The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is using $25 million made available via the Affordable Care Act to support a four-year Childhood Obesity Demonstration Project.
The project will target children ages 2-12 covered by the Children's Health Insurance Program, which provides low-cost health insurance to more than 7 million children from working families, officials said.
"Over the last three decades, obesity rates among children and adolescents have nearly tripled," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the CDC, said in a statement. "Obese children are more likely to have asthma, depression, diabetes and other serious and costly health problems. This project will help figure out ways our children can grow up to lead long, healthy and productive lives."
The University of Texas Health Science Center at Houston, San Diego State University and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health will each receive approximately $6.2 million over four years, to identify effective childhood obesity prevention strategies, Frieden said.
The innovative approaches being tested include combining changes in preventive care at doctor visits with supportive changes in schools, child-care centers and community venues such as retail food stores and parks, officials said.