Massive Effort Targets Childhood Obesity

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A broad-based coalition of business, community and education leaders is launching an effort designed to fight childhood obesity in central Indiana. Jump IN For Healthy Kids will focus on public education, awareness campaigns and employer wellness programs. The partnership involves companies including Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co. (NYSE: LLY) and Roche Diagnostics Corp. as well as organizations such as the Indiana Pacers and Indianapolis Colts. Jump IN Chief Executive Officer Ron Gifford will discuss the effort this weekend on Inside INdiana Business Television.

April 30, 2014

News Release

Indianapolis, Ind. -- An unprecedented alliance of civic, health, business and education leaders have committed to improving the health of Hoosier children by launching Jump IN for Healthy Kids, a community-wide initiative to reduce childhood obesity in central Indiana.

"Every state, every community is fighting this epidemic," says Jack Phillips, president & CEO of Roche Diagnostics who co-chairs Jump IN with Marion County Health Commissioner Virginia Caine, M.D. "Locally, many organizations have fine individual efforts under way,” he said, "but what we've learned from studying areas where childhood obesity is dropping – places as different as Mississippi, New York City, California, West Virginia and Philadelphia – is that we need comprehensive, sustained and coordinated action. Good intentions and hard work are not enough unless we all work together. We must be guided by good data and metrics and remain focused on success."

Dr. Caine emphasized the need to involve all sectors of the community, a lesson learned from those communities that have reduced childhood obesity rates while the rest of the country has seen those rates move in the wrong direction. "Schools are essential to these efforts," she said, "but schools can’t do it alone. We have to engage families, employers, health care providers, businesses, non-profits and faith-based organizations as well. Jump IN is designed to involve the whole community because we all must work together to address the problem."

After eighteen months of research and planning, Jump IN for Healthy Kids was created by a group of civic and business leaders to be the catalyst for evidence-based best practices that will measurably improve the health of children in Indiana. As Ron Gifford, CEO of Jump IN, explained, "Tackling a problem as complex as childhood obesity requires nothing short of a change in culture. Experience has shown that this takes a shared agenda and strategy, coordinated action, transparency and accountability, and a backbone organization to support the initiative. Jump IN is designed to be that backbone – serving as a convener, connector and facilitator to ensure that community efforts are aligned and using best practices. There is too much at stake for us not to succeed."

Underscoring the Need

Recent data support Jump IN leaders' urgent call to action:

-One in three Hoosier children is overweight or obese, and childhood obesity rates have tripled in the last three decades. Minority and low-income children are disproportionately affected.

-60-65 percent of obese children will grow up to become obese adults.

-Medicaid data show that annual health care costs for an obese child average $6730, nearly three times the average cost for all children. Indiana spends $1.6 billion per year in overall obesity-related medical costs – and the figure is rising.

-Nationwide, estimates of obesity-related costs for decreased productivity top $225 billion per year.

Next: Collective Action

Funded initially by its founding corporate, foundation and non-profit partners, Jump IN will focus its efforts on school-based initiatives, employer wellness, public education and awareness, training of health professionals, shared policy agendas and integrated, community-based health pilots. Working through multiple task forces aligned with these focus areas, Jump IN will engage a broad and diverse array of community groups to promote data-driven strategies to achieve its goals.

Source: Jump IN For Healthy Kids