Childhood Obesity: From Intervention to Prevention
ICF International Report Focuses on Efforts to Reach Children in First Years Before Poor Nutrition Habits Formed
Fairfax, Virginia, August 22, 2007 -
Prevention through a holistic approach that incorporates healthy lifestyles and best practices during the first years of life is key to fighting childhood obesity, according to a new report issued today by leading early care and education experts at ICF International (NASDAQ: ICFI).
The report, Childhood Obesity Prevention, examines the need to implement innovative strategies and methods for promoting obesity prevention early on in settings where young children spend time, such as in child care, health care provider offices, neighborhoods/communities, and the home. Here, according to the report, is where change agents can inform and influence decision-making and behavior development.
“Childhood obesity is a national concern, and stemming the tide is a national priority,” said Barbara Rudin, Ph.D., an ICF senior vice president and early childhood expert. “ICF International’s expertise in this arena is extensive, and we are committed to working with government and industry leaders to reduce childhood obesity and help prevent its negative consequences.”
Traditionally, the focus of childhood obesity has been on intervention rather than prevention. Often outreach is school-based, targeting children between ages 6 and 12, when the greatest increases are seen in the prevalence of overweight and obesity. According to the report, intervention is important to mediating the long-term effects of obesity, but it requires unlearning negative behaviors and attitudes about nutrition. Prevention strategies, by comparison, target the very young and their environs to influence children’s learning about nutrition and physical activity before unhealthy habits are learned.
ICF offers extensive experience supporting early childhood education and child care settings. Programs the firm has helped develop, implement, and/or manage include:
- Healthy Steps for Young Children, a national initiative that focuses on the importance of the first three years of life by fostering relationships between health care providers and parents;
- “I Am Moving, I Am Learning,” an obesity prevention initiative supporting children and families participating in Head Start; and
- Maine Obesity Primary Prevention Project, a pilot intervention to develop and assess a clinical counseling guide created to support healthy dietary and physical activity patterns for children from birth to age 5.
About ICF International
ICF International (NASDAQ: ICFI) partners with government and commercial clients to deliver consulting services and technology solutions in the energy, climate change, environment, transportation, social programs, health, defense, and emergency management markets. The firm combines passion for its work with industry expertise and innovative analytics to produce compelling results throughout the entire program life cycle, from analysis and design through implementation and improvement. Since 1969, ICF has been serving government at all levels, major corporations, and multilateral institutions. More than 2,500 employees serve these clients worldwide. ICF’s Web site is www.icfi.com.
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