Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta is a proud partner of Georgia Shape.
In response to the nearly 1 million children in Georgia at an unhealthy weight, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta made a commitment in 2011 to help tackle the issue with a movement called Strong4Life. Since then, Strong4Life has evolved to help families in the state actively prevent health risks by focusing on healthy nutrition and physical activity habits.
The Strong4Life initiative includes programming to:
Encourage students to select smart choices: Stong4Life understands that school nutrition managers and staff can have a powerful influence on children’s food choices and that smart food choices have a profound effect on children’s health. The Strong4Life School Nutrition Program was created to equip school nutrition staff with effective strategies to inspire smarter eating at school. Strong4Life also reaches school nurses and clinic assistants through educational webinars. Strong4Life interacts directly with students through programs like the Strong4Life Challenge.
Arm parents with the facts and tips they need to create a healthier home environments: Strong4Life radio and digital advertising helps point parents to Strong4Life.com, a unique website where parents can find tips, tricks and expert advice on everything from bedtime battles to mealtime hassles, and everything in between. From birth to school-age, Georgia parents can find articles, videos and resources that are specific to the life-stage of their child.
Train healthcare providers to encourage healthy habits: Through Strong4Life healthcare provider programs, Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta arms providers with necessary skills and tools that offer actionable information about motivational interviewing techniques, goal setting, BMI tracking and childhood obesity management protocols to effectively manage overweight or obese patients. As a result, primary care providers, WIC nutritionists and school nurses are all using consistent messages when they speak to patients, students and families about the importance of healthy habits.
Assist parents in early prevention: Research continues to support obesity prevention as early as possible which is why Strong4Life prioritizes working with parents beginning at the birth of their child. Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta trained pediatricians offer the Strong4Life Early Feeding Program with tools and resources for new moms. These resources encourage establishing healthy eating habits from birth and help parents navigate common challenges like picky eating.
Support high-risk populations: Strong4Life supports underserved, high-risk populations through a training program with Women, Infants and Children (WIC). The program trains WIC staff in all 18 public health districts on motivational interviewing techniques. Used in conjunction with the value-enhanced nutrition assessment, motivational interviewing can assist WIC nutritionists in discovering behaviors clients are most willing to change – resulting in improved goal setting.
Provide clinical and community care for children most in need: The Strong4Life Clinic was created specifically for children struggling with weight issues. It is a family-based integrated medical approach to treating childhood obesity that includes personalized nutrition and activity plans, while managing weight-related conditions, as needed. In addition to the clinic, Strong4Life reaches the community through a unique overnight summer camp. Camp Strong4Life fills a child’s day with fun, healthy activities. Campers feel a sense of belonging, discover their own strengths and take away Strong4Life healthy habits that last a lifetime.
To date, Strong4Life has reached more than 900,000 children, trained more than 3,000 health care providers, and had a presence in more than 1,700 schools across all of Georgia’s 159 counties. For more information on the Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta Strong4Life program, visit http://www.strong4life.com/