SIU School of Medicine

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Division of General Internal Medicine

Childhood Obesity Research

Springfield Collaborative for Active Child Health

A new coalition to battle the problem of overweight and obese children in central Illinois has been awarded a $100,000 community engagement grant by Blue Cross-Blue Shield of Illinois (BCBSIL). The grant is one of 14 that BCBSIL awarded in the state.

The effort, led by SIU faculty in pediatrics, internal medicine, family and community medicine, and the Center for Clinical Research along with various partners, works under the name Springfield Collaborative for Active Child Health. The group is using training and curriculum support from two existing programs: I am Moving-I am Learning/Choosy Kids for pre-school ages and Coordinated Approach To Child Health (CATCH) in elementary grades.

"Our goal is to work together with concerned people and organizations in the community to provide a consistent message of health, physical activity and nutrition across all important areas of our children's lives," explained David E. Steward, MD, Associate Dean for Community Health and Service. "We believe this formalized partnership, which will work to integrate services over time and locations, may be the first field application focused on children in pre-school and early elementary grades and one that we hope will be transferable across the state."

The project members are targeting a group of related medical conditions: metabolic syndrome, overweight and obesity, and diabetes - which now affects more than half of the US adult population. Higher rates of these conditions exist among underserved and under-represented minorities of lower socioeconomic groups across Illinois. The Springfield Collaborative partners are Illinois Department of Public Health (IDPH), Springfield Public School District 186 and Springfield Urban League Head Start. Others will be added as the effort evolves. The group is working to connect with families at PTO groups, athletic gatherings, school-wide family nights and parent-teacher conference sessions. For more information, contact Melissa Jones, Department of Internal Medicine, 217-545-5510.

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