AAP Childhood Overweight and Obesity
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Academy Obesity Initiatives

The Academy is currently involved in numerous obesity activities. Some of the current projects are highlighted below; however, to review a comprehensive list of ongoing obesity projects click here to view the PDF PDF.


Featured Grant Projects

The Academy has a long history of working at the community, state, and national level through various grant projects. Current grant programs are highlighted below.

  • Healthy Active Living for Families (HALF): Right From the Start: Is a new 2010 program of the AAP with the generous support of the Nestlé Nutrition Institute (NNI). The goal of the HALF project is to develop and test a series of positive, family-focused messages specific to obesity prevention and care for the following developmental stages: infancy, toddlerhood, and early childhood/preschoolers, which can be used at pediatric well-child visits. These messages and materials will be unique from those already in existence because they will be crafted using the medical home framework, a developmental approach to children's care, and parent-tested. Learn more about the HALF project PDF Document
  • Healthy Active Living Grants: The MetLife Foundation supported five chapter grants and five community pediatric training (CPTI) residency grants for 2010. The chapter grants are focused on improving healthy beverage consumption in the community with an emphasis on age birth to 5. The CPTI grants are focused on obesity prevention in the community.
  • Be Our Voice: Mobilizing healthcare professionals as community leaders in the fight against childhood obesity, also known as the Be Our Voice Project, is a program of the National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), in cooperation with the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP), the California Medical Association Foundation (CMAF) and the Center to Prevent Childhood Obesity and is sponsored through the generous funding of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. This initiative aims to train healthcare professionals to become change agents within their community to help reverse the trend of the childhood obesity epidemic.
  • Mentorship and Technical Assistance Program (MTAP): In 2008, funding from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation supported five Mentorship and Technical Assistance Program (MTAP) grants focused on obesity in underserved populations. The MTAPs are an exciting benefit for members of the Council on Community Pediatrics (COCP). The MTAP grants provide up to $2,000 in funding to assist COCP members to improve their community pediatrics skills and/or develop innovative programs within their community.
    Learn more about the five obesity MTAPs for underserved or minority communities
    PDF Document.
  • Healthy Grandfamilies: In 2008, the Academy in partnership with the Strang Cancer Prevention Center and the Illinois, Texas, and New York 3 Chapters of the AAP conducted a program to help teach "custodial" grandparents in underserved communities the importance of healthy active living. The program took place in Chicago, Houston, Dallas, and Harlem. Each program consisted of 6 workshops facilitated by pediatricians. Click here for more information PDF Document.

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  • Alliance for a Healthier Generation: The AAP and the American Dietetic Association (ADA) are working with the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a partnership between the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, as part of the Alliance Healthcare Initiative. This effort brings leading insurers, national medical associations and employers to offer comprehensive health benefits to children and families for the prevention, assessment, and treatment of childhood obesity.
  • CHOPCHOP is a magazine full of fun and healthy recipes, games, and food facts. As part of the Academy's effort to support pediatricians in addressing childhood obesity in their offices, AAP is now partnering with CHOPCHOP magazine. Our hope is that CHOPCHOP will be another tool pediatricians can use while counseling families on healthy active living. Order Free Magazines for your Office
  • National Initiative for Children's Healthcare Quality (NICHQ): The AAP and NICHQ are both committed to helping children live healthier active lives. The two organizations are working together on a number of projects including the Be Our Voice project mentioned in the featured grants section of this Web site.

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The Academy continues to advance pediatrics through research on various topics. Additional information about research activities at the Academy is available for viewing. Highlighted below are three recent obesity research projects.

