Students, Kroc Center partners for obesity intervention

Georgia Health Sciences University medical students are suiting up alongside the Salvation Army Kroc Center to combat an epidemic.

GHSU’s Medicine-Pediatrics Interest Group is partnering with the center to offer an obesity intervention for 20 physician-referred youth age 7-18 who are obese or have a family history of obesity.

The program, which began Sept. 8 in observance of Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, will feature weekly aerobics classes, cooking classes and nutrition meetings led by volunteers from GHSU, the Kroc Center and the Augusta community. Kitchen 1454 will host the cooking class, which is sponsored by Kroger, Wildtree and Chef Edward Mendoza, an Augusta State University alumnus and former Le Cordon Bleu instructor.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that approximately 17 percent of youth age 2-19 are obese, with obesity rates nearly tripling since 1980. The American Academy for Pediatrics recommends children increase their intake of fruits, vegetables and water and engage in at least 60 minutes of physical activity daily.

Participants must be accompanied by an adult who will pay a $1 weekly fee. Adult support is an effort to encourage accountability among the participants.

The program aims to equip families with the knowledge and confidence necessary to maintain healthier living habits, in addition to the tools necessary to fight obesity, according to Heather Jekot, vice president of the Med-Peds Interest Group.

The program is the result of collaboration between Dr. Katrina Nguyen, GHSU assistant professor of pediatrics and advisor of the Med-Peds Interest Group, and Heather Altman, health and wellness manager of the Kroc Center, on a National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality grant application for obesity treatment and prevention.

The obesity projects are the result of a partnership between Dr. Jordan Weitzner, GHSU pediatric resident, Rod Pollard, Ambient Health, Jekot and Nguyen.

The program is a part of an obesity intervention project that includes an upcoming 5K walk/run and T-shirt design contest.

For more information, contact Heather Altman at (706) 364-4278 or [email protected].



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