ATLANTA, Sept. 5, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- A behavioral insights research study commissioned by Children's Healthcare of Atlanta suggests that while the majority of Georgia parents recognized the severity of the childhood obesity epidemic in the state, parents of overweight and obese children still don't believe the issue affects their family. With Georgia having the second highest childhood obesity rate in the country, Children's has kicked off the latest initiative of its Strong4Life movement called "The Talk" to jump-start a personalization of the issue for these parents.
With childhood obesity reaching epidemic rates in the country, it's not surprising that parents now fear The Talk about weight and body issues with their kids more than the talks about sex and drugs. Released to coincide with Childhood Obesity Awareness Month and the launch of the new Strong4Life website, The Talk helps parents realize that before they can talk to their kids, they have to have an honest conversation with themselves about family health risks, habits and the kind of role models they want to be for their children. Additionally, The Talk helps parents learn that the eventual dreaded conversation with their children is actually not about their weight, but their health, making it less intimidating. The website walks parents through this self-reflection while building their confidence and providing the necessary tools and resources to take their first simple steps toward a healthier family.
"As a mother and pediatrician, I know parents are willing to go to any length for the health of their child, so why stop when it comes to issues regarding childhood obesity? It's time for parents to be stronger than the thoughts that hold them back," said Dr. Stephanie Walsh, Medical Director of Wellness, Children's Healthcare of Atlanta. "The Talk asks parents to first take a step back, candidly evaluate their family's habits, choose one simple step and then, only once they have done their due diligence, engage their family in a positive and reassuring way."
The behavioral insights research study completed in February 2012 included surveys with 1,043 families with children 0 - 11 years old, representing a true cross-section of Georgia, including children classified as normal weight, overweight and obese (according to the CDC's BMI classifications). From those families, 42 percent of families were identified with overweight or obese kids. Of those 42 percent of families' surveyed with overweight or obese children, 76 percent misclassified their children as either underweight or normal weight. Click here for details on the methodology behind the study.
Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, one of the nation's largest pediatric hospitals and a leader on the issue of childhood obesity, developed the Strong4Life movement in 2011 to ignite societal change and reverse the epidemic of childhood obesity and its associated diseases in Georgia. Strong4Life launched an ad campaign to gain awareness of the crisis that garnered national attention and, while deemed by some as controversial, accomplished its goal to help raise the level of conversation about the epidemic in the state. Since then, Strong4Life has been in the community reaching families through school and provider training programs, community partnerships and policy change efforts. Additionally, Strong4Life provides parents and caregivers the support they need to accomplish their goals, while making nutrition and physical activity habits fun. Rooted in Children's Healthcare of Atlanta's clinical behavior change model for treating overweight and obese children, Strong4Life strives to help families recognize and identify the risks in their own family so that sustainable lifestyle change can then occur.
About Children's Healthcare of Atlanta
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Children's Healthcare of Atlanta, a not-for-profit organization, is committed to enhancing the lives of children through excellence in patient care, research and education. Managing more than half a million patient visits annually at three hospitals and 17 neighborhood locations, Children's is one of the largest clinical care providers for children in the country. Children's offers access to more than 30 pediatric specialties and is ranked among the top children's hospitals by U.S News & World Report. With generous philanthropic and volunteer support, Children's has made an impact in the lives of children in Georgia, the United States and throughout the world. Visit www.choa.org for more information.
SOURCE Children's Healthcare of Atlanta