  • PROS (Pediatric Research in Office Settings) studies:

    • Brief Motivational Interviewing to Reduce Body Mass Index (BMI2) is a two-year, longitudinal, randomly controlled trial to test interventions addressing the key barriers to obesity counseling in pediatric primary care. BMI2 practitioners will receive training in brief motivational interviewing (MI) and behavior therapy - efficient ways to help parents change behavior that promises to transform the way pediatricians practice.
    • Healthy Lifestyles Pilot Study was a collaboration between researchers at PROS, Wake Forest University School of Medicine, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The overall goal of the pilot was to test and refine the protocol for a future main study that will assess the effectiveness of an office-based intervention designed to improve eating and activity patterns and stabilize weight gain of children at risk for obesity.
  • Periodic Survey #65Professional experience regarding counseling on and management of childhood obesity/overweight was fielded in late 2006. Data analysis is complete and the final manuscript is in process. The "Childhood Obesity Practices of U.S. Pediatricians in 2006" presented at the 2007 Pediatric Academic Society is available for review.

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The Academy's Division of State and Government Affairs and the Department of Federal Affairs staff work to put and keep children's health a priority at national and state levels. Childhood obesity is no exception. Current opportunities for advocacy at the national level are the reauthorization of the Child Nutrition Act, the Transportation Equity Act, and No Child Left Behind. Many states also have obesity legislation on the table. The Academy provides general resources to inform Chapters in their state advocacy efforts. A few obesity resources are highlighted below:

  • State Legislation ReportPDF Document: The 2008 State Legislation Report outlines activity on 11 issues relating to children's health and safety. The narrative for each issue explains the state activity that occurred during the 2008 state legislative sessions. State-by-state legislation charts include information from 2008 as well as previous years, and maps provide a national perspective on state action. Obesity information can be found on page 17.
  • Obesity Issue Brief PDF Document Members Only Content: Issue Briefs provide AAP chapters with an introduction to state government issues and additional background information that can be used when communicating with legislators or other public officials.
  • American Academy of Pediatrics comments at the U.S. Department of Agriculture Listening Session on Child Nutrition Reauthorization PDF Document.
  • Public Service Announcements (PSAs) which appeared in various parenting magazines. Ask your local media if they will run the PSA free of charge as a service to the community. For further information, call AAP Communications at 847-434-7877.

    • In 2008 the Academy, in collaboration with the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons produced a print PSA on obesity PDF Document
    • In 2005, the Academy produced an obesity PSA in English PDF Document and Spanish PDF Document. Ask your local media if they will run the PSA free of charge as a service to the community.

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Continuing Medical Education

The Academy offers multiple venues for obtaining continuing credit and many of these options focus on obesity. To search all Academy course offerings visit PediaLink. The following two courses are online options specific to obesity:

A New Spin On Childhood Obesity (AAP Credit = 6.00, AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s) = 6.00, NAPNAP Credit = 7.20, Pharmacology Rx = 0.00).
A New Spin on Childhood Obesity focuses on pediatric overweight and obesity. Learning objectives are as follows:

  • Describethe prevalence of overweight and its significant comorbidities in pediatric populations.
  • Identify genetic, environmental, or combinations of risk factors predisposing children to obesity.
  • Recognize early excessive weight gain relative to linear growth as a routine part of pediatric practice and calculate and plot BMI (kg/m2) for all patients periodically.
  • Educate and empower families through anticipatory guidance to recognize the impact they have on their children's development of lifelong habits of physical activity and nutritious eating.
  • Foster dietary practices that encourage moderation rather than over consumption, emphasizing healthful choices rather than restrictive eating patterns.
  • Promote regular physical activity within families, schools, and communities.
  • Optimize approaches to prevention by combining dietary and physical activity interventions.
  • Advocate in the areas of physical activity and food policy for children; research into pathophysiology, risk factors, and early recognition and management of overweight and obesity; and improved insurance coverage and third-party reimbursement for obesity care.
  • Optimize reimbursement for treatment of overweight and obesity by using appropriate coding.

