American Academy of Family Physicians and MetLife Foundation Collaborate to Create New Educational Materials to Address Childhood Obesity

$150,000 grant funds educational materials promoting fitness for the entire family

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Janelle Davis
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5222

Ted Mitchell
MetLife Foundation
(401) 827-3236

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) and the AAFP Foundation announce that they have been awarded a $150,000 grant from MetLife Foundation, designed to counter the national epidemic of childhood obesity by empowering family physicians with new ways to promote physical activity, nutrition and emotional well-being. The partnership will produce educational materials for children, including books and publications that will address physical activity, nutrition, and emotional well-being.

The materials are designed to encourage patients to talk with their family physicians about fitness and to work together to develop a plan to enable sustained healthy life style choices among family members. The endeavor will be administered by Americans In Motion (AIM), an AAFP initiative designed to improve the health of all Americans through multifaceted fitness programs. This year’s grant builds upon an initiative that was successfully launched in 2008 by MetLife Foundation and the AAFP, which has to date included the production of a DVD and children’s book discussing fitness for the family, with a special emphasis on ways to maintain fitness for children.

“We are pleased to continue this important partnership with MetLife Foundation,” said Lori Heim, M.D., president of the AAFP. “Children learn by example, and to effectively combat childhood obesity, candid discussions must take place between doctors, young patients and their parents. These books will plant the seeds for such discussions.”

The materials will be distributed in late summer 2010 to approximately 37,000 family physicians, as well all 455 family medicine residency training programs in the United States. These materials will include Spanish translations and are designed to be used in the waiting rooms of family physicians’ practices, creating opportunities for parents and children to learn and talk about issues related to fitness with their physician.

Rather than emphasizing diets and weight loss, these materials will present fitness as a balance of physical activity, nutrition and emotional well-being. Only sustained, healthy lifestyle choices will be successful in countering childhood obesity.

Today’s children may have a shorter life expectancy than their parents because of obesity-related illnesses. Almost 60 percent of Americans do not get sufficient daily exercise and almost 65 percent are overweight or obese. But family physicians are in a strong position to positively influence their patients’ fitness habits and, since they conduct 208 million patient visits each year and care for the entire family, they can help fight childhood obesity on a national scale.

“Family physicians are an important link to halting the growing threat of childhood obesity, by providing families with much-needed health information,” said Dennis White, president and CEO of MetLife Foundation. “MetLife Foundation is pleased to support this initiative, which is dedicated to helping families make smart decisions that can result in longer, healthier lives.”

About the AAFP Foundation

The American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) Foundation serves as the philanthropic arm of the AAFP. Its primary goal is to enhance health care delivered to the American people by developing and providing philanthropic resources for the promotion and support of family medicine. For more information or to support the work of the AAFP Foundation, please visit

About MetLife Foundation

MetLife Foundation was established by MetLife in 1976 to carry on its longstanding tradition of corporate contributions and community involvement. Grants support health, education, civic and cultural programs. For more information about the Foundation, visit

About The American Academy of Family Physicians

Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 124,900 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Family physicians conduct approximately one in five office visits -- that’s 192 million visits annually or 48 percent more than the next most visited medical specialty. Today, family physicians provide more care for America’s underserved and rural populations than any other medical specialty. Family medicine’s cornerstone is an ongoing, personal patient-physician relationship focused on integrated care.

To learn more about the specialty of family medicine, the AAFP's positions(5 page PDF) on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website,