MEND programs to launch during National Childhood Obesity Month as first phase of much needed project funded by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Kansas City. September 6, 2012

 
MEND featured on Colorado Kaleidoscope (Colorado Health Foundation), CO, December 12, 2011
 
MEND announces Anthem Funding, Los Angeles, CA , October 3, 2011
 
 
 
News Release Copy
 
Fighting The Nation’s Childhood Obesity Crisis: Newly Released Data From The MEND Foundation’s US Pediatric Obesity Programs Supports Effectiveness of Multi-Component Community Centered Programs
 
During September, National Childhood Obesity Month, Press Conferences That Highlight Community Acceptance Will Be Held At the YMCAs in Dallas, Houston and Austin, Texas
 
LOS ANGELES—August 26, 2010 -- The MEND 7–13 Programtoday announced statistically significant results from 2009/2010 US Community Implementation Data.  This preliminary data is the first to come from a US population and is further evidence that programs achieve positive outcomes and are welcomed by communities.  The MEND 7–13 Program is a free 10-week, after-school weight management course where overweight and obese children between 7 and 13 years old and their families learn how to develop behaviors that support sustainable healthy lifestyles.  The MEND 7–13 Program is an evidenced based and sustainable solution to the child obesity crisis.  Earlier this year, results from a randomized controlled trial in the UK to evaluate the effectiveness of the MEND Program (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it!), were published in the US journal Obesity. By the end of 2010, MEND Programs in Texas, California, New York and Washington D.C. will have benefitted over 1,000 participating families.

The 2010 data from 176 children aged between 7 and 13 years who attended a MEND 10-week program was highly statistically significant.  The mean attendance rate was high at 82% with less than a 10% drop out rate. Almost 80% of children decreased their BMI after the 10-week program.

The new data reveals that children who attended the MEND Program saw improvements in the following areas:

  • Increased cardiovascular fitness
  • 6 hours more physical activity per week
  • A reduction in “screen” time and sedentary behaviors by approximately 4 hours per week
  • Marked improvements in body image and self-esteem
  • Improved eating behaviors and greater understanding of nutrition
Prior to the launch of MEND programs, a low-income and uninsured family in an underserved community, whose child has not yet developed apparent diseases associated with obesity such as Type 2 diabetes, had little chance of ever attending a potentially life-changing program.  A January 2010 article published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Society of Pediatrics, confirmed the importance of programs such as MEND. In this article, The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent panel of non-Federal experts in prevention and evidence-based medicine, composed of primary care providers, recently stated that all overweight and obese children – approximately 25 million across the nation - should be referred by their physicians to high-intensity family-based programs that combine nutrition counseling, behavior change strategies and physical activity.  MEND offers these programs in collaboration with community partners such as the YMCA.  MEND has research partnerships with eminent researchers from the University of  Texas School of Public Health, Baylor College of Medicine, Texas Children’s Hospital, RTI International, and Duke University. 

The MEND 7-13 Program has significant impact for those who are most needy and known statistically to be the most impacted by obesity.  Roughly 30% of the children in the reported US data came from single parent homes and 46% were at or below the federal poverty line for 2010. Additionally, 46% of primary caregivers did not exceed high school level education.  33% of families obtained government sponsored health insurance, while 10% had no health insurance.  Currently local communities are able to offer the MEND 7-13 programs free of charge to families thanks to private funding partnerships from organizations such as Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas, The Houston Endowment, St. David’s Foundation, BG Americas and Global LNG, OSI Pharmaceuticals Foundation, Rose Hills Foundation, Scott & White Healthcare, United Way Texas and The General Mills Foundation.

Commenting on the MEND initiatives, Board Member Eduardo Sanchez, MD, Vice President & Chief Medical Officer, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Texas noted, “MEND is one of very few community-based healthy lifestyle programs with positive outcomes from a Randomized Controlled Trial, and their comprehensive, family-based approach to addressing childhood obesity is a promising model that should be funded, implemented and evaluated”.

Press Conferences will be held in Texas on August 27 in Dallas at the Town North YMCA; on September 1 at the West Orem YMCA in Houston; and on September 23 in Austin at the East Communities YMCA.  MEND Programs begin again at multiple YMCA branches in all three Texas cities in conjunction with Back To School.  During 2010/2011 the MEND Foundation will continue to forge relationships with the intention of initiating MEND 7-13 programs in Illinois, Colorado and North Carolina as well, and continuing programs in NY, Washington D.C., and California.

About MEND
 
MEND helps children, with the support of their families, reach and maintain a healthy weight. The MEND Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit corporation, was established in 2008.  The MEND Foundation, an independent non-profit, runs the MEND 7–13 Program in collaboration with the YMCA and other community partners.  MEND helps families change unhealthy attitudes about food and activity (Mind), keep physically active on a regular basis (Exercise), learn how to choose tasty, nutritious and affordable foods that are good for health (Nutrition), and take action to maintain a healthy lifestyle–for life (Do it!). The program is safe, based on 10 years of gold standard research and–most importantly–is fun for families!
 
Contacts:
 
MEND Foundation
Teresa Earle, 310-529-7718
press@mendfoundation.org
or
Produce Communications
Fiona Posell, 310-776-0581
fiona@producecommunications.com

 
 
 
News Release Copy
 
New Study Shows Effectiveness of the MEND Program (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it!) in Prevention and Treatment of Pediatric Obesity
 
Ground-breaking results from a UK based randomized controlled trial to evaluate the effectiveness of the MEND Program are published in the February 2010 Issue of Obesity, official journal of The Obesity Society
 
LOS ANGELES—Feb 1, 2010 --Ground-breaking results from a study to evaluate the effectiveness of the MEND Program (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition, Do it!), a multi-component community-based childhood obesity intervention www.mendcentral.org are published today in the US journal Obesity. The results coincide with the launch of Michelle Obama’s initiative to reduce childhood obesity announced in the State of the Union speech.

