Fighting Obesity

Government agencies, scientists and health practitioners consider obesity in the United States a national crisis, which automatically attracts a lot of attention and resources to the problem. But despite vast sums of money, efforts, and time spent alleviating the problem, the situation is not improving. Recently reported “positive trends” in the fight against obesity appear to be nothing more than statistical fluctuations observed over years of tracking data. Yet enough scientific evidence and practical knowledge collected over tens of years makes it possible to create a program that is guaranteed to solve the problem. Based on a detailed analysis of existing data we created Obesity Solutions, a results-oriented program that solves the obesity problem in the United States.

Many previous attempts to tackle the crisis in a piecemeal fashion have failed for one simple reason: uncoordinated efforts between disparate organizations cannot create the type of widespread transformation required to change outcomes for large numbers of people. Our approach is to combine efforts between the five stakeholders identified by scientists as most important: families, schools, early childhood facilities, communities and primary care physicians. Our goal is to implement a healthy lifestyle concept using corresponding methodologies that differ from stakeholder to stakeholder, collaborating between these groups to achieve a greater good.

Scientific evidence makes it clear that it is very difficult to change an existing lifestyle, especially within families; as a consequence, it is almost impossible to significantly lower the overall number of people who are already overweight or obese. Even the best intervention will only marginally lower the current rate of obesity in targeted communities.

The only realistic approach is to prevent new cases of obesity. An effective implementation will significantly reduce the obesity rate of future generations.

For that reason Obesity Solutions is a long-term obesity prevention program that requires three consecutive generations: the parents of current students, the current students, and those students’ future children. By this third generation we can expect significantly lower numbers of overweight and obese people.

In conjunction with the City of Hawaiian Gardens, Tri-City Regional Medical Center, the ABC Unified School District and local community and business leaders, we implemented Activate Hawaiian Gardens – a localized version of our umbrella program – at four local elementary schools from 2012 through 2014. Activate Hawaiian Gardens was specifically adjusted to reach a largely socioeconomically disadvantaged local Hispanic majority whose children are almost fifty percent overweight or obese. An initial study of the Body Mass Index (BMI) of 300 kindergarten students provided a benchmark for the program.

In our voluntary program, a majority of children whose families participated experienced BMI reductions whereas the majority of children whose families elected not to participate (the control group) experienced BMI increases. Thanks to the implementation of Activate Hawaiian Gardens, the city was subsequently recognized by Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move Cities, Towns and Counties” as the best in the United States among cities with populations under 25,000. The program was widely covered by local and national newspapers like the Long Beach Press Telegram, La Opinion and the Los Angeles Times (which featured a front-page story) as well as television news broadcasts on KCBS, KNBC, FOX and KCAL.

FAMILIES

Getting healthy starts in the home. We work with families to get the next generation on track, educating parents who might not otherwise learn what constitutes good food and better behavior.

SCHOOLS

What better way to reach kids than right in school? Our program doesn't require any significant change in curriculum, but it does lean on teachers and administrators to help make learning about healthy choices fun.

COMMUNITIES

We'll work with businesses and respected leaders in your community: grocery stores, fast food restaurants, local cable television hosts, mayors and others who have a vested interest in bettering local lives.

Physicians

Primary care physicians are an important part of the solution because they have obese patients already in their care and fully understand the ramifications of an unhealthy lifestyle.

Childcare

Early childhood education providers are role models for children and as such have an enormous impact in the development of healthy behaviors and preferences.