Unique New Weight Management Program for Children in East County
April 3, 2003
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East Contra Costa County Collaborative Battles Obesity East County families have an opportunity to get help for overweight 6-12 year olds from a unique new weight management program.
The NEW Kids (Nutrition, Exercise, and Wellness) program is offering a comprehensive weight management program that will take place at the Pittsburg Health Center. The NEW Kids program is a collaboration of Contra Costa Health Services, Mt.Diablo Region YMCA, Los Medanos Health Care District Board, and the Pittsburg Unified School District (Heights and Stoneman Elementary Schools and the Afterschool Program). The weight management program is expected to start in the spring. (For eligibility information and registration, families may call Bonnie Campbell at 925-431-2362.)
"We are in the midst of an obesity epidemic and this kind of opportunity doesn't come around very often. Our weight management program is unique because many of the participating families will be able to benefit from added physical activity and nutrition education at nearby schools.
This joint effort with the clinic, the schools and the YMCA is a first in California. We hope families will join the program. It will make a huge impact on their children's lives," said Luz Gómez-Pardini, Coordinator of the NEW Kids program.
Gómez-Pardini says children in the program will meet once per week for a total of eight weeks. Weight management sessions will include physical activity, self-esteem counseling, nutritional guidance and behavior modification techniques. To qualify for the program the child must be between the ages of 6 and 12 and low income. Children must be accompanied by a parent or caregiver.
"It takes a special kind of family to participate in this eight week class. We are looking for families who are willing to make a commitment and who are ready to make changes in their lifestyle." Gómez-Pardini added.
According to Gómez-Pardini, Contra Costa's childhood obesity rate is higher than the State average. If left unchecked during childhood, obesity can lead to cardiovascular disease, hypertension, diabetes, depression and low self-esteem.
The NEW Kids weight management program has a multidisciplinary team, which includes a Pediatrician, Dietician, Mental Health Specialist, Exercise Physiologist and Community Health Worker. "Obesity is the symptom of a lifestyle that is out of balance. A program like N.E.W. Kids can help families find a new balance that leads to healthier weights, healthier food choices, improved lifestyle and happier families. Addressing obesity is a life long issue, which requires support along the way. That's what we are here to do," said Luz Gómez-Pardini.
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- Luz Gómez-Pardini