Nationwide Children’s Hospital has renewed its commitment to the health and well being of children by collaborating with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a joint initiative between the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, to provide employees comprehensive health benefits for the prevention, assessment, and treatment of childhood obesity.
Nationwide Children’s joins the Alliance for a Healthier Generation’s Healthcare Initiative, a collaborative effort with national medical associations, leading insurers, and employers to enable families to work with their primary care physicians and registered dietitians to achieve lifelong health. By doing so, approximately 4,000 more dependent children will have access to this very important care through the Nationwide Children’s employee benefits program, effective January 1, 2010.
Dr. Steve Allen, Nationwide Children’s Chief Executive Officer, noted that the epidemic of childhood obesity and its consequences cuts across all parts of our society. He also said that, “Obesity prevention and treatment can only be effective when we all contribute through larger community efforts to improve nutrition and fitness in schools, neighborhoods and the workplace. Nationwide Children’s Hospital intends to continue to find ways to play a leadership role in enhancing child well-being locally and nationally.”
In addition to Nationwide Children’s providing unlimited visits with primary care physicians (covered under their current benefit structure), eligible children will have access to four visits with a registered dietitian per year. These healthcare professionals will work with children and their families on how to establish and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
"Without proper prevention and treatment of childhood obesity, our current generation could become the first in American history to live shorter lives than their parents," said Rob Falkenberg, president of the central Ohio American Heart Association Board of Trustees. "By providing this benefit, this is the first time most families will have access to these important services. We applaud Nationwide Children’s Hospital for making this commitment to help reverse the childhood obesity epidemic.”
Launched in February 2009, the Alliance Healthcare Initiative marks a major step forward in a holistic approach to reduce childhood obesity in the United States. During the first year of the Initiative, nearly one million children will have access to this benefit option. The long-term goal of the Alliance Healthcare Initiative is that more than six million children (25 percent of all overweight and obese children in the U.S.) will have access to this benefit by 2012.
In addition to Nationwide Children’s, the Alliance Healthcare Initiative participants include: Aetna, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Dietetic Association, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, PepsiCo and WellPoint. Aetna has recruited several employers to participate including Mars, Owens Corning and Paychex. The American Heart Association and the Clinton Foundation also offer this benefit to their employees.
About the Alliance for a Healthier Generation The American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation joined forces in May of 2005 to create a healthier generation by addressing one of the nation’s leading public health threats – childhood obesity. The goal of the Alliance is to reduce the nationwide prevalence of childhood obesity by 2015, and to empower kids nationwide to make healthy lifestyle choices. The Alliance works to positively affect the places that can make a difference to a child’s health: homes, schools, restaurants, doctor’s offices and communities. For more information please visit: HealthierGeneration.org.