Barrington, Ill. – Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital is partnering with local schools to help combat childhood obesity and the health problems it causes. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than 30 percent of American children are obese or overweight, and Illinois ranks 10th in the nation for this epidemic. In McHenry and Lake County, 22-25% of adults are obese and 20% of children are obese or overweight. Overweight children are at greater risk for cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
Coordinated Approach to Child Health (CATCH) is a program that teaches children about healthy lifestyles and choices. Good Shepherd Hospital first helped implement CATCH for fifth grade students in Wauconda School District 118 in 2008. Currently, the hospital is partnering with Wauconda School District 118, Lake Zurich School District 95, and Crystal Lake School District 47. New to CATCH this year is Barrington School District 220 and Algonquin School District 300. The program started with 369 students and thanks to philanthropic support, Good Shepherd will collaborate with 20 schools affecting a total of 10,000 students in the 2012-2013 school year. CATCH has four components to educate students on the importance of a healthy lifestyle including: classroom curricula, foodservice modifications, physical-education changes and family reinforcement for students in grades kindergarden through fifth.
In addition, Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital provides the Fitness Gram Program tool to measure children in 4th and 5th grade two times per year in five components of fitness with the goal of helping them obtain the ‘healthy zone’ and noting improvements on a fitness report card. In addition, schools also report any environmental changes or improvements they make to support a healthy lifestyle. Other schools highlight education by coding foods with stickers in hopes of teaching kids nutrition. Healthy foods are coded “go,” while foods higher in fat are coded “slow” and “whoa” for foods that are very high in fat. The three target areas of the program include: nutrition, fitness level and environmental improvements.
In 2011 the program identified 26 environmental changes to schools including elimination of birthday treats and the addition of fruit/vegetable carts in the cafeteria. Since 2005 nutrition test scores have improved 2-5% annually and fitness scores from the baseline have improved consistently. Students at the National Fitness Level increased from 16% at baseline in 2005 to 32% in 2009, and 5% more children achieved the ‘healthy zone’ using Fitness Gram from 2009 to 2011.
“CATCH equips kids with the knowledge to make healthy choices,” says Julie Mayer, director of community and government relations at Good Shepherd Hospital. “Advocate Good Shepherd appreciates the partnership with area schools to improve the health of our community and will continue to do so through the implementation of this program."
This partnership with Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital and area schools has shown some promising results toward improving the health and our community and we are excited to see the program expand.
About Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital
Advocate Good Shepherd in Barrington, Illinois is a 169-bed acute care hospital with more than 700 physicians representing 50 medical specialties. It is part of Advocate Health Care, named one of the Top Ten hospital systems in the U.S. by Thomson-Reuters. Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital is ranked highest in Illinois for quality and patient safety according to Blue Cross Blue Shield’s 2011 Blue Star Report™. Advocate is a faith-based organization that exists to serve its communities. In 2010, Advocate provided more than $474,000,000 in charity care and services to its communities. For more about Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital: www.advocatehealth.com/goodshep