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NIH, National Council Of Negro Women To Reduce Childhood Overweight

Armen Hareyan's picture

Childhood Overweight

Officials from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced a collaboration today with the National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) to help African American children maintain a healthy weight. As part of this collaboration, NCNW members around the U.S. will offer a fun, fast-paced training program for parents, and one for children, developed by the National Institutes of Health. The programs are based on NIH's successful We Can! or "Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition," a science-based national education program to help children ages 8-13 stay at a healthy weight.

The We Can! program provides parents and caregivers with the tools, strategies, and tactics they need to address the problem of childhood overweight. It supports population-based programming that provides a coordinated response to childhood overweight through community mobilization. The program is currently being implemented through a network of organizations in more than 450 community sites in 44 states.

"This is a perfect collaboration," said Yvonne T. Maddox, Ph.D., Deputy Director of the NIH's National Institute of Child Health and Human Development. "Children are our most valuable resource and NCNW can help us get our health information to families who can benefit from it."

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The announcement was made at the 53rd annual meeting of the NCNW in Washington, D.C.

Dr. Maddox explained that some of the We Can! community-based program components use a facilitator to explain the practical strategies included in the program materials to families and their children. NCNW members will fill this purpose, scheduling workshops and demonstrating the materials to members of their respective communities. Other components of the program include media outreach, partnership development with over 40 national and corporate partners, resources for parents, health care providers, and others, and a comprehensive Website.

NCNW joins these other organizations implementing We Can! in community centers, schools, health care settings, corporate wellness programs, and faith-based organizations to help families work with their children toward healthier lifestyles. Last week, Acting U.S. Surgeon General Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., announced a new partnership between We Can! and the Association of Children's Museums at the Boston Children's Museum. The event marked his first public outreach activity as chair of the Department of Health and Human Services' new Childhood Overweight and Obesity Prevention Initiative, which highlights new approaches to obesity prevention and the promotion of healthy weight for children. In April 2007, NIH established the We Can! City/County program to help cities and counties across the nation mobilize their communities to prevent childhood overweight.

"Overweight and obesity are a threat to the health of African American youth," said Dr. Dorothy I. Height, Chair and President Emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. "The NCNW is committed to helping our children develop the healthy habits that will serve them through a lifetime."

Specifically, NCNW leadership will work with its member families to carry out We Can! components programs for parents and children.