A doctor who works for the national "Partnership for Prevention" is applauding a program at Y.M.C.A.’s in Des Moines, Marshalltown and the Quad Cities that’s helping kids be more active. Dr. Corinne Husten, vice president for policy development at the Partnership for Prevention, says the program targets "at risk" kids, offering low-cost or no-cost memberships to their families.
"When you talk about physical activity, so while it’s targeting high-risk youth, obviously you’re targeting the whole family," she says. Increasing activity levels in kids can help prevent the on-set of some chronic diseases.
"Chronic disease is the leading cause of preventable death and disability in Iowa and in the rest of the country," she says, "and what Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease has been doing is really trying to identify some real-world examples of where communities have implemented interventions and shown effectiveness."
The project in Des Moines, Marshalltown and the Quad Cities has been going on for nearly three years and they’ve recorded a significant increase in the amount of activity among the families who are participating.
"This is actually an initiative at the ‘Y’ that they are planning on expanding to other parts of the country because they have been seeing such good success with it and we’re very supportive, obvioulsy, of this becoming a much wider effort across the nation," Husten says.
Husten, who is in Des Moines today, says chronic disease causes about 70 percent of the deaths in the U.S., and many chronic diseases can be prevented or controlled with better exercise and eating habits.