|NIH Announces Collaboration With National Council
of Negro Women to Reduce Childhood Overweight
Officials from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) announced
a collaboration today with the National Council of Negro Women
(NCNW) to help African American children maintain a healthy weight.
As part of this collaboration, NCNW members around the U.S. will
offer a fun, fast-paced training program for parents, and one for
children, developed by the National Institutes of Health. The programs
are based on NIH's successful We Can! or "Ways to
Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition," a science-based
national education program to help children ages 8-13 stay at a
The We Can! program provides parents and caregivers with
the tools, strategies, and tactics they need to address the problem
of childhood overweight. It supports population-based programming
that provides a coordinated response to childhood overweight through
community mobilization. The program is currently being implemented
through a network of organizations in more than 450 community sites
in 44 states. Information is available at http://wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov.
"This is a perfect collaboration," said Yvonne T. Maddox,
Ph.D., Deputy Director of the NIH's National Institute of Child
Health and Human Development. "Children are our most valuable
resource and NCNW can help us get our health information to families
who can benefit from it."
The announcement was made at the 53rd annual meeting of the NCNW
in Washington, D.C.
Dr. Maddox explained that some of the We Can! community-based
program components use a facilitator to explain the practical strategies
included in the program materials to families and their children.
NCNW members will fill this purpose, scheduling workshops and demonstrating
the materials to members of their respective communities. Other
components of the program include media outreach, partnership development
with over 40 national and corporate partners, resources for parents,
health care providers, and others, and a comprehensive Website.
NCNW joins these other organizations implementing We Can! in
community centers, schools, health care settings, corporate wellness
programs, and faith-based organizations to help families work with
their children toward healthier lifestyles. Last week, Acting U.S.
Surgeon General Rear Admiral Steven K. Galson, M.D., M.P.H., announced
a new partnership between We Can! and the Association
of Children's Museums at the Boston Children's Museum. The event
marked his first public outreach activity as chair of the Department
of Health and Human Services' new Childhood Overweight and Obesity
Prevention Initiative, which highlights new approaches to obesity
prevention and the promotion of healthy weight for children. In
April 2007, NIH established the We Can! City/County
program to help cities and counties across the nation mobilize
their communities to prevent childhood overweight.
"Overweight and obesity are a threat to the health of African
American youth," said Dr. Dorothy I. Height, Chair and President
Emerita of the National Council of Negro Women, Inc. "The
NCNW is committed to helping our children develop the healthy habits
that will serve them through a lifetime."
Specifically, NCNW leadership will work with its member families
to carry out We Can! components programs for parents and
One key program is We Can! Energize Our Families: Parents
Program, a multi-session program that covers the basics
of maintaining a healthy weight. The fun and hands-on sessions,
along with the companion parent handbook and workbook, focus
on helping participants learn skills that can help their families
make healthy food choices and become more physically active.
Information on the Parents Program is available on the Web at http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan_mats/parent_curr.htm.
We Can! also offers three curricula for youth. For example, Media-Smart
Youth: Eat, Think, and Be Active! is an interactive after-school
education program for young people ages 11 to 13 developed by
NICHD. It is designed to help teach young people about the complex
media world around them, and how it can affect their health — especially
in the areas of nutrition and physical activity. Media-Smart
Youth teaches young people to analyze, evaluate, and create
media messages — skills that can help them make informed
choices about nutrition and physical activity. More information
about Media-Smart Youth is available at http://www.nichd.nih.gov/msy/.
We Can! also offers CATCH (Coordinated Approach
to Child Health) Kids Club, an after-school program proven
to help elementary school age children improve nutrition and increase
physical activity. The program uses a coordinated approach to helping
children adopt healthy dietary and physical activity behaviors
by positively changing the health environments of recreation programs,
schools, and homes. The third youth curriculum, S.M.A.R.T. (Student
Media Awareness to Reduce Television), is an in-school curriculum
designed to teach third and fourth grade children about the need
to reduce television, videotape and DVD viewing, and video and
computer game use.
Dr. Maddox noted that the We Can! program is based on
research that the NIH has supported for over a decade. The program
conveys what researchers have learned about preventing overweight;
it is designed to help families and community groups teach children
to make better food choices, be more physically active, and reduce
the amount of time spent in front of television and computer screens.
As with adults, Dr. Maddox said, overweight and obesity put youth
at risk for such health problems as type 2 diabetes, high blood
pressure, high blood cholesterol, heart disease, and asthma.
About We Can!
We Can! is a science-based national education program
developed by the National Institutes of Health — a component
of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services — to
help children ages 8-13 stay at a healthy weight. We Can! is
unique among existing youth obesity-prevention initiatives in its
focus on reaching parents and families as a primary group for influencing
young people. The program offers flexible resources complete with
partnership ideas and outreach opportunities to unite community
organizations. Four of the National Institutes of Health have combined
their unique resources and activities to create We Can!:
the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; the National Institute
of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; the National Institute
of Child Health and Human Development; and the National Cancer
Institute. For more information, visit http://wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov or
call toll-free 866-35-WE CAN (866-359-3226)
The NICHD sponsors research on development, before and after birth;
maternal, child, and family health; reproductive biology and population
issues; and medical rehabilitation. For more information, visit
the Institute's Web site at http://www.nichd.nih.gov.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) — The Nation's
Medical Research Agency — includes 27 Institutes and
Centers and is a component of the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting
and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research,
and it investigates the causes, treatments, and cures for both
common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and
its programs, visit www.nih.gov.