February 5, 2019
5-4-3-2-1 Go! Resources
fiveSMART Resources
How Obesity Affects a Child's Heart  

By Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago 
This article appeared in the 

In honor of American Heart Month, Dr. Irwin Benuck, MD, PhD, division head, Community-based Primary Care Pediatrics at Lurie Children's, discusses how obesity in children affects their hearts.

Childhood obesity is an issue that continues to grow in America; about one in three children and teenagers are considered either overweight or obese. Benuck explains that obese kids have a Body Mass Index (BMI) greater than the 95 percentile, and overweight children have a BMI between the 85th and 95th percentile. A healthy BMI is between the 5th to 85th percentile.

"Obese kids are more prone to having lipid issues, especially elevated triglyceride levels, coronary artery disease and high blood pressure," Benuck said. "Type 2 diabetes is one of the greatest triggers leading to the early onset of heart disease. As adults, they are at higher risk of having heart attacks and stroke."

Sleep is important

"Sleep has a large role in lipid metabolism and overall health. When children don't receive the needed nine hours of uninterrupted sleep and spend a lot of time in front of a screen, they are more at risk," Benuck says.
Parents should eliminate screen time and reduce social media use, and cell phones should be charged in another room, as they will disrupt the normal sleep cycle.

  1. Watch sugar intake. Excessive sugar intake, whether through foods or beverages, will be stored as triglyceride fats in the body. Hidden sugar is common in fruit juice and children should only consume this beverage, if at all, in very small servings. Fat free milk and water are preferred.
  2. Pay attention to trans-fat and saturated fat in foods.
  3. Try to perform at least one hour of exercise daily which should include at least 100 minutes a week of vigorous activity. To reduce the risk of Type 2 Diabetes, be physically active, consume heart-healthy foods and practice portion control.
  4. Stay active through organized and non-organized sports, such as walking the dog, bike riding (with helmet) or dance.

"In our Preventive Cardiology Program, we give free water bottles, jump ropes and frisbees to encourage activity and water consumption," said Benuck. "Sometimes it is necessary to prescribe medication to help lower lipids, especially in children who are genetically predisposed to elevated lipids."

Dr. Benuck also suggests that children follow the 5-4-3-2-1 Go!® recommendations created by the Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC). The public education message includes 5 daily servings of fruits and vegetables, 4 servings of water a day, 3 servings of low-fat dairy a day, 2 or less hours of recreational screen time a day, and 1 or more hours of physical activity a day.

"Managing obesity and reducing a child's risk for heart disease does not happen overnight," said Benuck. "Motivation from parents and loved ones is imperative to help children get on the right path to recovery. It usually takes two to four medical visits before children start realizing the dangerous impact. I encourage them to commit to two or three doable goals at each visit, and reinforce them at each return visit."

CLOCC is partnering with the Chicago Park District's summer camps to promote  5-4-3-2-1 Go! to hundreds of Chicago children. The partnership was made possible by Kohl's Cares, which donated $1.1 million to Lurie Children's over two years to develop a comprehensive multi-level health and wellness initiative.
Lurie Children's SCHROA Evaluation Core 
to Host Free Training on March 20th

The Evaluation Core of the Smith Child Health Research, Outreach and Advocacy (SCHROA) Center at the Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago is offering a FREE evaluation training:  "Creating Pre and Post-Program Surveys for Program Evaluation" on March 20th, 2019. This session will be held from 9:00 to 11:30 a.m.
Join Maryann Mason, PhD, and Sarah Welch, MPH, as they lead an interactive workshop on the use of surveys in program evaluation including:
  • Determining when surveys are an appropriate method
  • Tips and techniques for adapting/creating surveys
  • Pre and post survey administration strategies
  • The basics of pre to post survey data analysis
  • Networking opportunities
Seats are limited and RSVP is required. 

Contact:  Dkneeland@luriechildrens.org to secure your spot.  

For more about the Evaluation Core, click here
  • The PHS Commissioned Officers Foundation (COF) for the Advancement of Public Health seeks to support community-based public health programs through the Barclay Giel Seed GrantsThe program is named after the late Martha Barclay-Giel, a retired Captain of the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service. Captain Barclay-Giel dedicated her life's worth to advancing the health of Americans. After retiring, she donatef to COF and is a member of the John Adams Society. The maximum grant amount is $10,000. The typical grant amount will be about $5,000. COF may elect to provide less than the full amount requested. All the grant-awarded funds must be used by June 30, 2020, and there is no opportunity for additional or continuation grant funds for the same grant. The 2019 funding cycle is now open. We will use an online submission process. The deadline will be February 22. Grant awards are expected to be announced in June 2019.
  • Applications for the 2019 ComEd Green Region  grant cycle are now open. Recognizing that open space in our communities is a crucial element of the quality of our lives, the ComEd program awards grants to public agencies supporting their efforts to plan for, protect, and improve open space in ComEd's service area of northern Illinois. Openlands partners with ComEd to administer the program. Grants of up to $10,000 support open space projects that focus on planning, acquisition, and improvements to local parks, natural areas, and recreation resources. The deadline to complete applications is March 15, 2019 at 5:00 p.m.

T he Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) is a nationally recognized leader for community-based obesity prevention. We support, coordinate, and unite partners to promote healthy and active lifestyles for children and families. Our multi-sector approach emerged in Chicago and can be adapted for use anywhere.