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Team from Fairfield County Joins National Effort to Reverse the Obesity Epidemic
Part of Elite Group Participating in “Collaborate for Healthy Weight,” a Groundbreaking Initiative to Improve Obesity Prevention and Treatment in Local Communities
Fairfield County, South Carolina, March 6, 2012 – With obesity levels in the United States at all-time highs, Fairfield County healthcare leaders are working together to make local improvements through “Collaborate for Healthy Weight,” a national effort to reverse the epidemic through innovative local partnerships between primary care providers, public health professionals, and leaders of community-based organizations. Fairfield County is one of 50 locations across the country participating in this groundbreaking program that will bring solutions to the local community and share strategies on a broader scale. The effort is being led by the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), in partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
The U.S. has the highest rate of obesity among all developed nations. At current rates, three in four Americans will become overweight or obese by 2020.
“Obesity constitutes a grave threat to the health and well-being of our nation, with a particularly strong impact on diverse and disadvantaged communities,” said Charles Homer, MD, MPH, president and CEO of NICHQ, a Boston-based non-profit dedicated to improving the care systems responsible for the health of all children. “We are thrilled to have the opportunity to work with 50 pioneering communities across the country to find breakthrough solutions to this serious public health problem.”
“We are delighted that NICHQ has selected our team from Fairfield County to participate in this initiative based on our solid commitment to achieving healthy weight and health equity in our community,” said team leader Mac Russell, RD, LDN, Chair of Eat Smart Move More Fairfield and dietitian with Fairfield Memorial Hospital. “We look forward to sharing what we learn in this project with communities in other areas of the country.”
Along with Eat Smart Move More Fairfield, the cross-sectoral team also includes representatives from:
• Blue Granite Medical Center
• Fairfield Memorial Hospital
• John A. Martin Primary Health Care Center
• Fairfield Diabetes Education Center
• Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce
• Fairfield County Health Department
• Fairfield County School District
• Upper Midlands Rural Health Network
• Fairfield County Recreational Department
This project will focus on reaching primarily overweight and obese adult and pediatric patients of the John A. Martin Primary Health Care Center and Blue Granite Medical Center. Sandy Kammermann, Research Director for the John A. Martin Primary Health Care Center reports that, “the number of overweight pediatric and adults patients in our center is increasing yearly. We are excited to have the opportunity to participate in this nationwide Collaborative for Healthy Weight and perhaps make a difference in Fairfield County”.
The 50 teams from across the country participating in the Collaborate for Healthy Weight initiative will learn from national experts, exchange ideas, and create plans for becoming best practice models for other communities to follow. The project will run through February 2013. To see a complete list of participating locations, go to: www.collaborateforhealthyweight.org/About/Collaborative/Meet-the-HWC-Teams.aspx.
“We are so proud of these communities that are laying the groundwork for tackling this complex and serious issue,” Dr. Homer added. “As their work gets underway, these efforts will make a huge difference in the lives of children and their families across the nation.”
“Collaborate for Healthy Weight” is a two-phased project supported through the Prevention and Public Health Fund under the Affordable Care Act and made possible by a cooperative agreement from HRSA. NICHQ is leading a coalition of partner organizations that is managing all program logistics and overseeing the work of participating teams.
For more information about this initiative, visit www.collaborateforhealthyweight.org or www.NICHQ.org.