With obesity levels in the U.S. at all-time highs, Genesee County healthcare leaders are working together to make local improvements through “Collaborate for Healthy Weight,” a national effort to reverse the epidemic through innovative local partnerships between primary care providers, public health professionals, and leaders of community-based organizations. Genesee County is one of 50 locations across the country that has been chosen for this groundbreaking program that will bring solutions to the local community and share strategies on a broader scale. The effort is being led by the National Initiative for Children’s Healthcare Quality (NICHQ), in partnership with the Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA).
“We are delighted that NICHQ has selected our team from Genesee County to participate in this initiative based on our solid commitment to achieving healthy weight and improving health behaviors in our community,” said team leader Kirk Smith, President and CEO of the Greater Flint Health Coalition. “We look forward to improving outcomes locally as well as sharing what we learn in this project with communities in other areas of the country.”
Along with the Greater Flint Health Coalition, the cross-sectoral Genesee County team also includes representatives from the Genesee County Health Department, Genesee County Medical Society, Hamilton Community Health Network, Mott Children’s Health Center, and the Genesee County Great Start Parent Coalition.
This project will focus on improving the health status of all Genesee County residents, where approximately 70% of the population is either obese or overweight. This builds on local initiatives of the Greater Flint Health Coalition including its County Health Rankings Action Plan and the Commit to Fit! Campaign, each of which was launched in 2011 with a ten-year focus on improving health status and health behaviors in Genesee County.
The 50 teams from across the country participating in the Collaborate for Healthy Weight initiative will learn from national experts, exchange ideas, and create plans for becoming best practice models for other communities to follow. The project will run through February 2013. To see a complete list of participating locations, go to: www.collaborateforhealthyweight.org/About/Collaborative/Meet-the-HWC-Team.aspx.
“Obesity constitutes a grave threat to the health and well-being of our nation, with a particularly strong impact on diverse and disadvantaged communities,” said Charles Homer, MD, MPH, president and CEO of NICHQ. He continued, “We are so proud of these communities that are laying the groundwork for tackling this complex and serious issue. As their work gets underway, these efforts will make a huge difference in the lives of children and their families across the nation.”