Archive for the ‘health care costs’ Category


Childhood Obesity Crisis: An Update

Tuesday, August 5th, 2014

Childhood Obesity Crisis: An Update

The Continuing High Cost of Doing Nothing

By Dr. Stan Bassin

Obesity is a modern health problem that impacts the modern world. Globally, more than 1 billion adults and 17.6 million children are estimated to be overweight (World Health Organization, 2009) and increasing. The proportional distribution of overweight around the world tends to vary with the developmental state of different countries. In developing nations, characterized by low standards of living and high population growth, underweight seems to be more prevalent than overweight. As countries modernize and begin to shift toward improved socioeconomic conditions, the wealthier portion of the population experiences an increase in the prevalence of high body mass index (BMI, the measure generally used as the indicator for obesity), while the poorer remain thin or underweight as a result of differing amounts of energy usage for tasks like transportation, and different levels of food accessibility and quality.

Further economic development results in another BMI shift, with the wealthy population receiving better nutrition and education which decreases BMI levels of the wealthy, as compared to members of the lower classes who experience an increased prevalence of high BMI (World Health Organization, 2009). The World Health Organization cites various obesity-associated health problems, many of which can be treated with an increase in physical activity. These include high blood pressure, stroke and other cardiovascular problems; insulin resistance and abnormal glucose metabolism; sleep apnea, which can lead to neurocognitive defects (Dietz, 1998); and orthopedic ailments (World Health Organization, 2004). Other consequences include menstrual irregularities, as well as mental and emotional health problems. Overweight youth may have an elevated risk of developing asthma (Strong et al, 2005), and obesity is often associated with a reduction in deep breathing, narrowing of airways, shortness of breath and increased wheezing (Lucas, 2005).

The Cost of obesity related diseases is listed below in the Major United States Cities.

Childhood Obesity Crisis: An Update

Source: Gallup

Unfortunately according to Ladabaum, in the latest Study from Stanford School of Medicine 2014, we are not over eating but we are under exercising.

So, what can we do about this crisis?

There is not one simple way to solve the childhood obesity crisis, and many solutions are needed.  One solution is to get kids moving in school, since children spend a significant amount of time in the school setting (see Childhood Obesity: Quality Physical Education as a Solution video to learn more).  Evidence-based physical education programs like SPARK can help increase youth physical activity during the school day.  In addition, quality before/after school programs, integrated classroom physical activity breaks, and recess can provide additional opportunities for physical activity in school.

SPARK has continuously demonstrated it can elevate the rate of youth physical activity through its evidence-based and field-tested materials and training programs.  To learn more about evidence-based, quality physical education as a solution to the childhood obesity crisis, click here.  And, do your part by advocating for quality physical education and physical activity programs in your school.

