“I just feel more energetic,” Emily said of her renewed vigor.
The family emphasizes portion control for their meals, as well as improved snacks. Mark, for instance, has developed a fondness for tossed salad and says he would rather snack on a can of corn than a couple of doughnuts.
The kids’ self-esteem has also improved, Darcie said, noting that Emily is excited about the new clothes she can now wear and Mark would probably spend his entire day on the basketball court, given the chance.
With childhood obesity a continuing problem across the region, health-care providers are working together to enable more success stories like the Goffs. Members of the North Country Pediatric Obesity Initiative meet monthly to search for ways to promote a healthier community.
“We have a variety of community members who participate regularly,” said Leita King, social worker for North Country Medical Home, a regional effort to promote improved health care across the region.
“We have a few local pediatricians, representatives from public health and school districts and nutritionists from CVPH and Cornell Cooperative Extension,” she added.
“We want to bring together as many community members as we can to talk about how we can best utilize resources in the community to help reduce child obesity.”
Pediatricians play a major role as they refer patients to King and fellow Medical Home social worker Laura LaHart, who can then guide families to such programs as the Cooperative Extension’s Eat Smart New York health-living initiative.
“We provide nutrition education for families whose children have been suggested by their docs to work with us,” said Cooperative Extension nutritionist Alexa King. “Our work (with families) is hands-on and tailored for the needs of each family.”
The program works with individual families and with small groups to promote healthier food choices and improved knowledge of nutrition.