Nationally Recognized Program Brings Medical Community Together for
1st Annual Let’s Go! Childhood Obesity Conference
Childhood obesity was the subject of a two-day conference this week hosted by Let’s Go! 5210 and held at MaineHealth in Portland. The conference attracted nearly 150 attendees representing physician practices, hospitals and school-based health centers from across the country to hear from well-known national experts and share successful strategies to engage children, parents and communities in addressing this important issue.
“Recent reports, such as the “F As in Fat” report, show that while we have seen improvement in some areas, there is considerable work to be done to deal with the childhood obesity problem in our country,” said Victoria Rogers, MD, director, Kid’s CO-OP at the Barbara Bush Children’s Hospital, Maine Medical Center. “Our ability to draw the speakers we did as well as attendees from as far away as California is not only a reflection of the reputation of the Let’s Go! 5210 program, but also of the level of engagement among healthcare providers to learn more about how they can work more effectively with parents and colleagues to influence behavior changes.”
Rogers added, “Recent data has shown that the environment is changing. Policies are being implemented to support those changes, and we’re seeing behaviors beginning to change.”
Let’s Go! 5210, which was developed in Maine, has been modeled throughout the United States. The program works to reach families where they live, study, work and play to reinforce the importance of healthy eating and physical activity. The program focuses on six areas -- school, afterschool, childcare, workplace, community and healthcare. A three-year effort to expand the healthcare portion of the program in Maine and extend it into Grafton County and Hillsborough County in New Hampshire and Worcester County in Massachusetts is now underway thanks to a $1.5 million grant from Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation.
“As a longtime funding partner of MaineHealth’s Let’s Go! 5-2-1-0 Goes to School program, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation has seen the program work in schools and child care centers,” said Karen Voci, executive director of the Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation. “We were eager to support the expanding work in physician’s offices—through Let’s Go! Healthcare—because of the important role physicians have in managing and reducing obesity.”
About Let’s Go! 5210
The goal of Let’s Go!’ 5210 is to increase physical activity and healthy eating for children from birth to 18 through policy and environmental change. Let’s Go! works to reach families where they live, study, work and play to reinforce the importance of healthy eating and physical activity. The program focuses on six areas -- school, afterschool, childcare, workplace, community and healthcare – and uses the 5210 message (5 or more fruits and vegetables, 2 hours or less of recreational screen time, 1 hour or more of physical activity and 0 sugary drinks, more water and low fat milk a day) consistently across all of these segments.
Let’s Go! 5210 began in 2006 as a program of the United Way of Greater Portland when seven healthcare, community, and corporate leaders came together to create the Let’s Go! program as a unique strategy to combat the growing problem of childhood obesity. The seven founding partners include, Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Maine, through the Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield Foundation; Hannaford Bros. Co.; MaineHealth; Maine Medical Center; TD Bank, through the TD Charitable Foundation; Unum and United Way of Greater Portland.
MaineHealth is a not-for-profit family of leading high-quality providers and other healthcare organizations working together so their communities are the healthiest in America. Ranked among the nation's top 100 integrated healthcare delivery networks, MaineHealth member organizations include Maine Medical Center, Miles Memorial Hospital, LincolnHealth – St. Andrews Campus & Healthcare Center, Southern Maine Medical Center, Pen Bay Medical Center, Stephens Memorial Hospital, Waldo County General Hospital, Spring Harbor Hospital, HomeHealth Visiting Nurses, Maine Physician Hospital Organization, NorDx and Synernet. Affiliates of MaineHealth include MaineGeneral Medical Center, Mid Coast Hospital, St. Mary's Regional Medical Center and New England Rehabilitation Hospital of Portland.
About The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation
Created in 1980, The Harvard Pilgrim Health Care Foundation supports Harvard Pilgrim's mission to improve the quality and value of health care for the people and communities we serve by providing the tools, training and leadership to help build healthy communities throughout New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. Since its inception, the Foundation has distributed more than $123 million in funds. In 2011, the Harvard Pilgrim Foundation awarded more than $1.3 million in grants to almost 1,000 nonprofit organizations within the three states. For more information, please visit www.harvardpilgrim.org/foundation.
Name: Jonathan Fanburg, MD, MPH
Title: Medical Advisor, MaineHealth
Pediatrician, Maine Medical Partners – South Portland
Phone: (207) 809-9177 (cell)