Healthcare Business News

Primary care a focus in CDC anti-childhood-obesity effort

By Andis Robeznieks
Posted: September 29, 2011 - 3:00 pm ET

Primary-care and public health initiatives are the cornerstones of a new $25 million project from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention targeting obesity in children between the ages of 2 and 12 who are covered by the Children's Health Insurance Program.

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The four-year Childhood Obesity Demonstration Project, funding for which was made available by the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, will build on existing programs while working to identify effective healthcare and community strategies for promoting healthy, "active" living, according to a CDC news release.

The project is said to seek innovative approaches that can combine preventive-care doctor visits and "supportive changes" in schools, food stores and community parks with a focus on having children improve health behaviors by themselves and with the help of their family and community.

The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, San Diego State University and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will serve as research facilities; each will receive about $6.2 million to identify effective obesity prevention strategies. The University of Houston will receive $4.2 million to serve as an "evaluation center" to determine the successful strategies and disseminate information about them.

"Obese children are more likely to have asthma, depression, diabetes and other serious and costly health problems," CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden said in the release. "This project will help figure out ways our children can grow up to lead long, healthy and productive lives."

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