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Phoenix's Children's Hospital and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona Pilot State's First Childhood Obesity Clinic

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SOURCE Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona

Effort to combat childhood obesity epidemic starts with the patient and family, physician and community

PHOENIX, July 7, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The mental, physical and financial impact of childhood obesity is challenging American youth in every state. For Arizona, the numbers are staggering: 25 percent of Arizona's youth are categorized as overweight or obese, and the state holds the seventh-highest percentage (19.8%) of obese teens in the nation.1  In an effort to curb this trend and reduce childhood obesity and related illnesses, Phoenix Children's Hospital and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ) are joining together to create the state's first collaboration between a health plan and hospital focused on childhood obesity.

BCBSAZ has provided Phoenix Children's with resources to launch a childhood obesity clinic serving 100 pediatric patients in a one-year pilot program. Spearheaded by BCBSAZ

Chief Medical Officer, Vishu Jhaveri, MD, MSA and Phoenix Children's pediatrician, Kristen Samaddar, MD, FAAP, the program targets eligible patients ages 2-18.

"Childhood obesity is one of the most common issues we address.  Our goal is to emphasize healthy eating and active living at every preventative care encounter," said Dr. Samaddar. "We'll provide personalized nutrition and fitness education, help families set personal health goals, order recommended screenings and closely monitor success.  We'll also provide coaching between visits and connect families to local school and community resources that promote health and fitness. By creating a team with families, physicians, insurance companies, schools and community organizations, we believe it is possible to overcome childhood obesity and help kids have a healthy future." 

The HEALTH (Healthy Eating Active Living Total Health) clinic will reside at Phoenix Children's Hospital and apply principles of the patient-centered medical home model, which empowers the primary care physician to orchestrate patient care. "By organizing care around the patient with clear criteria, we are working together to track outcomes through the involvement of the physician, patient and family, and community," said Dr. Jhaveri. 

The clinic will also utilize the 5-2-1-0 initiative long supported by BCBSAZ and the American Academy of Pediatrics. This initiative encourages children to eat 5 servings of fruits and vegetables, engage in 2 hours or less of screen time, get 1 hour of physical activity and have 0 sweetened drinks each day.

A few of the collaboration's top-line goals include:

  • Implementing a program to reduce childhood obesity through health and wellness;
  • Increasing fruit and vegetable consumption among patients;
  • Developing a long–term, evidence-based model to decrease childhood obesity; and
  • Creating an outcome-based program between the health plan and provider community.

About Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Arizona (BCBSAZ), an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association, is the largest Arizona-based health insurance company. The not-for-profit company was founded in 1939 and provides health insurance products, services or networks to 1.3 million individuals. With offices in Phoenix, Flagstaff, Tucson and the East Valley, the company employs more than 1,300 Arizonans. Follow BCBSAZ at www.facebook.com/bcbsaz or on Twitter at @bcbsaz to get information on health and wellness, a knowledgeable perspective on health insurance reform, and become a part of what we're doing in your community.  

About Phoenix Children's Hospital
Phoenix Children's Hospital is Arizona's only children's hospital that is ranked by U.S. News & World Report's Best Children's Hospitals. Phoenix Children's provides world-class inpatient, outpatient, trauma, emergency and urgent care to children and families in Arizona and throughout the Southwest. As one of the largest children's hospitals in the country, Phoenix Children's provides care across more than 75 pediatric specialties. The hospital is poised for continued growth in quality patient care, research and medical education. For more information about the hospital, visit http://www.phoenixchildrens.org

1 www.cdc.gov

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