Marshfield, Wisconsin, Decides It Takes a Whole Village to Raise a Healthy Child
MARSHFIELD, Wis., July 2 /PRNewswire/ -- Alarmed at the rising number of overweight children and adults, and the staggering medical costs associated with obesity, doctors, educators, employers and community organizations in Marshfield, Wisconsin, have launched a Healthy Lifestyles Coalition to get adults and especially children to be physically fit and active. Marshfield Clinic Cardiologist Dr. Charles S. McCauley, one of the Coalition's founders, got interested when he saw a growing number of younger people with heart disease in his medical practice. "We are super-sizing ourselves into an early grave," he said. Key to the Coalition's success will be the entire community's participation in coming up with changes and then implementing them. "Just telling people to lose weight or exercise more only works if people already are motivated to change," McCauley said. "We want to change long-standing habits for large numbers of people. That requires support of the whole community." Changes already in the works include offering more healthful food choices in school cafeterias and increased activity in physical education classes, according to David H. Smette, Ed.D., superintendent for the School District of Marshfield. And an example of many possible small changes to improve lifestyle behaviors would include a proposal to ban handheld video games on school playgrounds. The community initiative is focusing on children because habits become engrained early on, McCauley explained. Also, the number of overweight children has tripled during the past three years nationally. "Hopefully, if children embrace a healthy lifestyle, they may encourage their parents to do so as well," he said. The Healthy Lifestyles Initiative also calls upon local businesses to participate in making changes. "Diseases associated with obesity and overweight, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and even cancer, are some of the key drivers of increased health care costs," McCauley said. "Employers not only care about the health of their employees but they are also very concerned about rising insurance rates in part due to obesity-related diseases." In addition to funds from Marshfield Clinic, the Initiative is seeking funding from the Centers for Disease Control and National Institutes of Health. McCauley and others plan to measure the effectiveness of their efforts and then offer the Initiative as a model to be duplicated in other communities. Marshfield Clinic is one of the largest health-care providers in the U.S., serving central, northern and western Wisconsin. Marshfield Clinic's Research Foundation is known for many outstanding research projects, and is at the forefront of the international pursuit of genetic medicine. MAKE YOUR OPINION COUNT - Click Here http://tbutton.prnewswire.com/prn/11690X81077490
SOURCE Marshfield Clinic
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