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Highmark Provides Resources to Fight against Childhood Obesity

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Highmark Provides Resources to Fight against Childhood Obesity

Highmark Provides Resources to Fight against Childhood Obesity

Childhood obesity is a key reason for lifelong illness. It can lead to severe health conditions in the young adults. It can also lead to untimely death in adults due to lifestyle diseases like diabetes, hypertension and cardiac diseases. More significantly, childhood obesity costs country's healthcare system almost $14 billion per year.

To combat this continual rise of childhood obesity, Highmark has introduced a new Childhood Obesity Physician Toolkit to over 3500 pediatricians, family physicians and pediatric specialists in the western and central PA. It is developed in partnership with the healthcare professionals having best practices and knowledge on assessing and treating obesity in children as well as providing tips and guidelines to the parents on their child's activity and nutrition, and offering resources to assist doctors dealing with obesity issues even better.

According to Dr. Mary Goessler, a renowned pediatrician and medical director at Highmark, childhood obesity is simply an epidemic that needs proper collaboration and coordination. And, providing the physicians with this toolkit would help them assure a healthy future to about 33% PA children who are overweight or obese.

Study revealed that children with overweight or obesity get admitted in the hospitals at least 2 or 3 times more than the children with normal weight. It also shows that the obese children's healthcare costs much more than normal-weight children.

Dr. Ronald Williams, pediatrician at the Penn State Hershey Children's Hospital said that this toolkit represents a healthy partnership between the pediatric community and Highmark. And, as per him, it would go further helping them to better understand obesity symptoms along with associated complications and to find solutions to treat them well.

The first edition of Childhood Obesity Physician Toolkit was developed in 2004 in collaboration with the doctors in practice. Directed by the Highmark, the team participated in the community-centered discussion on the increasing rate of childhood obesity and also recognized the requirement of providing doctors with these tools.

Update added to the toolkit is improved content to help doctors to identify obesity and to treat it, even earlier. The new edition is also included of charts as well as other useful resources to measure the risk factors for the derived complications like high blood sugar and hypertension. Tips for beginning a conversation with the parents on their child's over weight and related health conditions are also added with this toolkit.

Along with Highmark's focus on obesity in children by means of the toolkit for the doctors, its $100 million funding to Highmark Foundation for Highmark Healthy High 5 lets the foundation sponsor numbers of community as well as school based programs all though the western and central Pennsylvania. Such programs are intended to provide resources, tools and free chances to let children learn about healthy habits, good nutrition and significance of physical exercise.

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