Tradition campus receives grant for childhood obesity program
Children who grow up overweight or obese risk developing secondary diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, heart/renal disease, and joint dysfunction. The William Carey University Tradition campus has partnered with Coastal Family Health Center and the National Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute to address the risk factors that lead to obesity and to encourage healthy eating and exercise habits for middle school students.
The university received a $41,120 grant from the United Way of Jackson and George Counties for the “Interprofessional Team Approach to Childhood Obesity” project. This will be an interactive hands-on adaptation of the Centers for Disease Control Diabetes Primary Prevention Program and will focus on students in grades 6-8 at Moss Point Middle School. Coastal Family Health Center operates a primary care clinic at the school, and a family nurse practitioner will assist with the project.
“This concept grew out of discussions among the three partners and is in alignment with United Way Areas of Focus,” said Wanda Jones, assistant professor of nursing at William Carey University. “These three partners all have a passion for addressing the risk factors and determinants of health that lead to obesity and subsequent diabetes.”
Faculty and students from the William Carey University School of Nursing will work with staff from Coastal Family Health Care, Moss Point Schools and the National Diabetes and Obesity Research Institute to provide health assessments, educational information, and activities.
During the course of the program, students’ height, weight and blood pressure will be measured. The students will log their food intake and physical activity, either on paper, online or using an app on their smartphone. “Children love technology, and we will offer use of various free apps for the participants to record calorie intake, activities, and calories burned,” Jones said.
The program will begin in the 2017 school year, and Jones said the goal is to have 100 participants in the first year. If funding is approved for a second year, she said they plan to expand the program to a school in George County.
Jones said the ultimate goal is to achieve consistent participation in the program in order to increase the students’ knowledge about healthy nutrition, appropriate physical activities, and the use of motivational techniques to lose weight. Family support also will be a component of the program. Parents will receive similar educational and motivational techniques and will be encouraged to participate in the program along with their children.
For more information, please contact Wanda Jones at William Carey University, (601) 318-6696.