Unique New Statewide Campaign Launching to Help Millions of Pennsylvania Schoolchildren Combat Childhood Obesity, Weight Issues, by Attacking Physical & Psychological Roots of Problems

Tuesday, September 23, 2008 General News
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Groundbreaking campaign that targets growing stressors, eating disorders, says: "It's not only what our kids are eating...sometimes it's what's eating our kids(R)"

Grant secured by local legislators to take free problem-solving resources to millions

BETHLEHEM, Pa., Sept. 22 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Pennsylvania's children have an important new friend as they return to school this year. An innovative new campaign designed to reach millions of Pennsylvania schoolchildren is being launched today to help them battle the fastest-growing health problem in America today: childhood obesity and other weight issues. While providing a wealth of information on the physical side of weight problems, this unique campaign, created by the 126-year-old national children's crisis charity KidsPeace's acclaimed problem-solving web resource TeenCentral.Net, seeks to add the often-overlooked "missing half" of the obesity/weight equation: the emotional roots of overeating and undereating.

With funding from the Pennsylvania Department of Health, the "All About Weight" awareness campaign is a kid-friendly effort designed to reach Pennsylvania children where they live, learn, and play, and in a format and style they understand. A massive outreach effort is being made to all 1,000+ junior high, middle and high schools in the state, providing free access to the acclaimed TeenCentral.Net websource's new weight awareness module, study and workshop guides to be used in the schools, and -- most importantly -- TeenCentral.Net's 24/7 safe, anonymous, clinically screened, free online resources to help cope today's youngsters cope with the underlying stresses that can later lead to overeating and other problems. To ensure all Pennsylvania kids have access to these free materials, a radio PSA campaign will hit all 295 radio stations throughout the state.

"In 126 years of working with children overcoming crisis, we've learned that stresses take a toll not only the emotions but on the body and behaviors that affect the body," says Dr. Julius Licata, director of KidsPeace's TeenCentral.Net. "For clinicians the link between stress and eating has long been clear, and for kids who have trouble verbalizing their feelings, overeating and other eating disorders are common responses. Campaigns that focus only on the physical side are addressing only half the problem."

In just the past twenty years, despite the proliferation of obesity and eating disorder campaigns, the number of overweight children has tripled, and epidemiologists warn of an impending epidemic of obesity-related problems such as diabetes, high blood pressure, heart problems, and joint and sleep disorders.

How the "All About Weight" Campaign Works

The "All About Weight" awareness campaign is a new module of TeenCentral.Net, the unique problem-solving resource created in 1998 by KidsPeace with help from Harvard's famed child expert Dr. Alvin Poussaint, and Brown University Child Study Center founder Dr. Lewis P. Lipsitt. Providing safe, clinically screened help and advice from trained counselors on problems of growing up, TeenCentral.Net receives more than two million hits a month from teens in all 50 states, has saved lives, and has gotten rave reviews from users and major media. The new weight awareness module uses eye-popping graphics, talking teens, fun, informative quizzes, and extensive information in eight key categories conveniently arranged on the dial of a virtual bathroom scale. The eight main categories are: Obesity & Overweight, What's Eating You?, Body Image & Self-Esteem, Eating Disorders, Dieting, Exercise, Nutrition, and Genetics.

Pennsylvania schoolchildren will be reached through a multi-pronged campaign consisting of the weight awareness module, information packages sent to all 1,000+ schools statewide, and free access to TeenCent

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