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Palo Alto Medical Foundation Newsroom


PAMF, Safeway Partner to Combat Childhood Obesity

Receiving the Safeway Foundation grant on behalf of PAMF are (l. to r.): Aidan Choi; Nancy Brown, Ph.D; Enoch Choi, M.D.; and Natalie Choi. Stan Lau, manager of the Menlo Park Safeway store, (second from left) presented the check.

The rise of childhood obesity is a huge concern but what can be done about it? Palo Alto Medical Foundation health educator Nancy Brown, Ph.D., has some concrete ideas and these recently became a reality thanks to a grant from the Safeway Foundation.

The $60,418 grant will be used to fund PAMF’s WAY2GO! Preteen Family project that educates preteens and their families about the importance of making good food choices and maintaining a healthy Body Mass Index (BMI).

“WAY2GO! Preteen Family focuses on children aged 9 to 12 years old as this is a critical time for establishing good nutrition and exercise habits for life,” says Brown who is leading the WAY2GO! Preteen Family project. “This is also very much a family-based program as for this age group the parents still control the whole families’ health habits. This valuable tool will make it easier and more fun for families to make lasting behavior changes.”

Brown worked together with Martha Simmons, M.D., Ph.D., a content manager at PAMF’s David Druker Center for Health Systems Innovation, to obtain the Safeway Foundation grant. Elizabeth W. Lee, M.D., a family medicine doctor at PAMF’s Palo Alto Center, provided a medical review of the WAY2GO! Preteen Family online tool.

Schools and community-based organizations can participate in this project that provides many components to help get the whole family on track to good health:

  • WAY2GO! Preteen Family Tool: Participating families take an online health assessment. They then receive a report based on their answers and access to their online dashboard where they can set health goals or track behavior.
  • Free Preventive Health Screening: Up to eight members of each participating family are screened at a local Safeway pharmacy for preventive health goals, BMI and blood pressure. The screening helps families prioritize health goals and provides resources, including information on low-cost clinics for families without health insurance.
  • Follow Up: Before the end of the school year, families will be encouraged to repeat their online WAY2GO! assessment and share their experiences about participating in the program.
  • Data for Schools: Each participating school receives aggregate data (gathered through the WAY2GO! tool) about the health challenges of their participants and suggestions for meeting those challenges (for example, through parent education or bike helmet safety campaigns).

The first school to participate in the project is Landels Elementary School in Mountain View, Calif., with many other local schools slated to participate soon.

More About WAY2GO!

The online WAY2GO! Preteen Family tool is based on the teen version of the program that is free for schools and doctors’ offices to use to assess teenagers’ health and motivate healthy decision making. WAY2GO! for teens won the 2011 Society for Adolescent Health Care and Medicine’s Hilary E. C. Millar Award for Innovative Approaches to Adolescent Health Care and is being used by more than 400 teenagers through doctors’ offices and high schools in the U.S. There’s also a version of the online tool for young adults (18 to 25 years old).

More About the Safeway Foundation’s Grant to PAMF

The grant for the WAY2GO! Preteen Family project is part of $2 million in grants that the Safeway Foundation is giving back to community health programs and hospitals to launch grass-roots projects for the prevention and treatment of childhood obesity in the Bay Area and across the United States.