New study says children's weight in Kindergarten predicts weight later in life

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

CARDIAC Kids program fights epidemic of childhood obesity

A recent study found that children who are overweight in Kindergarten are four times more likely than "normal" weight children to become obese by eighth grade.

The study is the latest in a series of studies examining the epidemic of childhood obesity and its potential causes.

CoxHealth's Kohl's CARDIAC Kids team has been working to fight childhood obesity in the Ozarks for a number of years by spreading the message of a healthy lifestyle through school-based and community events, working closely with children and their families to help them understand the connections between food, exercise and overall health.

"During the past year, we were able to connect with more than 1,000 area kids," said Lauren Holland, a CoxHealth wellness coordinator and CARDIAC Kids coordinator. "Through the health screenings that are part of our program, we found 39 percent of the children were overweight or at-risk, and 20 percent were at-risk for high blood pressure. We're working with these families to help them change their child's health and future."

The program, which began in the Monett area, is now in 13 school districts, including Nixa. CARDIAC Kids educators host fun, educational assemblies for students, organize health screenings, and, through CARDIAC Kids Family Fun Nights, reconnect with at-risk families for information on exercise, kid-friendly healthy recipes and more.

"It's that follow up that really makes a difference," said Holland. "With that, and tracking year-to-year results, we can see positive trends."

The program is made possible by yearly grants from Kohl's Cares. Since 2011, Kohl's has donated more than $132,000 to CoxHealth to support the CARDIAC Kids program.