206704 Tailoring the national pediatric obesity prevention program, “We Can!” to low-income, uninsured, inner city Latino populations: A case study

Monday, November 9, 2009

Jessica Faye Wallace, MPH, MSHS, PA-C , Unity Health Care, Inc, Washington, DC
Robert Zarr, MD, MPH , UNITY HEALTH CARE, INC., Washington, DC

Unity Health Care, Inc.'s Upper Cardozo Health Center serves over 17,000 patients (1/3 less than 18 years old). Most users are immigrant and speak a language other than English. DC has one of the highest rates of pediatric obesity and overweight (40% of children ages 2-21 have a BMI percentile >85%). Since April 2008 we have implemented an obesity prevention program to address this need.

Program design:

“We Can! Ways to Enhance Children's Activity and Nutrition” program was created by the National Institute of Health based on evidence-based guidelines on pediatric obesity. We have tailored this curriculum to more effectively meet the needs of our population. The program lasts four weeks and takes place in the clinic during evening hours. Children and parents are referred by their Primary Care Providers. A healthful meal and health education is provided by providers and staff. There is also a period of physical activity, including relay games and unstructured play for children and dance classes, strength training and yoga for adults.


Participants are surveyed regarding number of classes attended, overall satisfaction, change in health knowledge, self-reported behavior change related to nutrition and physical activity. We are monitoring health outcomes with regard to weight, BMI and blood pressure.


Obesity is an emerging public health threat in the US. This program is an example of a successful community-based program, and one that is tailored to the unique and challenging needs of an underserved and immigrant population.

Learning Objectives:
• Describe an evidence-based family-centered pediatric obesity prevention program among underserved and immigrant populations. • Discuss individual and community factors related to obesity. • Demonstrate how to tailor community programs to more-effectively meet the community’s need.

Presenting author's disclosure statement:

Qualified on the content I am responsible for because: Supervising physician to the PAs leading the We Can! program, also community pediatrician who actively refers families to this program.
Any relevant financial relationships? No

I agree to comply with the American Public Health Association Conflict of Interest and Commercial Support Guidelines, and to disclose to the participants any off-label or experimental uses of a commercial product or service discussed in my presentation.

See more of: Maternal and Child Health
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