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Week of the Young Child

Middletown Celebrates the Week of the Young Child!

Middlesex Hospital, the Middlesex Coalition for Children, the Middletown School Readiness Council and Opportunity Knocks offered collaborative Grand Rounds, on Thursday April 9 at Middlesex Hospital. A Maternal-Child Life Course Approach to Preventing Childhood Obesity presented by Dr. Rafael Perez-Escamilla of the Yale School of Public Health.

Obesity is still a major public health problem in Connecticut with a health gap that mirrors our education gap for residents who have lower family incomes or who are African American, Hispanic or Latino. We must all work together to give kids a healthy start. If we wait until children enter Kindergarten or even Preschool to think about their health, we have missed critical time points in their development that could make achieving a healthy weight possible.

A mother’s preconception weight/BMI, the amount of weight she gains during pregnancy, whether she smokes during pregnancy, how the infant is fed, what the infant is fed, and weight gain during infancy all contribute to a person’s lifetime obesity risk. If we are to turn the curve on this indicator and begin to address inequities for racial and ethnic groups, we need to work together across all sectors of health care and the community.

Background reading to support this discussion: http://www.chdi.org/files/5214/1209/5014/preventing_childhood_obesity.pdf

Rafael Pérez-Escamilla, Ph.D., is Professor of Epidemiology & Public Health, Director of the Office of Public Health Practice, and Director of the Global Health Concentration at the Yale School of Public Health. His global public health nutrition and food security research program has led to improvements in breastfeeding programs, iron deficiency anemia among infants, household food security measurement and outcomes, and community nutrition education programs. His health disparities research involves assessing the impact of community health workers at improving behavioral and metabolic outcomes among Latinos with type 2 diabetes. He has published over 145 research articles, 2 books, and numerous journal supplements, book chapters, and technical reports. He is a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) Food and Nutrition Board. He has been a senior advisor to maternal-child community nutrition programs as well as household food security measurement projects funded by WHO, PAHO, UNICEF, FAO, UNESCO, UNDP, CDC, USDA, USAID, The World Bank, the Gates Foundation, and the Governments of Mexico, Brazil, and Colombia.

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