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Kaiser Permanente Honored for Efforts to Combat Obesity With 2009 Pioneering Innovation Award at Weight of the Nation Conference
Date:7/29/2009

WASHINGTON, July 29 /PRNewswire/ -- Kaiser Permanente, the nation's leading not-for-profit health plan and health care provider, received a 2009 Pioneering Innovation award today from the U.S. Centers for Diseases Control and Prevention for its groundbreaking obesity prevention efforts. The award will be presented at the Weight of the Nation Conference in Washington, D.C., the CDC's inaugural conference on obesity prevention and control.

The award recognizes Kaiser Permanente's industry-leading approach to obesity prevention and management, which includes:

  • Evidence-based clinical programs, multifaceted community-level interventions focusing on policy and environmental changes
  • Advocacy for public policies that promote healthy eating and active living, and
  • Changes in organizational practices that promote a healthy environment for members, physicians and employees.

"We were impressed with Kaiser Permanente's creative approach to addressing the obesity epidemic," said Dr. William H. Dietz, director of CDC's Division of Nutrition, Physical Activity, and Obesity. "The organization is committed to clinical prevention but goes beyond that to environmental and policy changes that make healthy food accessible in the communities."

"We know that the obesity epidemic is driven, in large part, by a food and physical environment that makes it difficult for people to make the healthy choice, but easy to consume extra calories and be sedentary," said Raymond J. Baxter, Ph.D., Kaiser Permanente's senior vice president for Community Benefit, Research and Health Policy. "Our answer to the epidemic is a comprehensive, multifaceted approach that includes strong evidence-based clinical prevention strategies, as well as a concerted effort to create the conditions outside our doctors' offices that make it easier for patients to heed the advice of their physicians to eat better and increase their physical activity. We are proud to be recognized for our work in this area."

As the nation debates health reform, policymakers are increasingly focused on the roles that obesity, diabetes and other chronic diseases play in driving up health care costs, depressing the nation's health status and hampering the competitiveness of American businesses. Increasingly, policymakers are examining the benefits of comprehensive, community-based prevention programs as potential solutions to these critical issues.

Kaiser Permanente supports comprehensive community health initiatives in 40 communities across the country focusing on healthy eating and active living. Developed and delivered by community collaboratives that typically include local health departments, resident organizations, schools and other community stakeholders, these programs are transforming food and physical activity environments. For example, these collaboratives have successfully created biking and walking trails, safe routes to school, safe and more modern playgrounds, better school cafeterias, and more access to farmers markets and healthy produce in communities that have inadequate access to healthy food.

Other elements of Kaiser Permanente's comprehensive approach to obesity prevention include:

  • A Weight Management Initiative that features a wide array of nationally recognized weight management programs made available to its members at its medical centers, in community settings and online.
  • The participation of Kaiser Permanente physicians and other representatives in local and statewide advocacy efforts to improve health through transportation planning, school nutrition standards, and a variety of other policies that promote healthy eating and active living.
  • The creation of more than 30 farmers markets at or near Kaiser Permanente facilities in six states that make healthy, sustainably farmed food more convenient for members, employees, and residents in surrounding communities.
  • Posting of calorie counts on hospital cafeteria menu boards and defined nutritional quality standards for vending machine products - the first large health care system to implement such a program.
  • Participation in the Healthy Eating Active Living Convergence Partnership, a collaboration that includes the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, The California Endowment, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation, Kresge Foundation and Nemours, which promotes promising community and policy approaches to obesity prevention.

The Weight of the Nation Conference provides a forum to highlight progress in the prevention and control of obesity through policy and environmental change and focuses on four intervention settings: community, medical care, school, and workplace. Through the participation of a diverse set of conference attendees that include elected and appointed public policy makers; federal, state and local public health leaders, and the collaboration of partners, the CDC is using the conference to help build a "National Road Map for Obesity Prevention and Control"; a set of guidelines that detail investment in integrated obesity prevention and control initiatives.

"Clinical prevention is critical for a healthcare organization. Because we understand health and the challenges our patients face in the exam room and in the community, we know we need to do go further," said Keith Bachman, MD, clinical lead for the Weight Management Initiative. "We are proud of what we have accomplished, but there is still so much more to do."

Find out more about Kaiser Permanente's efforts to promote healthy communities at:

www.kp.org/communitybenefit.

Find out more about Kaiser Permanente's Weight Management Initiative at:

http://cl.kp.org/pkc/national/topics/cmi/wmi/index.htm

About Kaiser Permanente

Kaiser Permanente is committed to helping shape the future of health care. We are recognized as one of America's leading health care providers and not-for-profit health plans. Founded in 1945, our mission is to provide high-quality, affordable health care services to improve the health of our members and the communities we serve. We currently serve 8.6 million members in nine states and the District of Columbia. Care for members and patients is focused on their total health and guided by their personal physicians, specialists and team of caregivers. Our expert and caring medical teams are empowered and supported by industry-leading technology advances and tools for health promotion, disease prevention, state-of-the art care delivery and world-class chronic disease management. Kaiser Permanente is dedicated to care innovations, clinical research, health education and the support of community health. For more information, go to: www.kp.org/newscenter.


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