Below are a handful of our employees that volunteered to help build. Deanne (not pictured) worked behind the scenes, taking pictures and video to help capture the build in progress. Digital high-five to all of my fellow co-workers who participated in building the LARGEST playground that KaBOOM has ever done!
Nicole - Web Marketing Coordinator
Mollie helping out with the video and camera stuff
Nearly one million children in Georgia are overweight or obese. That puts the state of Georgia in second place for the highest number of obese children in the country, right behind Mississippi. Illinois is close behind at number four. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is filled with children who have type 2 diabetes, hypertension, liver and kidney disease or are in need of joint replacement — all of which could have been avoided with proper weight control. And now, they’re taking a stand.
First, let’s cover some background. It’s a harsh truth that 40% of children in Georgia are overweight. And as you know, Georgia isn’t alone. What you may not expect is how frighteningly fast the rates are rising. The last time data was collected for Illinois, 34.9% of children were overweight — which was a staggering 19.1% rise from 2003 when the rate was 15.8%.
2003 Rates of Overweight and Obese Children
2007 Rates of Overweight and Obese Children
* Obesity is defined as body mass index (BMI) at or above the 95th percentile of the 2000 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention BMI-for-age growth charts. Children with BMI between the 85th and 95th percentile are classified as overweight. BMI is calculated as weight in kilograms divided by the square of height in meters. Children age 10-17 are included in this data. Courtesy of National Conference of State Legislatures.
It’s a problem not many wish to address for a variety of reasons. We don’t want to embarrass our children. We don’t want to seem mean or judgmental. The fact is that weight issues are deeply personal and emotionally charged. 75% of parents who have overweight or obese children do not recognize the problem.
At the heart of this issue is the fact that most people view being overweight as a cosmetic problem — and while personal appearance is a concern, the real trouble are the heath problems that inevitably worsen as a result. Understandably, it’s often difficult connect health problems that can sometimes occur far in the future. Children are viewed as either resilient (and may grow into a healthy weight) or needing to be protected and sheltered (their self-esteem needs to be insulated).
From a healthcare perspective, type 2 diabetes, hypertension, liver and kidney disease, joint replacement surgery and other health issues precipitated by weight cost over $3.4 billion annually in Illinois alone. That’s because one out of five children are obese and one out of three are obese or overweight — and 62% of our state’s adults are overweight.
The officials at Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta have had enough. They’ve launched a five-year, $25 million anti-obesity campaign that includes training pediatricians, developing educational programs in schools, setting up a health clinic, developing a microsite, TV, radio, outdoor, print ads and social media.
The campaign is being praised by the community, families, experts and health officials, but isn’t without controversy. Rodney Lyn of Georgia State University’s Institute of Public Health feels the effort is too harsh and says, “This campaign is more negative than positive.” Frustrated by so much preventable disease, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta patterned the ads after popular anti-smoking and anti-methamphetamine campaigns — and intended them to be blunt. “Ignoring this problem is what got us here. It’s time to wake up,” clearly states the hospital’s microsite strong4life.com.
Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta’s campaign is part of a growing movement in the United States to address weight issues head-on. Today, more and more hospitals are already offering nutritional counseling, healthy eating programs, bariatric surgery and other services to adults. Creating a campaign to help children and their parents learn to manage their weight is a courageous undertaking — which can have a truly positive effect on our future.
Sherman Hospital will be featured on ABC’s Good Morning America
on Thursday, April 16th, 2009 at 8:05am CST.
The surgery that we helped Sherman Hospital simulcast on Twitter and Facebook has helped a lot of people better understand the benefits of Sherman’s high-tech surgical robot and how they have become a leader in advanced medicine. Possible candidates for surgery in the community followed along and became more comfortable with the procedure. Even the patient’s family was able to watch on a Blackberry from the waiting room! We’ve helped Sherman get featured on TV, websites, blogs, medical journals, magazines and newspapers across the country and as far away as India and Australia. But tomorrow morning we’re proud to announce that they will be featured on ABC’s Good Morning America at 8:05am CST! Check your local guides for channel information.
With getting media attention, timing is everything. The press seemed to be primed for a great story about how Twitter and Facebook could be used for a practical purpose. We did some research and came up with the idea have Sherman become the first ever hospital to simulcast a surgery live on Twitter and Facebook. Not just any surgery, but a high-tech robotic surgery. It takes a lot of courage to do something like this, and we would officially like to thank some very important people at Sherman Health:
First we would like to thank Sherman’s patient (who of course remains anonymous) for graciously agreeing to let her surgery be Tweeted. Secondly, Doctors Rajah Chatterji and Humberto Lamoutte who headed up the six-person, robot-assisted surgery team. And let’s not forget the marketing team at Sherman:
Christine Priester | Follow on Twitter @cpriester
Transition Director, formerly Marketing Director