University of Missouri Health Care pediatricians are teaming up with the local health department on a program aimed at promoting healthy lifestyles. Boone County Fit-tastic, a three-year initiative recently started by Columbia/Boone County Public Health and Human Services, will engage local partners in a concerted effort to:
- Increase the proportion of children at a healthy weight.
- Increase the proportion of residents engaged in healthy eating and active living.
- Increase policy and environmental changes to support healthy eating and active living.
The Fit-tastic movement began in Kansas City and has since expanded to other areas. Locally, MU Health Care is one of several community partners that have teamed up with the health department on the initiative.
At MU Health Care, pediatrician Anuradha Rajagopalan, MD, says each child ages 2 to 18 who comes in for a well visit has a healthy lifestyle assessment of physical activity, screen time, water intake and nutrition. Pediatricians then review the information with the child and his or her family before coming up with a goal. This could be to watch less TV, get more exercise, eat more fruits and vegetables or drink more water or milk. Then Fit-tastic provides educational materials and incentives that can help the kids reach their goals.
Although pediatricians have been promoting similar measures individually, Rajagopalan says, this effort puts everyone on the same page.
“We’re working together consistently to deliver the same message,” she adds. MU pediatricians started the effort in August 2016, and Rajagopalan says she’s excited to track results over time.