The Springfield Collaborative for Active Child Health (Springfield Collaborative) is a growing, academic-community partnership dedicated to the prevention and reduction of child obesity, and the improvement of children’s physical activity and nutritional behaviors in central Illinois. Over the past 30 years, childhood obesity has more than doubled in children and tripled in adolescents. The long term, chronic health risks are serious: coronary heart disease, type 2 diabetes, hypertension and dyslipidemia, pre-diabetes, impaired fasting glucose, sleep apnea, bone and joint problems and depression. Obese children have a lower overall life expectancy than children of healthy weight. The State of Illinois has the 4th highest rate of obese and overweight children in the nation.
The Springfield Collaborative promotes consistent health messaging to improve the nutrition and physical activity habits of area children. Partners, medical students, residents and primary care providers work with local and national experts to implement and evaluate 2 evidence-based healthy lifestyle programs and activities. Results of increased moderate to vigorous physical activity (MVPA) and improved healthy lifestyle habits have been presented nationally, including a panel presentation and poster at the CDC’s “Weight of the Nation” conference last year.
Springfield Collaborative members from SIU School of Medicine include David Steward, MD, MPH and Melissa Cleer, BS, Medicine; Tracey Smith, DNP, PHCNS, MS, Kalea Engle, MPH, and Hope Cherry, Family & Community Medicine; Marthe dela Cruz, MD, Pediatrics; Susan Ryherd, EdM, Whitney Zahnd, MS, and Terri Wilson, BA, Center for Clinical Research; and SIUSM students Dan Sadowski and Kate Lowry. Other partner members of the Executive Committee include Margie Harris, RN, BSN, MPH, Illinois Department of Public Health; Val Rogers, RN, MA, Springfield School District 186; Linda Cress, Springfield Urban League; and Jeff Sunderlin, MS, YMCA of the USA.