View a preview of the course and register at PediaLink

Hot Topic: Pediatric Obesity
(AAP Credit = 0.50, AMA PRA Category 1 Credit(s) „¢ = 0.50, NAPNAP Credit = 0.60, Pharmacology Rx = 0.00).
Upon completion of this course, you will be able to:

  • Describe how obesity impacts the pediatric population and pediatric practice
  • Calculate and analyze BMI scores for pediatric patients
  • Devise 3 strategies to use serial BMI tracking to assist patient weight management and healthy outcomes

Register at PediaLink

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In the Community

The Academy is very active in supporting community, local, and state activities to improve the health of children. These activities can occur at the Chapter level, via individual members or at residency programs. The Academy has 59 Chapters in the United States and 7 chapters in Canada and the majority is active in obesity efforts. In addition, the Academy supports individual projects or residency projects through a variety of funding opportunities including Community Access to Child Health (CATCH), Healthy Tomorrows, and Community Pediatrics Training Initiatives (CPTI). Below are some examples of the level of interest in obesity. To learn more about these programs and how you can become active visit Partner with the Community Portal.

Fifty Academy Chapters are active in obesity work in the following areas*:

  • State Coalitions/Task Forces/Collaboratives/Committees (28)
  • Advocacy around specific obesity priorities (18)
  • Chapter or members received one or more grant(s) to support a community program or provider education program (18)
  • Conduct CME/Conference/Forum (9)
  • Partnering with Schools or CBOs (15)
  • Producing materials for providers or patients (5)
*(information culled from 2007/08 annual reports)

Learn more about state obesity activities in the Partner with your Community Portal.

Since 1993, there have been over 160 community project obesity focused projects that were funded through the CATCH Program, the Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program, the Community Pediatrics Training Initiative, and the Healthy People 2010 Chapter Grants. Search the CATCH database for more information about these projects.

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Endorsed Campaigns

The American Academy of Pediatrics has endorsed the following obesity prevention campaigns or collaborative efforts.

Action for Healthy Kids (AFHK) is a national-state initiative dedicated to improving the health and educational performance of children through better nutrition and physical activity in schools. An outgrowth of the 2002 Healthy Schools Summit, AFHK is composed of 51 State Teams and national coordinating and resource group. AFHK fosters sharing and collaboration among diverse stakeholders to encourge and facilitate meaningful change in schools.

CDC VERB Campaign was an awareness campaign launched by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to encourage positive physical activity among tweens, youth age 9 - 13. VERB communicated ideas for fun physical activities via television, radio, print, and the Internet as well as out-of-home outlets such as movie theaters, billboards, city buses and in schools.

Exercise is Medicine is a campaign designed to make physical activity to be considered by all healthcare providers as a vital sign in every patient visit, and that patients are effectively counseled and referred as to their physical activity and health needs, thus leading to overall improvement in the public's health and long-term reduction in healthcare cost.

NICHQ Childhood Obesity Action Network is a Web-based national network aimed at rapidly sharing knowledge, successful practices and innovation by:

  • Mobilizing and inspiring health care providers to accelerate improvements in care and advocate for change
  • Partnering with a broad constituency of health professionals, quality improvement leaders, childhood obesity experts, and child health advocates.
  • Designing and disseminating policy interventions that will enhance the ability of the healthcare system to address the obesity challenge
  • Providing tools and technical assistance to improve clinical care
  • Focusing on strategies to reduce health disparities and provide culturally effective care for all families
  • Committing to evaluating, learning, and sharing evidence-informed strategies

President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports (PCPFS) serves as a catalyst to promote, encourage, and motivate Americans of all ages to become physically active and participate in sports.

Shaping America's Youth
works to provide the latest and most comprehensive information on programs and community efforts across the United States directed at increasing physical activity and improving nutrition in our nation's youth.

We Can!
or "Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition" is a national program designed for families and communities to help children maintain a healthy weight. The program focuses on three important behaviors: improved food choices, increased physical activity, and reduced screen time.
more about the program.

Wellness Policy Fact Sheet

The AAP is encouraging pediatricians to get involved with shaping school district local wellness policies. For more information please visit the Wellness Policy PDF fact sheet.

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