Bill Clinton's child obesity plan

February 20, 2009

The problems of child obesity made Bill Clinton and American Heart Association president Timothy Gardner work together for a solution. That solution, though, will take a lot more than two people.

The problems of child obesity, which affect one in three, brought together Bill Clinton and American Heart Association president Timothy Gardner to suggest a solution.

That solution, though, takes a lot more than two people. Clinton and Gardner announced the Alliance Healthcare Initiative on Thursday, a new program to offer a wider array of health care services to the overweight and obese.

The plan consists of offering each child an additional four visit to a primary care practitioner, as well as four visits with a dietician. Both the American Dietetic Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics (whose presidents attended the announcement) will help disseminate information about the program to its members, and to patients.

A crucial part of the plan is who pays for it all. The Alliance Healthcare Initiative has signed up Aetna, Wellpoint, and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Massachusetts and North Carolina to agree to the plan so far. So has one large employer, PepsiCo.

This will allow for over one million children to be covered for the additional attention. Clinton and Gardner wish to expand it to six million within three years time. Doing so will reduce the immediate and long-term costs of health care coverage, and make for healthier children.