Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight formed

by Eric Schroeder
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CHICAGO — The American Academy of Pediatrics (A.A.P.) has launched the Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight, a new initiative designed to fight against childhood obesity, focusing on both prevention and treatment. The initiative was unveiled at the A.A.P. National Conference & Exposition held Oct. 20-23 in New Orleans.

“Obesity is epidemic in childhood and presents a threat to both child health and to health across the lifespan,” said Sandra Hassink, M.D., FAAP, chair of the steering committee of the Institute. “Pediatricians are in the best position to combat childhood obesity because they are dedicated to children’s health and well-being and build long-term, trusting relationships with families. The Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight will provide pediatricians and other professionals with the tools and knowledge they need to provide care that begins with research and ends in real results.”

The Institute will focus on translating policies, best practices and emerging scientific evidence into practical solutions for health care providers, communities and individual families.

The Institute, which will be housed within the A.A.P., will be funded by a diverse base of corporate sponsors and grants from government and foundations. Vevey, Switzerland-based Nestle S.A. has signed on as a founding sponsor of the Institute.

“Many organizations in the United States are currently playing vital roles in combating the global epidemic of childhood obesity,” said José Saavedra, medical director for Nestle Nutrition in the United States. “The Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight will fill an important gap by focusing on the need to establish healthy feeding and dietary patterns in the first 1,000 days of life. By contributing our support and expertise to this initiative, we aim to help the A.A.P. leverage its unique ability to promote behaviors that lead to healthy childhood weights and lifelong well-being.”

This is not the first time Nestle has partnered with the A.A.P. Earlier this year, Nestle supported research that led to the development of the A.A.P.’s Healthy Active Living for Families program, which is designed to enhance the quality of obesity prevention information available to parents of young children.

The information includes a set of tools on www.HealthyChildren.org, the A.A.P. web site for parents, and includes interactive features, quizzes and personalized tips to help parents make healthy choices around nutrition and exercise for children from birth to age 5. The project was demonstrated at the A.A.P.’s meeting in New Orleans on Oct. 21 and may be seen at www.healthychildren.org/growinghealthy.

“The academy has been working on obesity prevention and treatment for more than a decade,” Dr. Hassink said. “The academy will be able to expand its reach and magnify its efforts in this field with the help of Nestle in launching the Institute. Pediatricians have a unique relationship with families that often spans two decades — beginning with the birth of a child and continuing until that child grows into an adult. This close, long-term relationship affords pediatricians the chance to provide expert knowledge and motivation to help families lead healthy, active lives.”
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