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Children and the fight against obesity

Childhood obesity affects one third of America's youth and costs us $14 billion annually in medical expenses. Two of the nation's largest philanthropic organizations, the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Kaiser Family Foundation, are offering information and strategies to help address this national health care dilemma.

The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation announced that it will commit $500 million over the next five years to fight childhood obesity. The Foundation's goal is to expand its programs to reverse this epidemic in the US by 2015, by focusing its attention on improving access to affordable healthy foods, opportunities for safe physical activity in schools and communities, and encouraging food and beverage companies to offer healthier products and change their marketing practices. Special emphasis will be placed on the greatest at-risk communities: low-income African American, Latino, Native American, Asian American, and Pacific Islander children.

Researchers analyzed more than 1,600 hours of television programming of 13 networks, viewed by children, ages 2-7, 8-12, and 13-17. Some of the key findings:

ORAL HEALTH pilot study launched

Can early oral healthcare education increase the likelihood of good preventive dental care by age 1? That's the question the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) Foundation has set out to answer.

According to the AAPD, 90% of tooth decay is preventable, yet it remains the most common chronic childhood disease in the US. Forty percent of children have decay by the time they reach kindergarten.

Teaching Early Awareness of Child Health (TEACH) will offer counseling on proper oral health care to all new parents. Counselors will talk about proper oral health care and give out kits with oral health supplies for parents and children as part of the existing pediatric care program, during pre-and post-natal counseling, and at well-baby visits. A follow-up survey of parents on their child's dental treatment, and health care providers' thoughts about the impact of the kit on parental behavior, will be used to evaluate the effectiveness of the study.

The new parent kit deployment will be studied at:

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