CHARLOTTESVILLE, VA (NEWSPLEX)-- Martha Jefferson Hospital and City of Promise have teamed up to focus on childhood obesity in Charlottesville.
"We do know that generally there is an issue here and we need to make sure that our young people are getting in the habit of having healthy lifestyles from an early age, so we're trying to foster that type of environment, that type of culture in Charlottesville," said Sarad Davenport, who is the director of City of Promise.
Martha Jefferson awarded a grant to the Promise Neighborhood initiative which is designed to improve educational and developmental outcomes of children in underserved neighborhoods.
One way City of Promise is working toward combating childhood obesity is through a Texas-based program called CATCH which stands for: Coordinated Approach To Child Health.
"We felt that it was important to bring that type of training here to Charlottesville to continue to build on the echo system of active living and healthy lifestyles in Charlottesville for the young people that work in our program, but also for all of the young people and families in Charlottesville in general," Davenport said.
The idea behind CATCH is to start a conversation in communities and create a unified message that is then modeled for the children.
"The ability to get all of those different entities to actually talk to one another so that they coordinate the messages that they are giving children, so that children not only learn how to be healthy, they literally practice it every day in the school," said John Krampitz, a training coordinator for CATCH.
A question often asked about CATCH is how do you know it works?
Krampitz said, "Our evidence is from experiencially from the information that we get back from the program's post training and the involvement from the community and how they have seen changes in the environment and pictures of kids eating good foods and letters from parents and testimonials from parents on how the kids come home and change them."
A three-day academy just wrapped up at Caver Recreation Center where a handful of area leaders who work with children, were trained in CATCH principles.
This is one of the ways Martha Jefferson and City of Promise hope to sustain the program in Charlottesville for years to come.
"I love that the program offers a train the trainer opportunity and so what we hope will come of this is that these trainers will then go out into the community and train lots of other organizations in the CATCH principles and so it becomes a common language that our kids in Charlottesville are hearing because that's what makes the program most effective," said Jacklene Martin of Martha Jefferson Hospital.
"If we want our young people to be active, it's going to be important for us to be active and to model appropriately what we'd like to see," Davenport said.
"I've just been amazed at the commitment that they've made to the program. They're looking at making this a part of the fiber and the environment of the city itself," Krampitz said.
There will be an opportunity to take the CATCH training from some of the local trainers in November.
You can call City of Promise to sign up at: 434-220-5437.