All across the country, from First Lady Michelle Obama’s “Let’s Move” initiative on down, communities, schools and families are uniting to attack the serious medical issue of child and adolescent obesity. (According to a survey by the National Center for Health Statistics, approximately 17% or 12.5 million of U.S. children and adolescents aged 2-19 years are obese.)
National University has joined the fight as well, aligning with Healthy Lombard, a village-wide initiative of more than 20 similarly inspired community organizations and institutions, formed to combat childhood obesity, promote fitness and healthy living and establish health partnerships.
Gregory Cramer, DC, PhD, dean of research, is spearheading the NUHS group that has partnered with Healthy Lombard as well as organized its own programs aimed at developing “Healthy Children for a Healthy Life.” Primary members of the committee include resident NUHS experts on health and nutrition: Brian Anderson, DC, CCN, MPH; Kelly Baltazar, DC, ND, MS; and Anna Jurik, DC, MS, RD, LDN.
“The level of expertise on this issue on this campus is impressive,” says Dr. Cramer, explaining National’s ability to fight obesity from a multi-faceted approach.
NUHS’ Healthy Children for a Healthy Life committee has planned three events aimed at children and family members as well as NUHS faculty and staff.
The first event, which was held along with other partners of the Healthy Lombard initiative, was a February Fitness Health Fair at the Lombard Village Hall. Dr. Anderson’s group conducted Bioimpedance Analysis (BIA), a method of assessing “body composition,” the measurement of body fat in relation to lean body mass, and an integral part of a health and nutrition assessment.
Dr. Baltazar and her interns held blood pressure screenings, just one of many diagnostic tests that can reveal underlying health conditions contributing to weight management issues.
Dr. Jurik’s group utilized the Foot Levelers digital foot scanner to measure indicators of foot imbalances. Along with other health complications associated with being overweight, extra weight applies more pressure on the feet and can cause the arches to collapse, leading to joint and back pain.
Health Fair attendees were also presented with brochures on all clinic services as well as a new “Weight Management” flyer describing the integrated services available at the Whole Health Center – Lombard.
Other participants in the fair included the Lombard Park District, Tri-Town YMCA, Jewel Foods, Grove Dental, Daniel Coffey, DC, a 1999 National graduate and owner of DC Spinal Wellness & Rehabilitation in Lombard, as well as sport and fitness facilities and martial arts studios.
The second project of the committee will involve a Healthy Children for a Healthy Life five-week family educational program through the Lombard Park District.
The committee is also plannning a Faculty/Staff Fitness Challenge. Details of the challenge will be announced later this spring.