The MEND Foundation, a 501(c) 3 nonprofit corporation, is actively building a broad coalition of funding partners in the US. Funding through grants and charitable giving allows the Program to be run free of charge.  We target our outreach to low-income families in underserved communities in order to reduce the health disparities that are currently associated with obesity.

MEND’s delivery model is based on achieving cost-effectiveness by: 

•    training non-obesity specialists to deliver an evidence-based curriculum
•   partnering with complementary local organizations to provide resources, many in-kind (e.g., venue hire)
•   achieving economies of scale once initial set-up costs are covered
•   using a secure web-based project management and reporting system (OMMS) to track participant health

 

Linking Policy with Programming

 

THE PROBLEM:    

The US Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) recently stated that overweight and obese children–approximately 25 million in the US–should be referred by their physicians to high-intensity, family-based programs that combine nutrition counseling, behavior change strategies and physical activity. The heart-breaking challenge for physicians and families struggling with obesity is that there are not enough programs currently available to make a significant impact. A low-income, uninsured family in an underserved community has little chance of ever attending such a potentially life-changing program.

 

THE SOLUTION:   

MEND is a researched, family-based program that meets all the requirements of the USPSTF recommendations. Research has shown that kids who attend MEND programs show significant improvements in mental and physical health (Sacher, Obesity 2010). More importantly, it is a program that is delivered to overweight and obese children without severe medical complications by trained community health workers in primary care settings such as YMCAs and community recreation centers.  The MEND program can scale rapidly and cost effectively.

MEND has an international track record that shows that the model works.  In the UK, MEND is the only nationally available family weight management program that is approved by the UK government. The program has also been commissioned by the government of Wales and Departments of Health in New South Wales and Victoria, Australia. Today, over 1,000 MEND Programs run each year in these countries, directly impacting over 30,000 people – and growing each year as our programs expand.

 

WHY NOW:     

It is essential to make changes to the built environment and put policies in place that support healthy eating and active living. We know from the smoking cessation movement that it took decades to change smoking behaviors at a societal level. Today, 25 million overweight and obese children simply cannot wait for years of policy and environmental changes to help them transform their behaviors.

We believe that policy and environmental changes must be supported by an innovative approach to programming that combines scientific rigor with the operational capability to tackle the scale of the problem in a cost-effective manner.

MEND helps to make policy and environmental changes possible in the home and community. It equips families with the skills and knowledge to lead fitter, healthier and happier lives.