Grants Fund Childhood Obesity Projects in Family Medicine Residencies

American Academy of Family Physicians, MetLife Foundation Support Innovative Efforts Nationwide

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE   
Friday, December 16, 2011

Contact:
Megan Moriarty
Public Relations Strategist
American Academy of Family Physicians
(800) 274-2237 Ext. 5223
mmoriarty@aafp.org

LEAWOOD, Kan. — The American Academy of Family Physicians, the AAFP Foundation and MetLife Foundation are pleased to announce a series of grants to nine family medicine residency programs across the nation to help reduce childhood obesity in their communities.

The grants will support the residency programs in implementing innovative, community-based projects designed to reduce childhood obesity by promoting fitness within the entire family.

The 18-month program is administered through the AAFP’s Americans In Motion-Healthy Interventions (AIM-HI) program, with funding provided by a $250,000 grant from MetLife Foundation.

The AIM-HI program helps family physicians, residents and their practice staff work with families to prevent and treat obesity and overweight through a multifaceted fitness initiative that incorporates physical activity, healthy eating and emotional well-being.

“The AAFP is committed to empowering family physicians to improve the health of patients, their families and their communities. Preventing and treating overweight and obesity among children through nutrition and physical activity are two of our highest priorities for the health of the public,” said Glen Stream, MD, MBI, president of the AAFP.

Over the past three decades, childhood obesity rates in America have tripled, with nearly one in three children being overweight or obese today. Obesity puts children at greater risk of developing chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, cancer and asthma.

AIM-HI presents fitness as “the treatment of choice” for prevention and management of many chronic conditions. The initiative helps family physicians create a fitness focus by raising awareness among clinicians and staff regarding their own personal fitness which, in turn, creates an environment that helps encourage patients to lead active, healthy lifestyles.

The nine projects, based on the fundamentals of the AIM-HI program, will be implemented in the selected family medicine residency programs across the country next year. Participation in the projects will be required for all residents as part of their community health training.

“MetLife Foundation is pleased to support AAFP’s innovative programs to reduce childhood obesity,” said Dennis White, president and CEO, MetLife Foundation. "Family physicians are at the forefront of treatment and prevention and are in an ideal position to promote a comprehensive approach to fighting obesity. These programs will provide materials and information to family medicine residents so they can help their patients lead healthy, active lives.”

These family-centered, community projects are designed to reduce childhood obesity and promote fitness, particularly among underserved patient populations. Underserved populations have a disproportionate number of children who are obese, and family medicine residencies are well positioned to address this serious health issue.

Family medicine residencies provide care for families in community settings that range from urban to rural areas — two of the areas where access to affordable, high-quality, and nutritious foods is limited. These programs will work to address the barriers to exercise and healthy eating among these communities.

Research shows that children found to be obese through screening can be helped when offered subsequent appropriate care, but both obesity and overweight are family health issues that should be prevented and treated in an integrated fashion.

The projects will prepare the next generation of family physicians to engage in similar activities when they enter practice after completing their residency training.

“Obesity is an incredibly difficult condition to treat. These projects will help ensure that family medicine residents are learning the most effective ways to prevent childhood obesity,” said Richard G. Roberts, MD, JD, president of the AAFP Foundation.

A complete list of the residencies that were awarded grants, with a description of their program, is available here.

About the AAFP


Founded in 1947, the AAFP represents 110,600 physicians and medical students nationwide. It is the only medical society devoted solely to primary care.

Approximately one in four of all office visits are made to family physicians. That is nearly 214 million office visits each year — nearly 74 million more than the next largest 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 on issues and clinical care, and for downloadable multi-media highlighting family medicine, visit www.aafp.org/media. For information about health care, health conditions and wellness, please visit the AAFP’s award-winning consumer website, www.FamilyDoctor.org(www.familydoctor.org).




About AIM-HI

Americans In Motion – Healthy Interventions is an AAFP initiative designed to help family physicians and their practice staff work with families to prevent and treat obesity and overweight through a multifaceted fitness initiative that incorporates physical activity, healthy eating and emotional well-being.

AIM-HI presents fitness as “the treatment of choice” for prevention and management of many chronic conditions. The initiative helps family physicians and their practices create a fitness focus by raising awareness among clinicians and staff regarding their own personal fitness which, in turn, creates an environment that helps encourage patients to lead active, healthy lifestyles.

The AAFP recognizes the health threat that childhood and adult obesity presents for this nation and is working with its supporters and partner organizations to offer new resources and expand the reach of AIM-HI to more practices. AIM-HI and its efforts are supported by educational grants from core supporters that include the AAFP Foundation, the Coca-Cola Company, the National Diary Council, Nature Made and Sanofi-Aventis.

For more information about AIM-HI, please visit
www.aafp.org/aim.