AAP receives grant to promote awareness on childhood obesity

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The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) announces that it has been awarded a $250,000 grant from MetLife Foundation, to promote community and regional approaches to obesity prevention. Through the grant, AAP will launch two national grant programs, which are focused on encouraging both established pediatricians and pediatricians-in-training to develop collaborative methods to educate communities about the health effects of childhood obesity.

The first program will offer "Healthy Active Living Chapter Grants," awarding five AAP chapters with $20,000 grants to initiate projects at state and local levels. The winning programs will encourage pediatricians to address obesity by building strong partnerships and working with children and families to make healthier lifestyle choices by eating better and exercising daily. These chapters will work collaboratively to focus on obesity prevention in early childhood and address health disparities around the issue.

The second program provides "Obesity Prevention Residency Training Grants," which will help pediatricians-in-training gain experience working on innovative, community-based initiatives that address obesity prevention. Five residency programs will receive grants up to $15,000 to enhance their community pediatrics training programs, with a goal to develop lasting partnerships between the residency program and the community.

Childhood obesity is a serious health condition:

  • One in three children and youth (ages 2-19) in the United States are already overweight or obese.
  • About 30 percent of the pediatric population (2-19 years old) has a Body Mass Index (BMI) at or above the 85(th) percentile.
  • Health problems associated with overweight and obesity include cardiovascular diseases, asthma and chronic lifelong diseases such as type 2 diabetes.
  • Overweight and obese children are more likely to become obese adults.

Preventing obesity in children plays a significant role in curbing adult obesity, and pediatricians' efforts to promote healthy lifestyles to parents and children can have a positive impact across the nation.

"We are grateful for the opportunity to work with MetLife Foundation on these programs," said David T. Tayloe, Jr., MD, FAAP, president of the AAP. "We believe that physical activity, access to healthy foods, and the obesity-prevention strategies that pediatricians can teach children and parents are critical to success in the campaign against obesity."

"Pediatricians are an important source of health advice for families," said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. "We are pleased to support this initiative, which is aimed at establishing good eating and exercise habits in children at an early age -- habits that can have a profound impact on the health and well-being of the next generation of Americans."

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