March 16, 2011 — The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia today announced that it has received a pledge of $10 million over the next three years from the Foundation for a Healthy America, a nonprofit entity created by the non-alcoholic beverage industry. The effort, which was spearheaded by the non-alcoholic beverage bottlers and distributors in the Philadelphia area, will focus on the expansion of childhood obesity prevention and research programs.
“We’re proud to be working with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia on a new initiative for the community that builds on a long history of service and philanthropic endeavors by the beverage industry,” said Susan Neely, president and CEO of the American Beverage Association. “We’re particularly excited about this initiative because of the positive impact it can have on children both in Philadelphia and nationwide. The children’s hospital network will work to implement the fact- and research-based approaches to reducing or preventing childhood obesity developed in Philadelphia, throughout the country.”
Grant to support childhood obesity research, clinical care, and outreach efforts
Under the grant agreement, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia will retain absolute clinical and research independence. The gift will support clinical care, policy research and outreach and prevention efforts relating to childhood obesity to help educate Philadelphia children about the importance of balancing calories and engaging in regular physical activity as ways to achieve a healthy lifestyle.
“We are extremely grateful for this grant from the Foundation from a Healthy America which will allow The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia to expand the reach of education and obesity awareness to thousands of additional young people and their families in our service area,” said Steven M. Altschuler, MD, chief executive officer of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia. “At a time when obtaining research funding is becoming more challenging, this support will produce tangible benefits for thousands of children in our region and beyond.”
The grant will support expansion of The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia’s Healthy Weight Program services into additional neighborhoods of Philadelphia and into new clinical areas with the goal of more than tripling the number of patient visits each year. With new staff, an obesity research agenda, and education and training protocols for healthcare providers, services will be expanded into The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Care Network.
The expansion of research at The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia Research Institute will include support of clinical studies that will be submitted for publication in peer-reviewed literature. The research is intended to spur evidence-based obesity prevention programs and make advancements to clinical guidelines and policies related to obesity that will improve care and help to secure insurance funding for obesity prevention and treatment. The program is designed for national reach by sharing the learnings and best practices with children’s hospitals throughout the country.
It is the intention of the Healthy Weight Program and other Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia obesity initiatives and related research programs to collaborate with the City of Philadelphia’s Health Centers in an effort to increase the impact in the Philadelphia community.
“The beverage industry is an active corporate citizen in Philadelphia and we continue to support a strong and vibrant community,” said Francis McGorry, president of the Beverage Association of Philadelphia. “Our industry’s track record speaks volumes about our unwavering commitment to the members of our community and the families of Philadelphia.”