KidShape program sheds light on obesity issue

 The nine-week KidShape program at the Kane Middle School is teaching parents and children how to deal with weight issues.UPMC-Hamot, which includes Kane Community Hospital, is partnering with the Highmark Foundation to bring the nationally recognized family-based weight management program to Kane.The program is for overweight children ages 6 to 14 and their parents. The program helps children and their families through better nutrition, increased physical activity and improved self-esteem.A total of 17 children and their parents are taking part in the program.“We believe that, by participating in this program, overweight children and their families will be able to make significant lifestyle changes crucial to their long-term health and wellness,” Mariann Kahle said. She is the UPMC-Hamot “worksite wellness coordinator” at the Kane Middle School.Others on the program staff include Jessica McDivitt of Kane, the physical activities instructor; Claudette Haner of Bradford, the site coordinator; and Angela Abrams of Bradford, mental health adviser.During the once-a-week program, children and parents have been participating in “hands-on” activities that are both educational and fun. An incentive program motivates children to stay with the program and earn prizes.Children are referred to KidShape by their family physician, School Nurse Erin Lundeen or other health-care providers. Parents are required to attend the sessions with their children to learn about nutrition and others ways to help control weight.KidShape was developed to address childhood obesity after studies showed that the problem with overweight children is reaching epidemic levels. One study conducted by the Mayor Clinic reports that, over the past 30 years, the rate of obesity in the U.S. has more than doubles for pre-schoolers and adolescents and has more than tripled for children 6 to 11.Lundeen has said that the child obesity rate in Kane schools is even higher than the national average.That’s why school officials supported the UPMC-Hamot plan to bring KidShape to Kane.See full article by purchasing the May 2 edition of The Kane Republican.