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Blue Cross and Blue Shield Funds Diabetes Education at Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center
Date:5/8/2009

CHICAGO, May 8 /PRNewswire/ -- Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center, 2233 W. Division St., Chicago, received a $65,000 grant from Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Illinois' Childhood Health and Wellness Initiative to fund the Medical Center's program for children at risk for obesity and diabetes. This is the first year the grant has been awarded.

Obesity is an epidemic in the United States. Since the 1970s, obesity has more than doubled for preschool-aged children and tripled for school-aged children. Today, nearly twice as many Hispanic children are overweight as compared to a decade ago.

The staff of Saints Mary and Elizabeth Medical Center's Childhood Awareness of Nutrition, Diabetes and Obesity (CAN DO) Program is working hard to combat this problem. An important facet of this program is that it targets children at a young age - where they can begin to make healthy choices that can positively impact their futures.

Since its inception, the CAN DO Program has reached more than 700 children and 550 parents. In addition to providing education about diabetes, diet and exercise, this bilingual program also checks cholesterol and glucose blood levels. Nurse educators identify children at risk of diabetes or pre-diabetes and alert their parents to the need for follow-up medical care. The program is conducted within schools located in the West Town, Logan Square and Humboldt Park neighborhoods. Children participating in the program attend classes during the school day, usually a total of 10 sessions.

"It is important to address obesity issues at an early age," said Gladys Aguirre, R.N., Manager of the Medical Center's Community Health Education Department. "Teaching healthy eating behaviors and exercise early in a child's life is important since what they experience as children contributes significantly to their ha
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SOURCE Resurrection Health Care
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