According to the American Academy of Pediatrics and the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control, excess weight - often caused by improper dietary habits and a lack of appropriate exercise - is resulting in children becoming chronically ill at a young age.
The wellness intervention program - an extension of HMG's newly announced Lose It 4 Good initiative - will be piloted at Kennedy Elementary School beginning this month. Parents will have the option for their child to participate in a body mass index (BMI) screening of their child by trained professionals from Holston Medical Group in the school setting.
The screening will be used to determine whether a child is at risk for being overweight or underweight. Height, weight, age and gender will be used to determine the BMI percentile. Children will be screened individually and will not be in view of fellow classmates. Only medical professionals will observe the results of the screening.
"Childhood weight concerns are very serious. It's more than a cosmetic issue. It's a long-term health issue," said HMG pediatrician Dr. Amy Marlow. "Our desire is that of providing early intervention. Together, we hope to give children an opportunity for a future of better health."
Parents will be contacted by letter with the individual results of their child's screening. If a child is identified to have a weight that places him or her at health risk, further intervention will be offered, including the option for enrollment in HMG's Lose It 4 Good - a healthy living and nutritional eating initiative for children and teens.
The program is expected to be introduced in all Kingsport schools during the 2007-08 school year. School officials believe that promoting a healthy lifestyle at an early age through physical activity and a nutritious diet will reduce long-term health issues and will result in higher student attendance and achievement rates.
"Kingsport City Schools is very fortunate to have the opportunity to partner with Holston Medical Group in obtaining BMIs for our students," said KCS Nurse Supervisor Vicki Johnston. "As Tennessee ranks third in the nation for childhood obesity and fifth for type 2 diabetes in children, this endeavor is very important in promoting a lifetime of healthy choices for our children."
For more information about the Lose It 4 Good program contact Johnston at 378-2110.