By: Erika Matich | University Communications
AURORA, Colo. - The University of Colorado’s Anschutz Health and Wellness Center (AHWC) has been recognized by the Clinton Foundation for its pledge to reduce childhood obesity. The Clinton Foundation was founded with the mission to improve global health, strengthen economies, promote healthier childhoods and health and wellness, and protect the environment by fostering partnerships among businesses, governments, nongovernmental organizations, and private citizens.
The Clinton Health Matters Initiative (CHMI), an initiative of the Clinton Foundation that promotes health and wellness across generations, recognizes organizations across the country investing in disease prevention. AHWC’s pledge involves thousands of school children in Colorado.
“We are thrilled to be recognized by the Clinton Foundation,” said James O. Hill, PhD, executive director of AHWC and professor of pediatrics and medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine. “We are committed to providing 5th graders skills they need to make healthy choices through our ‘5th Gear Kids’ partnership.”
Rather than telling the kids what to do, ‘5th Gear Kids’ teaches young people about energy balance – which means balancing energy intake with energy expenditure. The program also teaches kids how to be healthy consumers by providing access to healthy food and physical activity choices. Local businesses provide discounts and special promotions for healthy alternatives to participants and their families emphasizing fun, active lifestyles and eating good, healthy food. 5th Gear participants earn points on their special ‘5th Gear Kids’ ID that they can redeem for prizes.
More than 7,200 5th grade students in 75 Aurora Public Schools and Cherry Creek Public Schools have been introduced to the program. Indirectly, an estimated 10,000 parents have also been exposed. It can be translated to many other school districts throughout Colorado and some have already expressed interest. The program may also serve as a national model for fighting childhood obesity.
Four other Colorado-based organizations are recognized by the Clinton Health Matters Initiative. They are Discover Well, The Cycle Effect, Food, Faith and Family and The Kitchen Community. These organizations have been meeting to share ideas and explore ways to work together to promote wellness broadly throughout the state of Colorado.