Florida Hospital Uses AHRQ DVD on Childhood Obesity Prevention
Lakeland Regional Medical Center (LRMC) in Florida is using a DVD developed with AHRQ support to help deliver a message to kids and parents on how to eat healthier and be more active. LRMC, an 850-bed hospital, is airing a program called Max's Magical Delivery: Fit for Kids in its 40 pediatric inpatient rooms. The 30-minute learning show has been programmed into the hospital's closed circuit TV network to teach children the value of healthy eating and physical activity.
The interactive DVD is targeted to children aged five to nine and includes information for parents. AHRQ originally worked with Discovery Networks to develop the program in response to the growing epidemic of childhood obesity in the U.S. Showing it in a clinical setting stimulates dialogue among children, parents, and their health care providers.
LRMC clinical educator Sue Moore, Certified Pediatric Nurse, says the AHRQ program is one way the center provides vital education to its pediatric patient populations about preventing childhood obesity. "The information in AHRQ's Max's Magical Delivery is a great resource for kids and parents," she says. "The fact that obesity is an issue is no secret. So many people are overweight because of the food we eat, combined with a lack of physical activity."
In an effort to curb this trend, the interactive program offers healthier lifestyle suggestions, such as eating more fruits and vegetables, spending less time in front of the TV or computer, and finding fun ways to be physically active both indoors and out. There is also a separate section for parents on small, achievable steps they can take to encourage healthy habits in their children and themselves.
According to Moore, response from pediatric patients and their parents has been positive. "The kids who have provided feedback like the colors and age-appropriate delivery," she notes. "I appreciated that the program provided a review or restatement of information that reinforced retention of learning."
In the future, Max's Magical Delivery may not only help LRMC fight childhood obesity, but it also may help encourage ill children who need to eat more. Child Life Program Specialist Christie Schwichtenberg says she may soon start using the program in her one-on-one sessions with the center's pediatric patients. Schwichtenberg is a Certified Child Life Specialist.
"Sometimes when kids are sick, they don't want to eat," Schwichtenberg says. "Foundationally, the program has great information about nutrition, so the information is there to encourage them to eat properly. Also, the DVD provides a distraction and makes eating fun."
LRMC, a not-for-profit facility, has served Lakeland and the surrounding communities for more than 80 years. It houses the largest pediatric medical/surgical unit in the area.
Combating Childhood Obesity: Get DVDs to Help Prevent Obesity in Children. December 2006. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD.