Beaumont and Challenge Detroit join forces to fight childhood obesity

During the month of March, Beaumont Health System and The Collaborative Group's "Challenge Detroit" fellows are partnering to develop a childhood obesity reduction and prevention plan for Metro Detroit kids. The Challenge Detroit fellows will present their ideas to Beaumont's leadership on March 29.

The collaboration connects Beaumont leaders with the "Challenge Detroit" fellows, a group of 28 young professionals from around the country who are living, playing and working in Detroit for a year. They work for 28 Detroit area companies and come together every Friday to work on group challenges.

Their sixth group challenge, The Health and Wellbeing challenge sponsored by Beaumont, was launched March 8 and will conclude with the action plan presentation at the Beaumont Hospital, Royal Oak administration building auditorium March 29 from 10:30 a.m. to noon. The plan will then be implemented by Beaumont Health System.

"The current generation of young people could be the first to live sicker and die younger than their parents' generation," says Wendy Miller, M.D., director, Healthy Kids Program and Beaumont's Weight Control Center.

This is especially true in Michigan, where one in every three children is overweight or obese, making it the fifth most obese state. Overweight children are more likely to be bullied and develop such conditions as type 2 diabetes, joint problems and depression.

Challenge Detroit participants gather information at the launch
of the The Health and Wellbeing challenge on March 8.

Linda Kruso, director of workforce planning and one of the Beaumont leaders involved with this partnership, says childhood obesity was selected as the Health and Wellbeing challenge because a Beaumont community assessment found local residents considered childhood obesity as the No. 1 health concern in Detroit. "We're excited to see what innovative ideas the fellows will come up with to address this issue," she says.

One of the 28 "Challenge Detroit" fellows, Dearborn, Mich. native Ali Beydoun, has been working at Beaumont Hospital, Grosse Pointe, since the program's inception in September. The fellows were selected from a pool of more than 900 applicants from around the world and comprise a variety of backgrounds to allow for a unique, multidisciplinary approach to addressing Detroit's diverse challenges.

"We have brought professionals, from urban planners to social workers, to come together, be innovative and provide new, fresh ideas," says Shelley Danner, program director for The Collaborative Group.