Families look to their healthcare providers for trusted health advice, especially when sorting through the noise of social media where health messages can be confusing and contradictory. But time is short at a wellness visit—with lots of topics to cover—and conversations about weight can be challenging for doctors and patients alike. So what can a healthcare practice do?
Focus on healthy behaviors
Help families remember what's "healthy" by promoting the nationally recognized, evidence-based 5-2-1-0 goals:
- Eat 5 or more servings of fruits and vegetables per day
- Limit screen time to 2 hours or less daily
- Get at least 1 hour of physical activity
- Drink 0 sugary beverages and more water
Hearing the 5-2-1-0 message at the doctor's office is consistent with health messages children are hearing at school and child care. This, in turn, helps keep good choices top of mind and more likely to become habit.
Additionally, focusing on 5-2-1-0 puts healthy behavior for all children at the forefront of your practice, rather than singling out overweight individuals and focusing on the negative. Consider incorporating the 5-2-1-0 Healthy Habits Questionnaire into your office work flow.
2016 Year in Review - part three in a series of four
Jump IN’s mission is to promote policies and practices that create healthy environments where families and children have real opportunities to make healthy choices and engage in healthy behaviors. Research shows that if healthy nutrition and physical activity policies can be implemented in the places where children and families spend most of their time, their health will likely improve.
In Part One of this Year in Review series we described what we did in 2016 to increase the number of healthy choices that family members have in their workplaces, schools, child care settings, and personal homes. In Part Two we described the launch of our first community demonstration project in Greater Lawrence/Far Eastside, a nationally recognized effort to employ numerous strategies across multiple sectors to increase health in a concentrated geographic region.
In this post we look at our 2016 efforts to engage and educate the larger community for the benefit of central Indiana families.
Beyond their schools, child care centers, workplaces, homes, and neighborhoods, children and families are also members of a larger community whose values, norms, and policies shape the broader environment in which these families live. For that reason, Jump IN works to influence that environment by encouraging educational conversations on healthy habits, urging the adoption of targeted public policies that promote healthy living, and fostering an overall culture of good health in the community.
Families often seek guidance from trusted health care providers to make the best decisions about nutrition and physical activity for their children. But starting these conversations can be tough, and time is short at the doctor’s office.
Doctors feel this struggle, too, and many of them are looking for strategies to make their time with patients most efficient and productive, especially with regard to preventing and managing childhood and adolescent obesity. These family medicine doctors, pediatricians, nurse practitioners and physician assistants no doubt know the devastating impact that excess weight can have on overall health—leading to the early onset of life threatening conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
Researchers have identified steps your child’s primary care provider can take to help your family prevent and manage overweight and obesity—guidelines statistically proven to be associated with better outcomes for children.