October 7, 2005

VU, Metro, state unite on child health survey

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VU, Metro, state unite on child health survey

Healthy Kids 2025 has become the first initiative of its kind to be adopted by three of the largest employers in Tennessee.

Beginning this week, the Tennessee government, Metro Nashville government and Vanderbilt University began distributing surveys and information on children's health indicators to employees.

The information and survey are provided by the Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt and will create a baseline of child health-related information that will help guide efforts to improve the health standing of Tennessee's children. According to the 2005 Kids Count survey, Tennessee ranks 43rd in the nation in the health of its children.

The “Children's Survey” was designed by experts at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital, the Tennessee Department of Health and the Metro Health Department. It includes 11 questions to gauge parents' knowledge of factors that affect their children's health and welfare.

Over the next two months, the three employers will pilot Healthy Kids 2025 by encouraging employees to take the baseline survey and attend programs to educate them on topics like injury prevention, fitness and nutrition, early education and parental involvement. Tools will be “Lunch and Learn” events, e-mail messages, information on paychecks and mailings to employees' homes.

“It takes all of us working together to make a difference in the lives of Tennessee's children,” said Tennessee Gov. Phil Bredesen. “It is well known that one reason our state attracts new industry is because we are a great place to raise a family. Healthy Kids 2025 enhances that image.”

“All children deserve a fair chance at success, a fair opportunity to reach their fullest potential,” said Gordon Gee, chancellor of Vanderbilt University. “Children's health and safety and well-being is everyone's issue, which makes it Vanderbilt's issue, too. As one of the largest employers in the state, and the home to many parents, I want to make sure that we do everything possible to raise awareness about the importance of good health for the youngest members of our community.”

“Employers have long supported the good health of their employees and their families by offering health insurance benefits,” said Metro Nashville Mayor Bill Purcell. “It's now time for employers to do more to ensure every child in this city is healthy, by making sure our employees know what is at stake and how they can improve their family's health.”

Advocates at Children's Hospital say the community struggles to keep children safe and healthy at a time when many segments of the community are disconnected from the lives of children since most parents work full time and there are many single-parent households.

“It is the goal of Vanderbilt Children's Hospital to advocate for our children and to find new ways to help families make a better future for children in any way we can,” said Mary Kate Mouser, director of Children's Health Improvement and Prevention for the Children's Hospital.

“This pilot of the Healthy Kids 2025 plan will provide a community baseline, valuable self-assessment information and a glimpse into the wellbeing of our community's families.”

The Children’s Survey can be found at www.vanderbiltchildrens.com/healthykids2025. As an added incentive, completing the survey earns Go For The Gold credit. Visit www.vanderbilt.edu/goforthegold.