Children's Hospital center joins national program on kids health

August 08, 2012

This summer, the Center for Nutrition and Activity Promotion at Penn State Hershey Children’s Hospital joined We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition) as a registered We Can! community site. We Can! is a science-based, National Institutes of Health (NIH) movement that teaches parents, caregivers, kids and communities ways to eat healthier, increase physical activity and limit screen time to help children ages 8-13 maintain a healthy weight.

“In We Can! we’ve found an easy-to-use, science-based program that not only provides us with valuable resources -- it also lets us tap into the expertise of more than a thousand other communities that are already committed to using We Can! to help overcome weight gain in their communities,” said Donna Kephart, center executive director.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, approximately 17 percent (or 12.5 million) children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese. In addition, obesity prevalence among children and adolescents has almost tripled since 1980. In Dauphin County, 34 percent of children in grades kindergarten through twelve are estimated to be overweight, according to the PA Department of Health Growth Screens/BMI-For–Age Percentiles by Health District and County.
 “We Can! is designed to empower parents and communities such as Hershey and surrounding communities to adopt healthier lifestyles by offering programs and materials based on the latest obesity prevention research,” said Karen Donato, coordinator of overweight and obesity research applications for the NIH’s National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) and We Can! project coordinator.
We Can! is spearheaded by NHLBI and three other NIH institutes -- the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development and the National Cancer Institute. More than 1,000 sites in all 50 states and the District of Columbia, and 11 other countries, have committed to using We Can!, with new sites continuing to sign up regularly. 
Recently, CNAP coordinated a community forum for local parents of children ages 2-13 to discuss personal experiences in helping their children maintain a healthy weight. Findings from this forum will be used to help revise and update We Can! parent materials.


(Media Contacts)

Last Updated August 09, 2012