Program Expands During National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month
A new health initiative to combat childhood obesity in Miami-Dade launched this week. MEND 7-13 — Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it! — is a new program designed to combat childhood obesity among children age 7-13 by educating families on the importance of proper nutrition. The program launched in partnership with the Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC), the U.S. Health Resources and Service Administration, the National Association of Community Health Centers, Jessie Trice Community Health Center, and Borinquen Medical Centers of Miami-Dade.
“With the dangers that childhood obesity poses in causing chronic health problems later in life, Community Health Centers are committed to educating Florida’s families about this epidemic,” said Andy Behrman, president and CEO of FACHC. “Florida currently has one of the top five highest rates of childhood obesity, and we see this concerning truth as a call to action to improve the nutritional habits of Florida’s youth.”
MEND 7-13 is one of the world’s largest evidence-based healthy lifestyle programs that empowers the critical age group of 7-13 year olds, along with the support of their families, to reach and maintain a healthy weight. The main goal of MEND 7-13 is to adjust the behaviors that cause children to become overweight and obese by encouraging healthy eating, regular physical activity and positive behavior change.
With the MEND 7-13 program, families are discovering nutritious food options through activities like a supermarket tour with a nutritionist and learning how to make delicious, healthier meals in cooking classes offered by the program.
The program is currently being hosted by two Community Health Centers in the Miami area: Jessie Trice Community Health Center and Borinquen Medical Centers of Miami-Dade. The MEND 7-13 program ran through the summer and will continue through the end of the year with the last cohort of children and families starting the 10-week program this week.
“I am proud to be a part of bringing this effective and life-changing program to our community,” said Dr. Deborah Gracia, chief medical officer at Borinquen Medical Centers of Miami-Dade. “Providing integrated care is an essential part of the program, which is why we brought together team members from various disciplines at our center, including nurse practitioners, a nutritionist, a mental health specialist, and a medical assistant. We’re confident that an early investment in health and wellness will pay dividends throughout each child’s future.”
For more information about MEND 7-13, and to find out more about what the MEND Foundation has to offer, visit mendfoundation.org.
Florida Association of Community Health Centers
The Florida Association of Community Health Centers (FACHC) is one of the state’s leading advocate community-based health care programs. FACHC aims to educate key policymakers at all levels about healthcare issues while also improving access to quality health services across the state. For more information, visit fachc.org.