June 25, 2019
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Nearly 70 Percent of Chicago Parents Report a Challenge in Healthy Eating for Their Kids

Nearly seven out of 10 Chicago parents reported at least one challenge to healthy eating for their children, according to results of a new survey released by Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and the Chicago Department of Public Health (CDPH). Having enough time for sit-down family meals was the top challenge identified by 36 percent of parents, followed by cost of healthy foods (33 percent), and time to prepare healthy foods (26 percent). Other challenges to their children's healthy eating identified by Chicago parents include convenience of fast food (24 percent) and food advertising (18 percent).

"In our survey, we heard that the majority of parents across Chicago face obstacles when trying to help their kids eat healthy meals," says  Matthew M. Davis, MD, MAPP, Senior Vice-President and Chief of Community Health Transformation at Lurie Children's, and Professor of Pediatrics, Medicine, Medical Social Sciences, and Preventive Medicine at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. "These challenges might be important factors behind rates of childhood obesity in Chicago, which are higher than national rates."

In Chicago, obesity occurs in 20 percent of kindergarteners, nearly 30 percent of sixth-graders and over 25 percent of ninth-graders, compared to national rates of 13 percent, 20 percent and 17 percent, respectively, according to the  Consortium to Lower Obesity in Chicago Children (CLOCC) that is housed at Lurie Children's.

Cost was one of the common challenges among younger parents, cited by 42 percent of parents who were 18-29 years old, compared to 33 percent of parents who were 30-44 years old and 24 percent of parents over 45 years old.
Additionally, Latinx parents experienced four of the five challenges more frequently than Non-Latinx Black parents and Non-Latinx White parents.
"From parents' perspectives, time and cost are the overall drivers of unhealthy eating in Chicago children. These are especially big challenges for certain families," says Dr. Davis. "Ultimately, parents need support to address their concerns about healthy eating habits for children."

Survey results are based on the 2017-18 Healthy Chicago Survey, Jr., that was developed by Dr. Davis in collaboration with the CDPH Office of Epidemiology and Research. Phone interviews were conducted with 3,310 adults, including 1,002 parents, December 2017 through June 2018. Households across Chicago were randomly selected, with participants in all 77 community areas.

"Habits of healthy eating and physical activity are important to establish in childhood," says CDPH Commissioner Julie Morita, MD. "If Chicago can successfully address barriers that parents experience in helping their kids eat healthy, we are helping the people of Chicago be healthier in the long term."

To share the survey results, Dr. Davis and his team at Lurie Children's launched " Voices of Child Health in Chicago," a research program focused on bringing the perspectives of Chicagoans to inform dialogue and action about child health in the city. On a regular basis, data briefs will be issued that report on a wide range of survey result topics that affect youth health.

Population-focused child health research at Ann  Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago is conducted through the Mary Ann  &J. Milburn Smith Child Health Research, Outreach, and Advocacy Center at the Stanley Manne Children's Research Institute. The Manne Research Institute is focused on improving child health, transforming pediatric medicine and ensuring healthier futures through the relentless pursuit of new knowledge. Lurie Children's is ranked as one of the nation's top children's hospitals in the U.S. News  World Report. It is the pediatric training ground for Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine. Last year, the hospital served more than 212,000 children from 49 states and 51 countries.

Updates on social, structural and other root causes of obesity
CLOCC continues to expand our focus "upstream" to identify the fundamental root causes of obesity, and to broaden the scope of our obesity prevention strategies. This work coincides with heightened local and national attention to health equity and social determinants of health, such as immigration, education, poverty and racism, all of which have an impact on people's ability to eat healthy and be active where they live, work, learn, and play. If you have comments or questions about this focus, we invite you to reach out to info@clocc.net
National Institute for Children's Health Quality (NICHQ) Shares Implicit Bias Resource Guide 

Via NICHQ - Not everyone in the U.S. has a fair and just opportunity to be healthy. These inequities form the foundation for significant health disparities. And while achieving health equity will require systemic and structural changes, every one of us can do something to support that shift.

In the new NICHQ Implicit Bias Resource Guide you'll find: 
  • Seven steps we can all take to minimize implicit bias.
  • A Q&A with health experts about how to recognize and address implicit bias. All questions were raised by participants in a recent webinar on bias and reflect the real concerns of public health professionals and stakeholders.
  • A selection of stories shared with NICHQ about the many ways bias has affected individuals. Together, these stories illustrate the pervasive effects of implicit biases, and how every individual has a responsibility to recognize and address their biases.
  • Lyft is creating a $100,000 community grant program available for Chicago non-profits and community-based organizations to increase Divvy use in low to moderate income (LMI) communities. Grants will range from $500-$5,000. Application is open now and will close on July 26, 2019. Contact Johntuanay Johnson for application details, or apply here
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.