Dr. Stanley Bassin

University of California, Irvine

Clinical Professor

Preventive Cardiology

Carol M. White: A Lasting Legacy of Physical Education

Tuesday, January 7th, 2014
On October 21, the physical education advocacy community lost a great hero and mentor.
Carol M. White was many things in her life—a teacher, a congressional aide, a wife, a mother. Though White passed at the far-too-young age of 66, her legacy will live on from the important work she did advocating for quality, standards-based physical education programs in schools.
White was instrumental in the passing of the Physical Education for Progress (PEP) Act that was introduced in 1999. Her voice was so strong when it came to the legislation that it was later renamed in her honor to the Carol M. White Physical Education for Progress Act.
PEP: Funding Fit Children
White was always vocal about her belief that physical education (PE) should be a right for all American children and that it was vital to healthy lives and longevity. For PE programs to be given their proper credit and resources, White knew they needed backing on the federal level. As congressional aide, then Chief of Staff, to former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, she helped draft legislation that authorized an initial $400 million in grants so that local education organizations could build and maintain physical education programs.
Since the funds were enacted in 2002, over $800 million total in grants have been distributed out to physical education programs across the nation to in public, private and home school settings. The grants are available to K-12 programs and can be used to purchase instructional materials, professional development services, and content-matched equipment in an effort to help districts align their programs to State Physical Education Standards. As a direct result of these funds, millions of children have been introduced to the benefits of enhanced physical education and have experienced more inclusive, active, and enjoyable PE classes.
A Mission about More than Money
The money itself was not the only benefit of the act’s passage. Within the legislation were Congressional findings that raised public awareness on the great need for PE in the lives of American children. Some of those included statements about how:
Physical education improves self-esteem, behavior, independence, and relationships in children.
Physical education gives the overall health of children a boost by improving bone development, cardiovascular stamina, muscular strength, posture, and flexibility.
Physical education encourages healthy lifestyle habits and positive use of free time.
There were also some humbling statistics within the act that ultimately led to its passage as a matter of public health. Based on figures from 1999, those statistics were:
Diseases related to obesity cost the U.S. more than $1 billion annually.
Less than 1 in 4 children get the recommended 20 minutes of vigorous activity in a given day.
Poor diet and sedentary lifestyles cause over 300,000 U.S. deaths every year.
The percentage of overweight children has doubled in the past 30 years.
Children who are exposed to daily physical activity programs remain healthier throughout their adult lives.
Adults of a healthy weight and fitness level have significantly fewer risk factors when it comes to strokes and heart attacks.
Within the act were these words that were undoubtedly influenced by White:
“Every student in our nation’s schools, from kindergarten through grade 12, should have the opportunity to participate in quality physical education. It is the unique role of quality physical education programs to develop the health-related fitness, physical competence, and cognitive understanding about physical activity for all students so that the students can adopt healthy and physically active lifestyles.”
Necessary Funding and a Legacy of Hope
Though she could not predict the recession years that followed her insistence on PEP’s passage, those funds became invaluable to the many schools and programs that needed them to keep physical education initiatives from vanishing due to budget cuts. The money from PEP grants has not just been used for PE program “extras”—in some cases, it has meant the difference between closing a program and keeping it running for children. To White and many other PE advocacy groups, teaching kids healthy habits and how to live active lifestyles was a right, like learning how to read or write—not a fringe component of education.
SPARK is just one of the many organizations that believe in what White stood for when it came to the fight against issues like childhood obesity. Tom Cove, CEO of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), and Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America, worked hand in hand with White and continue to fight for PEP funding. SPARK is a proud sponsor of PHIT America and supports the efforts of SFIA and others to keep PEP alive.
In order to counteract the growing sedentary nature of American childhood, White knew that PE had to be an integral part of academics and not viewed as optional learning. Because of people like White speaking up, public awareness about the role of PE has increased. By using her influence in a positive way, White forever impacted the many children who have already benefitted from PEP grants—and the many more to come.
Thank you, Carol M. White. May your lasting contributions to physical education long be realized and remembered.

On October 21, the physical education advocacy community lost a great hero and mentor.

Carol M. White was many things in her life—a teacher, a congressional aide, a wife, a mother. Though White passed at the far-too-young age of 66, her legacy will live on from the important work she did advocating for quality, standards-based physical education programs in schools.

White was instrumental in the passing of the Physical Education for Progress (PEP) Act that was introduced in 1999. Her voice was so strong when it came to the legislation that it was later renamed in her honor to the Carol M. White Physical Education for Progress Act.

PEP: Funding Fit Children

White was always vocal about her belief that physical education (PE) should be a right for all American children and that it was vital to healthy lives and longevity. For PE programs to be given their proper credit and resources, White knew they needed backing on the federal level. As congressional aide, then Chief of Staff, to former Senator Ted Stevens of Alaska, she helped draft legislation that authorized an initial $400 million in grants so that local education organizations could build and maintain physical education programs.

Since the funds were enacted in 2002, over $800 million total in grants have been distributed out to physical education programs across the nation to in public, private and home school settings. The grants are available to K-12 programs and can be used to purchase instructional materials, professional development services, and content-matched equipment in an effort to help districts align their programs to State Physical Education Standards. As a direct result of these funds, millions of children have been introduced to the benefits of enhanced physical education and have experienced more inclusive, active, and enjoyable PE classes.

A Mission about More than Money

The money itself was not the only benefit of the act’s passage. Within the legislation were Congressional findings that raised public awareness on the great need for PE in the lives of American children. Some of those included statements about how:•

  • Physical education improves self-esteem, behavior, independence, and relationships in children.
  • Physical education gives the overall health of children a boost by improving bone development, cardiovascular stamina, muscular strength, posture, and flexibility.
  • Physical education encourages healthy lifestyle habits and positive use of free time.

