The McLeod Family Medicine Residency Program, part of the South Carolina Family Medicine Residency Training Programs, is taking a comprehensive approach to preventing childhood obesity through a McLeod Foundation grant awarded in the amount of $5,275 for the proposal “Empowering Positive Parenting in Early Childhood.” The proposal was submitted by residents Tareq Haidary, M.D.; Joseph Hoyle, M.D.; and faculty member Benjamin Elder, M.D. The project focuses on the implementation of a proven early childhood literacy practice-based intervention, Reach Out and Read, along with additional innovative components that improve the delivery of clinical preventive services, such as the prevention of dental carries.
Reach out and Read serves families with children ages six months through five years who come for well child visits. Practitioners promote reading as a safe, engaging activity that promotes a positive learning environment. Using age-appropriate books, primary care physicians can promote realistic expectations for parent-child interactions. The program was endorsed in May by the American Academy of Family Medicine, and has been endorsed for several years by the American Academy of Pediatrics. In summary, the approach involves three steps during well child visits:
- Give each child a developmentally and culturally appropriate book as part of each well visit.
- Provide appropriate anticipatory guidance about how best to enjoy the book with the child.
- Emphasize that reading aloud stimulates language development.
The residents chose this program to be the focus of obesity prevention efforts at the Family Medicine Center for the next five years, with a vision for adding additional components and supporting program alumni and regional family medicine practices to implement the program. The residents developed an acronym for the program, inspired by the title, REACH: Read out loud with child Every day, daily physical Activity, choose Clinical preventive services, and discuss the five Healthy developmental domains for school preparedness.
Dr. Hoyle explains, “preventing childhood obesity requires a comprehensive, collaborative approach with parents and community organizations. We see this challenge as an opportunity for family physicians to provide leadership on a leading community health indicator. In my opinion, our faculty’s stability and commitment to the care of children will be the keys to the long-term success of this approach.” The program will be overseen by a leadership team that includes representatives from practitioners, staff, administration, community literacy organizations, and families served. The Family Medicine Residency Program is already exploring additional sites for program dissemination and welcomes anyone interested in joining.
To find out more information, please contact Dr. Haidary at firstname.lastname@example.org.