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Let's Go! 5210

Inland Hospital Fights Childhood Obesity

Over the past 30 years, the rate of children ages 6-11 who are overweight or obese has nearly tripled and for the first time in history, children born today are likely to live a shorter life than their parents. In Maine, 28% of Maine kindergarten students are overweight or obese and the statistics remain about the same for high school age children*. Medical costs related to preventable health woes linked to obesity continue to soar.

A program called “Let’s Go!” is one proven solution to help combat the childhood obesity epidemic that’s working here in Maine. Let’s Go! reaches children and families where they live, learn, work and play with a consistent message that promotes four healthy behaviors: 5-2-1-0. (5 or more fruits & vegetables; 2 hours of less recreational screen time; 1 hour or more of active play; and 0 sugary drinks/more water & low fat milk per day) The nationally recognized program designed to increase healthy eating and active living in children is growing in schools, daycares, workplaces, healthcare sites, after-school programs, and communities around the state and across the country.

Inland Hospital, a Let’s Go! Kennebec partner, is supporting the program as well as local schools by promoting 5-2-1-0 throughout the community. The program is implemented in all of its hospital-owned family practices, and all family practices have been recognized by Let’s Go! as healthcare sites of distinction. Let’s Go! posters and resources will be found throughout the offices and providers will consistently track height and weight of their pediatric patients. Healthy Habits Surveys given at all well-child visits with children two and older will lay the groundwork for respectful conversations around healthy habits that can help children and families lead a healthier lifestyle and achieve or maintain a healthy weight.

Liz Bailey-Scott, a physician assistant at Inland’s Madison practice notes, “The Healthy Habits Survey is an excellent tool to connect with patients and make a difference in the lives of our local families. It’s a great ice breaker for what can be a sensitive subject.”
Besides the healthcare sector, Let’s Go! Kennebec reaches over 1,000 children in Kennebec County through child care facilities, schools, and out of school programs. By reaching families where they live, learn, work and play, the Let’s Go! program can foster healthy habits for all children starting from a young age.

If you would like to learn more about Let’s Go! visit www.letsgo.org or contact Laura Howell, Let’s Go! Kennebec Coordinator with Inland Hospital at 861-3293 or lhowell@emhs.org.
Note to parents: For more resources please visit the Let's Go! Parents Resources page.

*Data from OneMaine Health Collaborative’s 2010 Community Health Needs Assessment