The independent study conducted by a team at University College London Institute of Child Health (ICH) demonstrates the success of the weight management program MEND for overweight and obese children and their families. The MEND Program supports recent international recommendations calling for pediatric obesity programs to involve the whole family and include nutrition education, behavior modification and promotion of physical activity.

116 children aged between 8 and 12 years took part in the study, which involved attending a nine week MEND program, followed by the provision of 12 weeks of free family swimming between January 2005 and January 2007. All lost weight, lowered their BMI (Body Mass Index) and waist circumference, and improved their self esteem and physical activity levels. Their general health, including cardiovascular fitness, also improved.

Participants were randomly assigned to start the program immediately (intervention group), or receive the intervention six months later (control group). Waist circumference, BMI, body composition, physical activity level, sedentary activities, cardiovascular fitness and self esteem were assessed at baseline, and again at six and 12 months. All measures improved at six months and were sustained at 12 months. A key strength of the MEND Program was its acceptability to families—all the children who started the program completed it.

The MEND Program is now being piloted and made available in the United States through the MEND Foundation ,a non-profit organization whose mission it is to serve low-income children in underserved communities through public-private partnerships.


Harry MacMillan, chief executive of MEND, said, “The MEND Program isn’t a miracle pill for obesity, but what this independent study does show is that child weight management programs that involve the whole family, like the MEND Program, are a scientifically-proven and sustainable solution to the child obesity crisis. People are starting to wake up to the fact that quick fixes don’t work. These research findings prove that teaching children how to keep fit and eat healthily, like we do on the MEND Program, does work if done in the right way. With more funding, MEND could significantly reduce the number of overweight and obese children.”

Professor Atul Singhal, pediatrician and head of clinical trials in the Childhood Nutrition Research Centre at University College London Institute of Child Health (ICH), said, “These results suggest that the MEND program helps overweight and obese children lose weight. They also show that child weight management programs have a positive effect on a child’s health and so could help to address the rising obesity problem in children.”

The epidemic increase in Western countries in childhood obesity in the past decades makes the need for effective treatment more and more urgent (1). In the United States the rise in childhood obesity is markedly higher (2) than in European countries. Childhood obesity is associated with increased risk of a number of serious medical conditions (3,4) and may track into adulthood as long-term follow-up studies indicate (5). Higher childhood BMI is associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease in adulthood (6), so early prevention and treatment in childhood is therefore crucial.

A January 2010 article published in Pediatrics, the official journal of the American Society of Pediatrics, confirmed the importance of programs such as MEND. In this article, The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF), an independent panel of experts in primary care and prevention that systematically reviews the evidence of effectiveness and develops recommendations for clinical preventive services, recommends that clinicians screen children aged 6 years and older for obesity and offer them or refer them to comprehensive, intensive behavioral interventions to promote improvement in weight status.
About MEND
 
In the US, the MEND Foundation is an independent non-profit whose mission it is to serve low-income children in underserved communities. MEND Programs run in collaboration with the YMCA and other community partners and are currently available in California, Washington DC, Texas and New York. The MEND (Mind, Exercise, Nutrition...Do it!) Program was established in the United Kingdom in 2004. In the UK, the MEND Program is a free 10-week, after-school weight management course where overweight and obese children and their families learn how to develop behaviors that support sustainable healthy lifestyles. 15,000 families have benefited from MEND Programs since 2004, with 350 MEND Programs delivered across the UK per semester. MEND has research partnerships in the US with the University of Texas School of Public Health, Baylor College of Medicine, RTI International and Duke University.
 
About Obesity
 
Formerly known as Obesity Research, Obesity is the official journal of The Obesity Society. Available in print and online, Obesity is dedicated to increasing knowledge, fostering research, and promoting better treatment for people with obesity and their loved ones. Obesity publishes important peer-reviewed research and cutting-edge reviews, commentaries, public health and medical developments
 
Note to editors:
 
For further information, including a copy of the research paper in full, please refer to contacts.
 
Contacts:
 
MEND Foundation
Teresa Earle, 310-529-7718
press@mendfoundation.org
or
University College London Institute of Child Health (ICH) press office
Hayley Dodman, +44 207 239 3126
dodmah@gosh.nhs.uk

 
Citations:
  1. Summerbell CD, Ashton V, Campbell KJ et al. Interventions for treating obesity in children. Cochrane Database Syst Rev 2003;(3):CD001872.
  2. Ogden CL, Flegal KM, Carroll MD, Johnson CL. Prevalence and trends in overweight among US children and adolescents, 1999–2000. JAMA 2002;288:1728–1732.
  3. Steinbeck K. Childhood obesity. Treatment options. Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab 2005;19:455–469
  4. Must A, Strauss RS. Risks and consequences of childhood and adolescent obesity. Int J Obes Relat Metab Disord 1999;23(Suppl 2):S2–S11.
  5. Whitaker RC, Wright JA, Pepe MS, Seidel KD, Dietz WH. Predicting obesity in young adulthood from childhood and parental obesity. N Engl J Med 1997;337:869–873
  6. Baker JL, Olsen LW, Sorensen TI. Childhood body-mass index and the risk of coronary heart disease in adulthood. N Engl J Med 2007;357: 2329–2337