Health and Fitness
May 1, 2012
Kaiser Permanente Helps Launch Groundbreaking Series that Targets America’s Obesity Epidemic
Kaiser Permanente, in conjunction with five major organizations, is launching a major public-health campaign during May aimed at obesity, excess weight and their effects on the nation’s health.
As part of a commitment to the total health of its members and communities, Kaiser Permanente is joining with Home Box Office (HBO), the National Institutes of Health, the Institute of Medicine, the Michael & Susan Dell Foundation and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to launch The Weight of the Nation — a four-part documentary series that will be available to all cable subscribers (not just HBO subscribers) on May 14 and 15. HBO is offering this “open signal” as part of its commitment to public health. There will also be an option of viewing the films with Spanish subtitles.
Today, May 1, has been declared The Weight of the Nation Day and HBO will host a series of events around the country to raise awareness, educate communities about the risks of obesity and provide resources for healthier living. As part of this effort, the Whole Kids Foundation and Global Tap are working to provide 100 salad bars and 100 permanent water stations in schools across the country so that thousands of children will have access to fresh fruits and vegetables and clean water. Some of the initial recipients include Calvin Rodwell Elementary School in Baltimore, Md., Satchel Ford Elementary School in Columbia, S.C., Lasley Elementary School in Lakewood, Colo., Tyler Elementary School in Washington, D.C.; Fannie C. Williams School in New Orleans, and PS 155 in Brooklyn.
As a lead-in to the series’ broadcastin May, HBO will screen an episode of the series in Los Angeles (May 1), Washington, D.C. (May 2), Cleveland and Honolulu, Oahu and Hawaii (May 3). Kaiser Permanente is hosting additional screenings in all eight of its regions, starting last week in Colorado Springs, Colo. and continuing in Portland, Ore. (May 7).
In conjunction with The Weight of the Nation rollout, Kaiser Permanente’s Care Stories blog shares accounts from three members who shed pounds by changing their lifestyles dramatically.
Sandra Mendez of La Mirada, Calif. was feeling very sick in 2010 and sought help from Kaiser Permanente’s La Palma Medical Center where Diane Pham, MD, found she was pre-diabetic and therefore at increased risk for heart attack and stroke. With an elevated blood sugar level, high blood pressure and a family history of diabetes, Mendez knew her situation was serious. Dr. Pham told her that she could take medication to bring her blood sugar level down, or she could try to make changes to her lifestyle to get healthy. Mendez decided that very day to alter her diet and commit to daily exercise. “It just takes one step to start eating right and get exercising,” said Mendez, who has shed nearly 200 pounds in two years.
Josie Clayton’s doctor told her at the age of 15 she was at an unhealthy weight and was pre-diabetic. She enrolled in Kaiser Permanente’s “High Five to Health,” a pediatric healthy lifestyle program that taught her the basics of healthy eating and about the importance of being active. Now 19 years old and 60 pounds lighter, Clayton has taken her healthy habits with her to the University of Nevada, Reno, where she’s a freshman planning to major in community health sciences so that she can help others. Clayton, who is half-Native American, has already helped family members move away from unhealthy traditional foods and get hooked on fresh fruits, veggies and healthier meat options like turkey. “She’s inspired us,” says her dad, Robert. “Everybody’s making healthier choices and decisions now.”
Longtime partners Richard-Curtis Simpson and Randall Streiffert had put on weight during their 23-year relationship. Late-onset adult diabetes runs on both sides of both men’s families, a factor that led them to decide in 2009 it was time for a change. Both began to eat healthier, consume less and take regular walks together. Their efforts yielded impressive dividends — Simpson lost 70 lbs. and Streiffert dropped between 35-40 lbs. “The two of us did it together. Get support from your family, your spouse, from everyone around you,” said Simpson, who has gotten positive reinforcement for his weight loss during checkups with his Kaiser Permanente physician.
The “Care Stories” blog presents Kaiser Permanente members talking about their own care in their own words, unscripted and uncompensated. It also showcases physicians and employees doing what they do best — caring for members and striving to do that better each day.