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Kids At Risk For Diabetes Fight Against Childhood Obesity

Armen Hareyan's picture

Middlesex-London Health Unit

Childhood Obesity

Families in Action, a new community-based partnership, announced a six-month obesity intervention program aimed at high-risk ethno-cultural children and their families.

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Drawing on expertise from the Middlesex-London Health Unit, The University of Western Ontario's Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry, Brescia University College, the Children's Hospital of Western Ontario and the YMCA, Families in Action aims to address obesity among children as the key to preventing type-2 diabetes.

"We know childhood obesity is a growing concern that has major long-term health care implications for the future," says Dr. Meizi He, Nutrition Researcher/Educator, Public Health Research Education and Development Program (PHRED), REED Services, at the Middlesex-London Health Unit and part of the Families in Action team. "This is a made-in-London initiative that addresses a much broader societal problem and it's our first step to making these resources available to many kids at risk across the province."

A one-year grant from the Public Health Agency of Canada's Provincial Diabetes Strategy was also announced today, allowing Families in Action to create a resource kit which will be shared with similar groups in Toronto, Hamilton and Ottawa.

"We hope that this research will provide valuable information describing the effectiveness of a community-based approach to preventing childhood obesity and its associated risk for type-2 diabetes," says Dr. Stewart Harris, diabetes expert at the Schulich School of Medicine & Dentistry and a member of the Families in Action team.

Initially, the program will focus its attention on children and families from London's Latino community. Through the initiative, children between the ages of 6 and 12 will be screened for certain risk factors and, if they meet the requirements, will enter into a program that combines healthy eating and physical activity.