Money Matters - Simplified

Proposal to check obesity in children

New York, February 21: Various health groups and insurance companies have joined hands to tackle one of America’s major health problems- obesity in children. A unique proposal for the same was put forth yesterday.

According to officials of the Alliance for a Healthier Generation, a combined endeavor by the American Heart Association and the William J. Clinton Foundation, the principal objective of the plan is to tackle childhood obesity by providing kids better access to healthcare facilities.

Insurance firms that are a part of the initiative will financially back at least 4 visits each to a dietician and a physician every year. These visits will help in guiding children and their parents on how to eat healthy besides making them aware of other measures to reduce and keep a check on their weight.

It is worth noting that more than one-third of kids in the United States are suffering from obesity and weight problems. This has brought up concerns that theirs could be the first generation in recent times to have shorter life spans as compared to their parents.

The chief hurdle that families confront in combating obesity is to get insurance companies to fund doctor visits to help solve the problem.

The notable insurers who have joined the initiative include BlueCross BlueShield, North Carolina; BlueCross BlueShield, Massachusetts; Aetna; and WellPoint. The organizers wish to see more insurance companies following in their footsteps.

Firms such as PepsiCo, Owens Corning and Paychex have signed on as well. They will be providing the benefits to their employee’s kids.

Organizers anticipate that if their proposal goes ahead as planned, about 1 million kids in the first year and above 6 million over three years will reap the benefits.

Medical groups like the American Academy of Pediatrics and the American Dietetic Association have already joined to supervise the program.