For the first time, health advocates have designated a specific month for national attention to pediatric obesity. September is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, and as we near its end I'd like to share what a few nurse practitioner students have done to call attention to it.
Last weekend, three NP students from Samuel Merritt University in Oakland, Calif., treated 30 low-income adolescents from San Francisco to a day of nutritious food and fun physical activity. They took the teens to Sur La Table in downtown San Francisco and shared a meal that featured age-appropriate nutrition information. Then the NP students took the children to a park, Yerba Buena Gardens, for some outdoor games and activities.
"This project allows us to work with teens on how to care for themselves," said Kacee Williams, one of the NP students, in a news release from the university. "In the process, I'm learning a lot about how nurse practitioners can communicate with young patients in an effective manner."
Effective communication is one of the keys to ending pediatric obesity. Children and their parents require a much better understanding of healthy diet and lifestyle practices. The National Association of Pediatric Nurse Practitioners has been a driving force in this cause for years, primarily through its HEAT program, an acronym for Healthy Eating and Activity Together.