The obesity epidemic has reached even our youngest children: In Minnesota, one-in-four children is obese or overweight and one-in-five children is obese before they start school. The problem is even greater among poor children and minority children regardless of family income.
At Children’s, we see a growing number of overweight and obese children coming through our doors with health problems associated with obesity that include early signs of cardiovascular disease, musculoskeletal conditions and psychosocial issues. Conditions that were once very rare among children, such as liver disease, hypertension and Type 2 diabetes, have become all too common. To address this new reality, Children’s is closely examining how we treat children with weight problems.
What are we doing about it?
With the goal of affirming what we know about childhood obesity, revealing new data and adding greater urgency to the issue, Children’s released a white paper on childhood obesity.
In addition, we have been working with the American Academy of Pediatrics, MN Chapter, and several community organizations on an initiative called Vida Sana Minneapolis that is working to address obesity with Latino children and families in Minneapolis. Vida Sana is a community and family based program that is focused on breaking down the barriers to healthier lifestyles among this population. Through this work, we hope to gain a better understanding of what works and what we should be doing to provide our families with the necessary resources and education they need to help stop this growing epidemic.
Children’s has also partnered with HealthPartners on an initiative to manage and prevent childhood obesity through education and programming. This work will focus on three pilot projects, including the Vida Sana Minneapolis project as well as programs in the Riverside area of Minneapolis and White Bear Lake.
As the region’s leading provider of pediatric health care, we are also actively exploring ways to address this issue through internal care enhancements in our clinics.