The New Jersey Chapter, American Academy of Pediatrics believes that every child deserves a quality breakfast, lunch and dinner each and every day and that all children should have daily access to varied physical activity programs – in child care centers, schools, after-school programs, and other community settings. NJAAP also believes that the Pediatric Medical Home stands in a unique position to educate children and families early about the life-long benefits of proper nutrition and healthy activity . The Chapter also encourages the implementation of evidence-based standards and policies by schools and communities for improving the nutrition and wellness of all children. To accomplish these objectives, the state must redouble its commitment to leadership, sustained resources, and funding for reducing childhood obesity rates and food insecurity. Efforts for achieving these goals should be concentrated within four core areas:
NJAAP Obesity Prevention Programs
- Access to Food: Increased support should be enacted to ensure families and others responsible for providing nutrition to children, have greater access – both in schools and in under-served communities – to foods that are nutrient-rich and low in added sugars and fat.
- Physical Activity: A renewed emphasis on providing appropriate daily physical activity programs to all children that encourage, educate and promote the life-long benefits of personal fitness.
- Research and Partnerships: Prevention strategies must be developed, tested, and subsequently implemented within the context of the Medical Home. This will require collaborating and building coalitions with professionals in the fields of:
- Behavioral Health
- Physical Therapy
- Exercise Physiology
Additionally, partnerships must be established between communities, schools, and hospitals for counseling services, opportunities for physical activity, and strategic planning and reinforcement of best practices in obesity prevention and treatment.
- Payment: Adequate healthcare coverage and payment for obesity prevention strategies, must focus on and include: – Nutrition consultations; – Nutrition and fitness counseling provided by the Medical Home.