No health condition affects more Americans than obesity. When it comes to addressing the root causes of obesity, it’s important to start at the beginning: childhood.
The Multi-Level Family and Child Wellness and Obesity Initiative at Dell Children’s Medical Center in Austin uses both new and pre-existing programs to help children living with obesity enjoy better long-term health. The initiative is funded by the Section 1115 Waiver and is one of Seton’s DSRIP case studies.
A Closer Look at Childhood Obesity
Childhood obesity can have significant economic and social impacts on children, their families and the broader community.
The cost of childhood obesity on the United States healthcare system is estimated to be around $14 billion. Children with obesity have triple the likelihood of being hospitalized compared to children without obesity. The lifetime cost of obesity is estimated to be around $500,000 per person.
Not only does obesity put people at physical risk, but the condition can also have significant impacts on psychological and emotional health. Addressing obesity at an early age can curb the economic, physical and mental costs of obesity on individuals, their families and the community.
The Multi-Level Family and Child Wellness and Obesity Initiative aims to develop and implement programs that improve the overall health of children with obesity. Using a combination of established programs, new projects and obesity specialists, our initiative seeks to help children and families affected by the condition of obesity, including those receiving Medicaid.
Structured into a three-tier approach, the initiative can provide resources and support based on each individual child’s needs. In particular, the program offers:
- Access to real-time information about health and wellness resources near where the child lives
- Effective primary care providers who are experienced in addressing childhood obesity
- Access to multidisciplinary services for severely obese children
Tier 1 (Foundational): Improving Access to Information
In the first tier of the initiative, robust online interactive resources provide children with education about healthy living. Children can learn details about physical activity, nutrition and behavioral health programs.
Tier 2: Establishing a Childhood Obesity Learning Collaborative
The second tier provides tools and support for Texas medical providers. This collaborative connects physicians and other medical experts offer more effective care for overweight and obese children in their practices.
Tier 3: Enhancing TCPTCO Programs
The Texas Center for the Prevention and Treatment of Childhood Obesity (TCPTCO) offers programs that focus on children who struggle with obesity and its associated medical and psychological effects. Programs include:
1) Expanding the capacity of the Activating Children Empowering Success (ACES) multidisciplinary weight management clinic and related programs.
2) Establishing a Preschool Child Intervention Program.
3) Expanding the Teen Behavioral Health and Cooking Group Program to address psychological disorders that are strongly linked to obesity. This program seeks to empower teens and their parents with healthy cooking skills, knowledge and confidence.