There were also some humbling statistics within the act that ultimately led to its passage as a matter of public health. Based on figures from 1999, those statistics were:

  • Diseases related to obesity cost the U.S. more than $1 billion annually.
  • Less than 1 in 4 children get the recommended 20 minutes of vigorous activity in a given day.
  • Poor diet and sedentary lifestyles cause over 300,000 U.S. deaths every year.
  • The percentage of overweight children has doubled in the past 30 years.
  • Children who are exposed to daily physical activity programs remain healthier throughout their adult lives.
  • Adults of a healthy weight and fitness level have significantly fewer risk factors when it comes to strokes and heart attacks.

Within the act were these words that were undoubtedly influenced by White:

“Every student in our nation’s schools, from kindergarten through grade 12, should have the opportunity to participate in quality physical education. It is the unique role of quality physical education programs to develop the health-related fitness, physical competence, and cognitive understanding about physical activity for all students so that the students can adopt healthy and physically active lifestyles.”

Necessary Funding and a Legacy of Hope

Though she could not predict the recession years that followed her insistence on PEP’s passage, those funds became invaluable to the many schools and programs that needed them to keep physical education initiatives from vanishing due to budget cuts. The money from PEP grants has not just been used for PE program “extras”—in some cases, it has meant the difference between closing a program and keeping it running for children. To White and many other PE advocacy groups, teaching kids healthy habits and how to live active lifestyles was a right, like learning how to read or write—not a fringe component of education.

SPARK is just one of the many organizations that believe in what White stood for when it came to the fight against issues like childhood obesity. Tom Cove, CEO of the Sports and Fitness Industry Association (SFIA), and Jim Baugh, Founder of PHIT America, worked hand in hand with White and continue to fight for PEP funding. SPARK is a proud sponsor of PHIT America and supports the efforts of SFIA and others to keep PEP alive.

In order to counteract the growing sedentary nature of American childhood, White knew that PE had to be an integral part of academics and not viewed as optional learning. Because of people like White speaking up, public awareness about the role of PE has increased. By using her influence in a positive way, White forever impacted the many children who have already benefitted from PEP grants—and the many more to come.

Thank you, Carol M. White. May your lasting contributions to physical education long be realized and remembered.

 

Help support the PEP grant!  Click Here to send a letter to your representative to support PEP funding. 

 

——

New Funding for State Health Departments to Support Chronic Disease Prevention

Thursday, July 14th, 2011

“Prevention and Public Health Fund Coordinated Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Program”

Deadline: July 22, 2011

Funding Amount: $300,000 – $2.4M

  • Anticipated Awards: 53 (non-competitive)
  • Project Period: 3 years
  • Approx. Current Fiscal Year Funding: $ 39 mil
  • Approx. Total Project Period Funding: $ 129 mil
  • Funder: Affordable Care Act through the Prevention and Public Health Fund

Eligibility: State health departments, District of Columbia, Puerto Rico and Virgin Islands or their Bona Fide Agents. Grantees currently funded under FOAs DP09-901 are eligible to apply. P09-901 funds 50 states, DC, Puerto Rico and U.S. Virgin Islands (i.e. the same agency that is funded under P09-901 must be the lead applicant)

Purpose: Create or update state chronic disease plans that incorporate coordinated approaches to program planning, implementation, and evaluation to achieve measurable outcomes for the top five leading chronic disease causes of death and disability (e.g. heart disease, cancer, stroke, diabetes, and arthritis) and their associated risk factors.

For more information and to apply for this grant visit: http://www.grants.gov/search/search.do?mode=VIEW&oppId=98533

Some helpful FAQ:

Question: How is the Coordinated Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Program different from the Community Transformation Grants (CTGs)?

Answer: The Coordinated Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion Program is different from the Community Transformation Grant Program. The CCDP&HP Grant Program will support development or enhancement of State Health Department leadership, coordination, expertise and direction across targeted disease programs in a state or territories’ chronic disease portfolio.

In contrast, the CTG initiative is focused on supporting the implementation, evaluation, and dissemination of evidence-based community preventive health activities to reduce chronic disease rates, prevent the development of secondary conditions, address health disparities, and develop a stronger evidence base for effective prevention programming.

