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NIH MedlinePlus the Magazine, Trusted Health Information from the National Institutes of Health

Reducing Childhood Obesity

We Can!

we can pep rally
we can pep rally

At a We Can! pep rally in Washington, DC, kids take part in games that promote physical activity as well as gain knowledge of healthy foods.

We Can! is a national education program that provides parents and caregivers of 8- to 13-year-olds with tools and strategies for maintaining a healthy weight, notes Karen Donato, coordinator of NHLBI's Overweight and Obesity Research Applications. "We focus on improved nutrition, increased physical activity, and reducing screen time to mobilize communities, partners, and the media around a common message. We think it will be helpful for everyone out there to rally around this cry for the need to reduce overweight in children."

Thousands of parents and their children in more than a thousand community sites around the country have taken part in the We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition) program over the past five years. The program has reached every state, and includes outreach to populations such as Native Americans. A key part of the program is to involve parents and children, together. (See "To Find Out More" at the end of this section for We Can! contact information about getting involved.)

June marks the fifth year for the We Can! child-centered nutrition and physical activity program from four NIH Institutes.

"My mom and I work together as a team to stay healthy," says first-grader Joseph Grant. "We prepare a grocery list together, and always include fruits, vegetables for snacks, and we choose poultry and fish instead of red meat."

Grant recently won a We Can!-related essay contest on personal success stories about keys to healthy living; his essay was entitled "Staying Healthy Together."

NIH Promotes Healthier Children

We Can! is a national childhood obesity prevention program sponsored by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, the Eunice Kennedy Shriver National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, and the National Cancer Institute.

The Weight-control Information Network (WIN), sponsored by the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, provides the general public, health professionals, the media, and the U.S. Congress with up-to-date, science-based information on weight control, obesity, physical activity, and related nutritional issues.

Spring / Summer 2010 Issue: Volume 5 Number 2 Page 6