The results of a 3 year study were released this week, and it contained some very encouraging news for America’s battle with childhood obesity. The Pediatric Nutrition Surveillance System, which studied children nationwide from 2008-2011, showed that rates of obesity in children were actually declining in 19 states. (See the article here.) This is a pretty big deal, because when I was in medical school, doctors were very pessimistic about the U.S.‘s ability to reverse the obesity epidemic. A lot of hard work has been put in by physicians, nurses, public health officials, and educators over the past decade, and we’re finally starting to see some fruits of those labors. It’s a testament to what can be done when people come together for a common goal and are open to ideas.
We’ve still got a long way to go, though. Louisiana has the fourth highest rate of childhood obesity in the nation, with an extremely high prevalence here in New Orleans. Fortunately, many in our community have been laying the groundwork for a healthier community over the past few years, and I feel that we, also, will see the fruits of those labors over the upcoming years. A joint venture between the Tulane Department of Pediatrics and the Tulane School of Culinary Medicine has led to a new teaching kitchen that will be part of the Whole Foods coming in December to S. Broad and Bienville St (http://tmedweb.tulane.edu/mu/teachingkitchen/). There also has been improvements in our exercise infrastructure, with New Orleans now ranked the 6th most bike friendly city in the nation, thanks to over 45 miles of new bike lanes. There have also been numerous contributions from community gardens, local government, and non-profit groups across the city.
House Call Pediatrics will be rolling out multiple programs over the upcoming year to educate and encourage our families to live more healthy lifestyles. The goal is to help everyone incorporate modest changes into their daily routines to keep them active and making healthy choices.
See you out there! -Dr. Lister
P.S. Go Saints!