Question. Does the Prevention and Public Health Fund Coordinated Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Program replace the funding for categorically funded chronic disease programs, including heart disease and stroke, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and nutrition, physical activity, and obesity?

Answer. The CCDP&HP grant program does NOT replace the funding for categorical chronic disease programs. This is NEW money for state health departments to use to strengthen existing chronic disease capacity, specifically in cross-cutting areas like surveillance, epidemiology, evaluation, policy, communications, health systems work, and community partnerships/mobilization – areas that all or many of the categorical programs depend on and may each have developed to some degree on their own (e.g., a CVD epidemiologist, obesity epidemiologist, etc). It is expected that the chronic disease program will be able to improve efficiency and effectiveness of categorical programs by strengthening these cross-cutting areas

Question: Rumor has it that this current FOA/supplement to all 50 states is replacing the funding for the individual programs (ie, no more individual programs nor funds for obesity, diabetes, heart disease, or arthritis). Is this the case?

Answer: The CCDP&HP grant program does NOT replace the funding for categorical chronic disease programs. This is NEW money for state health departments to use to strengthen existing chronic disease capacity…

Obesity Dollars and Sense

Wednesday, August 5th, 2009
It’s swimsuit season — that time of year when people assess the way the look with fewer clothes on — and maybe, resolve to make some changes.

Whatever the motivator to shed fat/lose weight, statistics show there is surely a need for Americans to take a long look in the mirror. A recent USA Today front page article titled, “Obesity is a key link to soaring health tab” said that about 40% of adults — more than 72 million — were obese in 2006; up from 23% in 1994. And, 2/3 of everyone in the US is overweight or obese. I can almost hear the Europeans chuckling at us…

While many of us judge our bodies by how they look in a bathing suit at the beach, the article goes beyond skin deep. It reports that the cost of healthcare has doubled to $147 billion in a decade, and obesity accounts for almost 10% of that total.

Eric Finkelstein, a health economist says,

“If you really want to rein in healthcare dollars, you have to get people dieting, exercising and living a healthier lifestyle.”

Alright, we get it. The message isn’t new — it’s just that the statistics are getting worse and the unfortunate result is obesity is costing us more. People KNOW they are overweight and many want to drop some unhealthy fat and be more active, but it’s harder than just shouting from the rooftops, “Eat less and move more!” If changing behavior were that easy, we wouldn’t be in this predicament.

Here are a few tips for personal change that are less commonly known:

1. Call in a Substitute. Take one thing you consume every day (e.g., coffee creamer) and go from full fat to no fat. This little change done frequently adds up. Once you’ve made one small change, add another. Rinse and repeat.

2. Take 10: After dinner or anytime, go for a 5 minute walk (always consult your Doctor before beginning any exercise regimen). Five minutes in one direction, then turn around and head back. These 10 minutes — most if not all days of the week — will kick-start your activity program. Build from this foundation by increasing your frequency (how many times a week you walk) and duration (how long you walk). And check out a previous blog spot where I talk about how our dog Scout has helped my wife Wendy become a daily walker — after work.
Obesity Dollars and Sense

3. Tell a Friend: Ask someone you know to be your health coach. Encourage you to eat regular size portions — and try and eat smaller meals 4-5 times a day, instead of 3 big ones. More frequent eating helps regulate your blood sugar, keeps you from getting hungry, and fires up your metabolism. Use that friend for support (e.g., an exercise buddy). By the way, my wife Wendy does this for an optimal health program called Take Shape for Life (www.spreadyourwings.tsfl.com). It works, people lose weight and keep it off, and I highly recommend it!

While personal responsibility is by far the main factor in weight management — our communities can play a role — positive or negative. From the USA Today article, here are 6 steps communities can take to help prevent obesity:

1. Put schools within easy walking distance of residential areas.
2. Improve access to outdoor recreational facilities.
3. REQUIRE PHYSICAL EDUCATION IN SCHOOLS — YEA!
4. Enhance traffic safety in areas where people could be physically active.
5. Enhance infrastructure supporting walking and biking.
6. Discourage consumption of sugar-sweetened drinks.

So, if you haven’t had that long, self-assessment look in the mirror yet this summer, maybe it’s time. Ultimately, it’s up to each of us to be in control of our own healthy lifestyle. If we don’t, healthcare costs will take control of us.

-Paul Rosengard