Caregivers at Cabarrus Health Alliance are testing an experimental program to help children whose Body Mass Index (BMI) is greater than the 95th percentile to improve their health. After an initial doctor’s visit, the children, ages six through twelve, are encouraged to try simple lifestyle changes each week and to measure their own BMI. The participants will be monitored telephonically on a weekly basis, to discuss their progress and to collect the BMI data.
Lacey Marolf, CHIPRA Quality Improvement Specialist at Community Care of Southern Piedmont (CCofSP), is the program’s coordinator. She says, “Our goal is to teach (the children) about living healthy instead of focusing solely on their weight.” Marolf also says that if the program proves successful with this test group of children, the caregivers will probably expand it practice wide.
Marolf is working under the Child Health Insurance Program Reauthorization Act (CHIPRA) grant. The purpose of this initiative is to develop and implement a plan to strengthen the “medical home” model for all children, and especially for those with special health care needs. Currently Marolf is working with three practices in the CCofSP network including Suburban Pediatrics and Salisbury Pediatrics, as well as Cabarrus Health Alliance.