HL20: Ginny Ehrlich, MPH, D.Ed—Lessons on Childhood Obesity, for Kids and Adults

Karen Minich-Pourshadi, for HealthLeaders Media , December 13, 2012

Additional achievements include:

  • Building a coalition of major health insurers, employers, and national medical associations to provide more than 2.6 million children with access to at least four follow up visits with their primary care provider and at least four follow up visits with a registered dietitian each year as a part of their regular health insurance benefits.
  • Fully 80% of participating schools have made measurable progress in creating a healthier school environment.
  • More than half of the participating schools improved the nutritional values of their school meals.
  • More than half have dedicated at least 20% of their after-school program time to physical activity.

The Alliance's efforts don't stop at HSP; Ehrlich says it wanted to create a comprehensive program that reached kids in as many ways as possible. So the organization reached out after-school programs to bring national healthy eating and physical activity standards to communities around the country.

The Alliance also partnered with the American Academy of Pediatrics to use the best-selling children's book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle, to teach families about healthy eating habits at home. Over 17,500 pediatrician offices have received free copies of a specially created version of the book including growth charts and parent handouts. "We are reducing BMI or weight in students who are participating in our program and they're consuming fewer sugar-sweetened beverages, more fruits and vegetables, and are developing healthier eating and exercise habits overall. That's our goal, to ensure this program is really having a positive impact on kids' health," says Ehrlich.

Karen Minich-Pourshadi is a Senior Editor with HealthLeaders Media.
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