role in diabetes, while 5.9% cited a connection between vaccines and heart disease.

"Ironically, these survey results are a testament to the effectiveness of vaccines: older people remember what illnesses like polio did to cripple and kill patients, but the younger generation has never seen someone with polio," said Raymond Fabius, chief medical officer at the healthcare business of Thomson Reuters. "Because of the elimination of diseases through immunization, there is a lack of understanding that the benefit of vaccines greatly outweighs the minimal risks of side effects both short and long term."

For a copy of the vaccine survey results, click here.


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