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St. Luke’s Children’s YEAH! Program Fights Childhood Obesity

Yeah! participants in the Magic Valley take a moment to share their excitement about the program.
By Ken Dey, News and Community
April 15, 2013

BOISE, Idaho - Evidence shows that childhood obesity has reached epidemic proportions across our country. In an effort to decrease the number of children who are obese in our community, St. Luke’s Children’s offers the YEAH! program, an acronym for Youth Engaged in Activities for Health. It is a program for children ages 5-16 with a BMI greater than 85 percent who have been referred by their physician for weight and lifestyle management.

This program focuses on healthy eating, physical activity, and positive behavior changes for kids and their families. Programs of eight and 16 weeks are currently offered in the Treasure Valley, Magic Valley and Wood River Valley.

The program has shown tremendous results because it actively engages the entire family in a lifestyle modification effort. “The parental example cannot be overlooked in promoting healthy habits,” said Liz LeFevre, RD, LD, clinical dietitian at St. Luke’s Wood River. “This is a fun and exciting way for families to develop tools to take charge of their health.”

The Wood River Valley program tracked the results of the eight-week program and found Initial assessments from the program yielded positive results. Some of the highlights include participants replacing fast foods with fruits and vegetables, reducing TV time and increasing participation in organized sports. In addition, 60 percent of participants, who were able to be measured, had a decrease in BMI.

In the Magic Valley, results of the six-week pilot program included a decrease in BMI among 60 percent of the participants and weight loss in 47 percent of participants. After three months, two of the participants were no longer considered obese.“This program changed me like the way I acted…,” said a 14-year-old boy who participated. “My eating habits changed, my exercising habits went off the charts at home and school. I’m not the same man I was two months ago…”

To find out more about the YEAH! program, click here.

Upcoming wellness and childhood obesity events

The Treasure Valley will hold a couple of events targeting childhood obesity this Saturday, April 13.

The Taking Charge of Childhood Obesity: A Call to Action Conference will feature Dr. David Katz, the founding director of Yale University’s Prevention Research Center. Katz is known internationally for his expertise in nutrition, weight management, and chronic disease prevention. The conference begins at 7 a.m. in the Stueckle Sky Center and will include the keynote address, workshop sessions, and a panel discussion surrounding the latest trends, change models and collaborative approaches to address the growing obesity issue in our community. To find out more about the event, click here.

Following the conference, the Be Well Now Family Wellness Festival will take place at Boise State’s Caven-Williams Sport Complex.  A collaborative effort between St. Luke’s Children’s, Blue Cross of Idaho, Boise State, Central District Health, Department of Health and Welfare, State Department of Education, and many other community partners, this day will be packed with health lifestyle activities for the entire family.

The Be Well Now Festival will be held from 1 to 4 p.m., with the Boise State Football Spring Scrimmage following. Some of the day’s highlights will include a walk with Mayor Dave Bieter, demonstrations by Summerwind Skippers, TRICA, School of Rock, Boise State athletes and coaches, and many others who will be promoting and demonstrating healthy activity and nutrition.  All of the festival activities are FREE, so bring the whole family for a great afternoon of fun!

For additional information, please contact Jean Mutchie at jmutchie@elksrehab.org or 489-4700.

About The Author

Ken Dey served as Public Relations Coordinator at St. Luke's from 2008-2014.

Related Facility

St. Luke's Children's Hospital
190 E. Bannock St.
Boise, ID 83712
(208) 381-2804

Related Facility

St. Luke's Wood River Medical Center
Street Address: 100 Hospital Dr.
Mailing Address: P.O. Box 100
Ketchum, ID 83340
(208) 727-8800