The Wellmark Foundation Supports
Body Mass Index Surveillance System for Youth
July 8, 2008
(Des Moines, Iowa) – A $64,428 two-year
grant from The Wellmark Foundation will allow the Iowa Department
of Public Health to begin developing a new body mass index
(BMI) surveillance system designed to prevent childhood obesity.
The Surveillance of Body Mass Index Among Iowa 3rd Grade
Students will create and pilot a sustainable statewide
system to monitor BMI among Iowa youth, says Catherine Lillehoj,
Ph.D., Epidemiologist, Iowa Department of Public Health. “The
Bureau of Nutrition and Health Promotion and the Oral Health
Bureau will collaborate to measure the height and weight of
Iowa’s elementary school children during required oral
health screenings,” explains Lillehoj.
According to Lillehoj, dental hygienists conducting oral
health screenings will receive training on how to measure
and calculate body mass index. This collaboration will allow
the bureaus to share resources and work together to support
oral health and obesity prevention in youth.
The BMI surveillance system will be piloted with a sample
of 1,200 third grade students in 26 elementary schools across
the state, which will align with Iowa’s Title V Child
Health Center regions. Implementation of the system for all
Iowa elementary students is the long-term goal of the project.
The Iowa Department of Education and Title V Maternal and
Child Health agencies across Iowa will also collaborate on
the project. For more information on the Surveillance
of Body Mass Index Among Iowa 3rd Grade Students, contact
Catherine Lillehoj at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Wellmark Foundation has provided nearly $14.7 million
to fund 406 health-related grants in Iowa and South Dakota
since 1997, including $1,739,233 this cycle. “The Wellmark
Foundation collaborates with non-profit and governmental organizations
in Iowa and South Dakota to positively impact the health outcomes
of individuals and communities in our states,” says
Matthew McGarvey, director of The Wellmark Foundation. “We
are happy to fund this grant that will provide a better picture
of childhood obesity prevalence and uniquely engage oral health
professionals in the process,” says McGarvey.
The Wellmark Foundation is a private, non-profit foundation
created by Wellmark, Inc., doing business as Wellmark Blue
Cross and Blue Shield of Iowa. Due to the Foundation’s
recent significant support toward disaster relief efforts,
the timeline for the second 2008 community responsive grant
cycle has been modified. Letters of Interest (LOIs) are now
due on September 23, 2008. Learn more about this funding opportunity
during a grant applicant teleconference on July 21, 2008.
For teleconference and LOI details, visit the Foundation’s
Web site at www.wellmark.com/foundation.
Wellmark Blue Cross and Blue Shield and The Wellmark Foundation
are independent licensees of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield