NIH Says "We Can!" Prevent Childhood Obesity
The new "We Can!" educational program aims to help parents discourage behaviors that can cause their children to become obese.
Schmalfeldt: Calling obesity a public-health crisis, Surgeon General Doctor Richard Carmona announced the launch of "WE CAN!": "Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition". The national education program is geared towards parents of children aged eight through 13 — focusing on ways to encourage healthy eating, and increase physical activity. NIH Director Doctor Elias Zerhouni talked about some of the goals of the program.
Zerhouni: This is what we need the parents to do, is educate themselves — understand the impact of eating out too often; not being selective in how you eat; not cooking at home, with the appropriate nutritional strategy; and letting, for example, TV dominate the activity.
Schmalfeldt: Doctor Elizabeth Nabel is Director of the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute; she talked about some of the future problems that face today's obese children.
Nabel: We know that — if children are overweight and obese during their youth — they're going to go on to have serious health problems as adults: they're more likely to develop heart disease; they're more likely to develop diabetes. So, it really is important for us — as parents and health-care providers — to be responsible for educating our children now.
Schmalfeldt: The NHLBI developed the "WE CAN!" program — which is also being promoted by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development; And the National Cancer Institute — as well as several national, private-sector organizations. Doctor Zerhouni talked about the NIH resources being directed towards the fight against obesity...
Zerhouni: We spent almost $450-million in research for obesity — and we've put our research plan together across 19 institutes. And, this initiative — called 'WE CAN!' — is part of that activity that we believe is critical to the country.
Schmalfeldt: You can get more information about the "WE CAN!" program online, at wecan.nhlbi.nih.gov — or you can call toll-free, 866-35-"WE-CAN". From the National Institutes of Health, I'm Bill Schmalfeldt, in Bethesda, Maryland.