HealthMPowers Partners with Pfizer and Middle Georgia Medical Society to Launch “Empowering Healthy Choices”, a Multi-Year Health Promotion Pilot in Four Bibb County, Ga. Schools
Pilot designed to increase student, staff and family awareness of obesity epidemic and provide information on healthier eating habits, increased physical activity
ATLANTA, April 27, 2011- – HealthMPowers, a non-profit organization committed to increasing health knowledge and promoting health-enhancing behaviors, Pfizer Inc. and the Middle Georgia Medical Society announced they have entered into a strategic alliance to launch a three-year pilot program in four Bibb County, Georgia schools to improve student health knowledge and behaviors.
Using a comprehensive, hands-on approach, HealthMPowers is science-based and follows the 10 strategies defined by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) that schools should employ to combat obesity. The Bibb County pilot titled, “Empowering Healthy Choices,” will include these strategies for increasing student, school staff and family awareness of this epidemic, while encouraging participants to engage in more physical activity and healthier eating habits.
The pilot, funded by Pfizer, includes involvement from the Middle Georgia Medical Society, a professional association of physicians in Bibb County, whereby doctors will be assigned to participating elementary schools and provide staff, students and families with instructions and guidance for incorporating these life-long healthy habits into their daily routines. “We are especially proud to join in this effort to improve the link between the schools and the medical community, and to foster an environment that encourages regular check-ups and screenings,” said Dr. Warren Hutchings of the Middle Georgia Medical Society.
In addition, the organizational collaboration on this program will help create partnerships with the Department of Community Health and United Healthcare to provide wellness programs for the staffs at the participating schools which, in turn, will lead to higher overall success.
Childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years, according to The Journal of the American Medical Association. And, the 2010 report by Trust for America’s Youth and the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, F as in Fat: How Obesity Threatens American’s Future 2010, reports that Georgia has the second highest obesity rate with 21.3 percent of Georgia’s children ages 10 -17 being obese.
The short-term psychological consequences may include poor body image and lower test scores. Long-term consequences include a variety of health consequences from high blood pressure to respiratory ailments, said Christi Kay, executive director of HealthMPowers.
“HealthMPowers has longed recognized the connection between healthy schools, healthy students and healthy communities,” Kay said. “The partnership with Pfizer will expand our reach in Bibb County and provide schools and families with the tools and knowledge they need to engage in healthier behaviors.”
The four elementary schools in the pilot are Bernd, Burdell-Hunt, King-Danforth and Jones. The combined population of the four schools is close to 2,000 students. Health risk appraisals and fitness assessments for staff began in the schools in early 2011.
The program also extends Pfizer’s school partnerships. The company has a long history of supporting various school programs. “As a global organization, Pfizer strives to positively impact the health of people around the world,” said Katie Jones, Georgia State Director for Primary Care, Pfizer. “By working with HealthMPowers on “Empowering Healthy Choices,” we can reach and connect with young people in Middle Georgia to promote overall wellness and long-term positive outcomes.”
The partnership announcement was made today at a parent presentation at Bernd Elementary School in Macon, Ga. The interactive session, produced by HealthMPowers and led by Dr. Warren Hutchings of the Middle Georgia Medical Society, educated attendees on the importance of active lifestyles to promote healthy living.
For more information on HealthMPowers, visit www.healthmpowers.org.
HealthMPowers is a unique, coordinated initiative designed to increase health knowledge and promote health-enhancing behaviors among youth by providing state-of-the-art programming in the school setting. Health education lessons are presented in a memorable and interactive way helping each student build a foundation for making responsible health decisions throughout the course of his or her life. By working in collaboration with teachers and parents, HealthMPowers helps build the supportive environment necessary for the adoption of health-enhancing behaviors. Health promotion programs and services are provided to more than 100 schools across the state reaching over 50,000 students and their teachers and families. For more information, visit www.healthmpowers.org.
At Pfizer, we apply science and our global resources to improve health and well-being at every stage of life. We strive to set the standard for quality, safety and value in the discovery, development and manufacturing of medicines for people and animals. Our diversified global health care portfolio includes human and animal biologic and small molecule medicines and vaccines, as well as nutritional products and many of the world’s best-known consumer products. Every day, Pfizer colleagues work across developed and emerging markets to advance wellness, prevention, treatments and cures that challenge the most feared diseases of our time. Consistent with our responsibility as the world’s leading biopharmaceutical company, we also collaborate with health care providers, governments and local communities to support and expand access to reliable, affordable health care around the world. For more than 150 years, Pfizer has worked to make a difference for all who rely on us. To learn more about our commitments, please visit us at www.pfizer.com
About Middle Georgia Medical Society
Founded in 1893, Middle Georgia Medical Society (MGMS) is a national affiliate of the National Medical Association (NMA) located in the Washington, DC metropolitan area is the state affiliate of the Georgia State Medical Association. GSMA is one of the oldest non-profit medical associations representing the interest of more than 2,000 physicians and their patients across the state of Georgia.