Kids can get in shape, if parents step it up!

I’ve been saying for a long time that small changes over the long haul in fitness and nutrition are the best for all of us. And, in fact, that principle lead me to launch my Small Change, Big Results series recently on Pediatrics Now.

So, I was delighted to read today that National Institutes of Health is launching a program called We Can! with the same exact premise – small changes over time produce the biggest long term results.

This program does what I’ve been saying a program has to do – focus on the family. According to the Associated Press,

“We Can! — short for Ways to Enhance Children’s Activity & Nutrition — is aimed at kids 8-13 and pushes common sense steps to keep off weight, such as eating fewer high-fat foods, exercising more and spending less time staring at television and computer screens.

But it doesn’t just try to persuade kids to give up the fun foods and activities that pack on pounds. It relies on parents to make it easier for kids to make healthier choices.”

The parents interviewed in the AP story gave We Can! great reviews and felt the program was really working for their families and could see the difference in their kids. This is great news. But, there is bad news. This program will do no one any good if the word doesn’t get out. I hope more schools in more states adopt this program and really reach out to kids. I was disheartened earlier this week to learn there were programs here in my own state of Massachusetts for obese kids I didn’t even know about not too far from where I practiced pediatrics. Where did I learn about it? CNN on Dr. Gupta’s blog. Reading Dr. Gupta’s blog left me wondering why I hadn’t heard about it sooner? Where was the press here in Massachusetts on this? I can’t help but now be concerned that there are many other wonderful programs in all our states that we just don’t know about leaving kids and families in need of nutrition and fitness help in trouble longer.

So, now that you know about We Can!, if you think you’re community would benefit and you haven’t yet seen it, click here to learn how to get your community in the action.

Image: We Can! website

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