Children's Weight and Wellness
Tackling Childhood Obesity

In Mississippi, children as young as 8 years old are being diagnosed with Type II diabetes and high cholesterol.

According to the Mississippi State Department of Health, Mississippi's childhood obesity rates are among the highest in the nation. Here, nearly one in three toddlers is clinically obese. Four out of ten school-aged children are either overweight or obese.

Diabetes and high cholesterol are far from the only issues obese children are likely to face. As they age, these children are more likely to develop high blood pressure, gallbladder disease, liver disease, obstructive sleep apnea, bowed legs caused by Blount's disease, arthritis, and mental health issues.

These weight-related conditions in children were almost unheard of just a decade ago. Today's children are on the road to living shorter, less-healthy lives than their parents.

Think about that for a moment. We need to reverse this trend—now.

That's why the Manning Family Fund for a Healthier Mississippi supports UMMC in the fight against childhood obesity.


Boys playing football

Early Childhood Education

Lifelong health begins with healthy habits. Recent research shows school-based programs focused on nutrition and physical activity make a positive difference. For kids involved in such programs, obesity rates are showing a steady decline.

UMMC Early Childhood Education will be both an educational program and a research study focusing on children living in rural and underserved communities across the state. Made possible by the Manning Family Fund, the program will teach children age 3-5 about healthy nutrition and exercise.

At the same time, UMMC researchers will track the children's weight and health, comparing it to their peers who are not involved in the program. This data will help UMMC determine how effective the program is and how to improve it over time.

This program is a valuable way for kids across the state to begin the healthy habits that lead to a healthier life.

Several young football players

Children's Wellness Program

In addition to studying the ways to prevent pediatric obesity, UMMC treats children struggling with weight issues through the Children's Wellness Program.

The program helps children with prediabetes or other weight-related problems learn to move more, eat better, and manage stress in healthy ways.

The reasons for obesity are often multifaceted, so the Children's Wellness Program provides multidisciplinary care. A board-certified obesity specialist, nurse practitioner, psychologist, exercise physiologist, and dietitian work together to craft a treatment plan that addresses each child's individual needs and challenges.

The program includes family therapy to help kids get the support they need at home. Everyone in the household is encouraged to take part in making positive lifestyle changes, including other family members who may also be overweight.

Young patients meet with their team regularly, so they stay on track. Once they reach their weight loss goal, they continue to visit the clinic every six months, so their team can provide ongoing support. This consistent care helps children more successfully manage their weight in the long run.

By donating to the Manning Family Fund, you'll contribute to a healthier Mississippi. Let's work together to reverse the obesity epidemic, for today's children and tomorrow's.