Nationwide Childrens Hospital Joins Effort to Combat Childhood Obesity Through the Alliance for a Healthier Generations Healthcare Initiative

September 10, 2009

Nationwide Childrens 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 Childrens joins the Alliance for a Healthier Generations 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 Childrens employee benefits program, effective January 1, 2010.

Dr. Steve Allen, Nationwide Childrens 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 Childrens Hospital intends to continue to find ways to play a leadership role in enhancing child well-being locally and nationally.

In addition to Nationwide Childrens 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 Childrens 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 Childrens, 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 nations 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 childs health: homes, schools, restaurants, doctors offices and communities. For more information please visit:

About Nationwide Children's Hospital

Named to the Top 10 Honor Roll on U.S. News & World Report ‘s 2018-19 list of “Best Children’s Hospitals,” Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of America’s largest not-for-profit freestanding pediatric health care systems providing wellness, preventive, diagnostic, treatment and rehabilitative care for infants, children and adolescents, as well as adult patients with congenital disease. Nationwide Children’s has a staff of more than 13,000 providing state-of-the-art pediatric care during more than 1.4 million patient visits annually. As home to the Department of Pediatrics of The Ohio State University College of Medicine, Nationwide Children’s physicians train the next generation of pediatricians and pediatric specialists. The Research Institute at Nationwide Children’s Hospital is one of the Top 10 National Institutes of Health-funded freestanding pediatric research facilities. More information is available at