Winn Army Community Hospital partners with community to combat childhood obesity
May 13, 2010
<b>FORT STEWART, Ga. </b>- To end childhood obesity, Fort Stewart, Liberty County, and the City of Hinesville have united to form the first military/civilian community Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition (We Can!) Program in the country. The community-wide health and fitness campaign was launched with a proclamation signing and meeting between partners, May 7.
The We Can! Program, adopted by our community, is a national movement designed to give parents, caregivers, and entire communities a way to help children ages 8-13 stay at a healthy weight. The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, in collaboration with the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Cancer Institute, has combined the unique resources and activities of these institutes to make We Can! a national success.
"Through events targeted at the community level, we hope to prevent the rise in childhood obesity in our community as well as decrease it over the next year," said Lt. Col. Andy Doyle, Deputy Commander of Surgery at Winn Army Community Hospital. "We also hope to show Families that adopting a lifestyle that is focused on increased activity and healthy eating is not only easy, but it's fun too."
Childhood obesity is a major problem across the nation, and our community is no different.
"More than 30 percent of children in our community are either overweight or obese," Lt. Col. Doyle said. "We realize we need to pull together as a community to change the course of this epidemic in our children, teach our Families how to promote a healthy lifestyle for their children, and ensure our children have long and healthy lives."
This initiative demonstrates the community's strong belief in and support for the Army Family Covenant.
"An overweight child faces an uncertain future, so our goal is to maximize the health and well-being of our Families and, in this case, our children," said Col. Paul Cordts, WINN commander. "Overweight and obese children may develop diabetes and heart disease, even before adolescence."
These children, Col. Cordts said, face up to a 40 percent chance of early death.
"Children now suffer from asthma, sleep apnea, and liver disease as well as poor academic performance, low self-esteem, and teasing at school," Col. Cordts said. "Diseases which once occurred at the end of life, are now occurring at the beginning, but with our new initiative 'we can' do something about it!"
Fort Stewart and Hunter Army Airfield have made significant progress in improving Family programs, health care, housing, child and youth services, recreation, education and employment opportunities, but there is still work to be done to build an environment where Army Families can prosper and realize their full potential.
"Fort Stewart and Hunter, reflecting the Army itself, are making good on the Army's commitment to excellent Family health care, housing, child and youth services, recreation and employment," said Brig. Gen. Jeffrey Phillips, 3rd ID deputy commanding general-rear. "The We Can! Program builds on our progress, helping us encourage healthy nutrition and more physical activity."
Brigadier General Phillips said he looks forward to working with Fort Stewart and Hunter schools to ensure the food the kids get is healthy and delicious.
'We Can' keep our kids healthy and teach them lessons that will serve them well throughout their lives, so that they will in turn teach yet another generation healthy habits," Brig. Gen. Phillips said.
To learn more about the We Can! Program, call 912-435-5071 or go to www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/public/heart/obesity/wecan/.