Regional Approach to Cutting Childhood Obesity Gets Attention

Key health care stakeholders and advocates for children from throughout Central Florida attended a recent work session in Orlando with representatives of the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC), and informally agreed they would like to try to replicate the CLOCC program locally.

And they also agreed they would like to focus on the health of very young children.

The CLOCC program, which has received national recognition for its work in childhood obesity prevention, research and innovation, is led by community leaders in the health sector and guided by community-based groups from across the Chicago area.

CLOCC fosters and facilitates connections between researchers; public health advocates and practitioners; corporations; policymakers; and children, families, and communities. All work is focused on promoting healthy and active lifestyles for children throughout the Chicago area.

Robert Wood Johnson Foundation provided a grant to CLOCC to choose four new communities—East Central Florida; Dallas, Texas; Wake County, N.C. and Kansas City, Mo.—to receive technical assistance in developing a similar model.

The Winter Park Health Foundation and the Health Council of East Central Florida were co-conveners of the event which drew more than 80 advocates for the health and well-being of children from Orange, Seminole, Osceola and Brevard counties. All major medical systems and school districts from all four counties were represented at the work session, as well as the UCF medical school and the Central Florida YMCA.

Representatives from the Blue Foundation for a Healthy Florida also participated in the East Central Florida gathering. The Blue Foundation, a funder of statewide health initiatives in Florida, has declared childhood obesity as one of its major focus areas. It is interested in collaborating with WPHF and the Health Council on related efforts in our region. Debbie Watson, WPHF VP, and Karen van Caulil, Executive Director of the Health Council of East Central Florida, are working with Blue Foundation staff and consultants to determine next steps.

Stay tuned.