To help address the growing epidemic of childhood obesity, Mercy Medical Center-Centerville has received an assistance award from the We Can! (Ways to Enhance Children's Activity & Nutrition)® childhood obesity prevention program.  Developed by the National Institutes of Health, We Can! supports local efforts to help children and families maintain an active lifestyle and a healthy weight.  Childhood obesity is a public health crisis in the United States, and in Appanoose County.  According to recent statistics more than than 25 percent of kindergarten thru grade 3 and 43 percent of fifth grade children in the Centerville School District are overweight or obese.

Mercy Medical Center will be coordinating with the Centerville School District to teach parents and caregivers how to get the entire family to eat right, move more and spend less time in front of the screen as part of the We Can! movement.  

“This is something we’ve been planning with the school district for some time,” said Heather McKelvey, health promotion manager at Mercy-Centerville. “We are thrilled to receive over $6,000 to assist us in beginning this really important initiative to address childhood weight issues locally,” she added.

Mercy Medical Center – Centerville is one of 18 registered We Can! community sites across the country to receive community assistance support of up to $10,000 to implement programs that:

The overall objectives of this assistance program are to help We Can! community sites:

Implement We Can!’s parent and/or youth curricula

Build organizational and/or community capacity to implement We Can! curricula;

Expand existing community health efforts, programs, events, or activities to include We Can! messages and materials; and

Are sustainable after the funding period ends.

Mercy Medical Center’s goal is to decrease obesity by 5 percent in both the K-3 and fifth grade age groups by 2014.

Launched in 2005 by NIH, the We Can! program provides science-based strategies and resources for parents, caregivers and communities to help youth ages 8–13 stay at a healthy weight by improving nutrition, increasing physical activity and reducing screen time.  

For more information about Mercy’s We Can initiative, contact Heather McKelvey at 437-4422

Eighteen sites received funding under the 2012 We Can! Assistance Program.

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