American Academy of Family Physicians Joins First Lady Obama’s Effort to End Childhood Obesity

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Megan Moriarty
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237, Ext. 5221


LEAWOOD, Kan. -- The American Academy of Family Physicians is pleased to join with First Lady Michelle Obama and other health, community, business and governmental organizations to help prevent and treat childhood obesity as part of the Let’s Move! campaign.

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, and today, nearly one in three children in America are overweight or obese. Obesity puts children at greater risk of developing conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma. Recent government research estimates the health care costs of obesity-related diseases in the United States total $147 billion per year.

The AAFP recognizes the health threat that childhood and adult obesity presents for this nation and is actively combating the problem through a variety of programs and activities. As a partner in the Let’s Move! campaign, the AAFP is taking steps to expand and enhance these efforts:

  • Americans in Motion — Healthy Initiatives (AIM-HI), is a program that helps family physicians and their practice staff work with families to prevent and treat obesity and overweight by implementing a multifaceted fitness program based on physical activity, nutrition and emotional well-being. Working with the support of other organizations, the AAFP will expand the reach of AIM-HI to more practices and offer new resources.
  • Ready, Set, FIT! is a school-based educational program through AIM-HI and Scholastic, the world's largest publisher and distributor of children’s books, that teaches third- and fourth-grade students about the importance of fitness. The program uses in-class lessons and take-home activities that encourage students to be active, eat smart and feel good. As part of Let’s Move!, the AAFP is seeking to expand the use of the Ready, Set, FIT! curriculum in more schools.
  • The AAFP will offer new patient education materials on its patient-oriented Web site,, to help educate parents and children on nutrition and physical activity and help them plan for healthy lifestyles, including a tool for determining a body mass index for children.
  • The AAFP will provide its members with Web-based tools and services to help them gear their continuing medical education toward combating childhood obesity. Member physicians will also be encouraged to implement the recently adopted AAFP Clinical Preventive Services recommendation that all children 6 to 18 years of age be screened for obesity using BMI. The AAFP also plans to track the progress of implementing the new childhood obesity screening guidelines.

Research shows that children found to be obese through screening can be helped when offered subsequent appropriate care, but obesity and overweight is a family health issue that should be prevented and treated in an integrated fashion. Family physicians are trusted resources who can help entire households lead healthier, more active lives.

“The mission of the AAFP is to improve the health of patients, their families and their communities. Preventing and treating overweight and obesity through nutrition and physical activity are two of our highest priorities for the health of the public. It is only natural that the AAFP is a strong supporter of the Let’s Move! program,” said AAFP President Lori Heim, MD.

Family physicians provide care for families in community settings that range from the urban core to rural areas — two of the areas where access to affordable, high quality and nutritious foods is limited. As the Let’s Move! program attempts to increase nutritious food offerings in underserved areas, family physicians will be instrumental in counseling their patients on using these and other resources to ensure healthy eating, physical activity and emotional well-being.

You can read the letter to the First Lady from Dr. Heim pledging the AAFP’s support here.

You can learn more about the Let's Move! program here.(

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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,