The AAP Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight, with founding sponsorship from Nestlé, will translate emerging science into practical tools to help prevent and treat childhood obesity.
CHICAGO -- The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) is launching a major new initiative in its fight against childhood obesity, focusing on both prevention and treatment of what has become a major threat to children’s health in the U.S. The new AAP Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight, to be launched Oct. 20-23 at the AAP National Conference & Exhibition in New Orleans, will lead the academy’s efforts in providing pediatricians, families and communities with evidence-based resources to help prevent and treat childhood obesity.
“Obesity is epidemic in childhood and presents a threat to both child health and to health across the lifespan,” said Sandra Hassink, MD, FAAP, chair of the steering committee of the Institute. “Pediatricians are in the best position to combat childhood obesity because they are dedicated to children’s health and well-being and build long-term, trusting relationships with families. The Institute for Healthy Childhood Weight will provide pediatricians and other professionals with the tools and knowledge they need to provide care that begins with research and ends in real results.”
The Institute, housed within the AAP, will be funded by a diverse base of corporate sponsors and grants from government and foundations that understand and support the mission and vision of the Institute. As the founding sponsor, Nestlé is providing the substantial funding required to launch the Institute.
“In the 10 years since we embarked on the Nestlé Feeding Infants and Toddlers Study (FITS) to understand childhood dietary patterns, our commitment to addressing the childhood obesity epidemic has only deepened,” said Jose Saavedra, M.D., FAAP, medical director, Nestlé Nutrition. “Our support as the founding sponsor for this new initiative builds on this long-term dedication to the healthy growth and development of all children.”
The Institute will focus on translating policies, best practices and emerging scientific evidence into practical solutions for health care providers, communities and individual families.
For example, earlier this year the AAP released the Healthy Active Living for Families resources, based on research the AAP conducted with parents of young children to learn what type of nutrition and exercise guidance they would welcome. The project, supported in part by a grant from Nestlé, created a set of tools on HealthyChildren.org, the AAP website for parents, which offer families interactive features, quizzes and personalized tips to help them make healthy choices around nutrition and exercise for children from birth to age 5. The project will be demonstrated at the Academy’s meeting in New Orleans Sunday, Oct. 21, and can be seen at www.healthychildren.org/growinghealthy.
For pediatricians, the AAP developed the Pediatric ePractice: Optimizing Your Obesity Care, a new virtual office platform funded by a grant from United Health Foundation that showcases all the resources pediatric practices need to conduct obesity prevention, assessment, and treatment.
Many organizations are playing vital roles in the field of obesity prevention; the AAP will fill an important gap by focusing on the health of all children, including those 30 percent who are already overweight and obese.
“The Academy has been working on obesity prevention and treatment for more than a decade. The Academy will be able to expand its reach and magnify its efforts in this field with the help of Nestlé in launching the Institute,” Dr. Hassink said. “Pediatricians have a unique relationship with families that often spans two decades – beginning with the birth of a child and continuing until that child grows into an adult. This close, long-term relationship affords pediatricians the chance to provide expert knowledge and motivation to help families lead healthy, active lives."