When a mother brought her 13-year-old daughter to the health clinic with concerns about her dramatic weight gain, Dr. Renee Boynton- Jarrett wasn’t quick to prescribe a solution. Instead, she pulled out a growth chart to help the mother pinpoint when her daughter’s health began to change. After Dr. Boynton-Jarrett asked a couple of questions, the mother realized her daughter’s weight gain began one month after her father was incarcerated. From there and together, they created a plan to address it.
“Everything around how a child grows and develops, what their ultimate life chances are, and chance for health and well-being, is intricately and inextricably connected to their family and community environments. If we present opportunities for people to own what health and well-being look like in their communities, they will take that opportunity and transform lives. ”
This exemplifies Dr. Boynton-Jarrett’s approach to care, serving as a listener and facilitator. It illustrates what she believes to be true: that we cannot continue to address childhood obesity reactively. Rather we must address its root causes: severe inequities that plague our underserved communities and leave families without access to healthy affordable foods, safe neighborhoods, safe streets, and opportunities for physical activity.
Renee believes that the answers for addressing childhood obesity lie within individuals and communities themselves. Together with local partners, she’s helping more families have access to healthy foods. There are healthy food trucks, nutrition and cooking classes for expectant mothers, and gardens both in the community and at the hospital itself for neighborhood parents.
Published on October 10, 2019
Stories and Expert Perspectives
Hear from experts about the impact of policies and programs in their communities, read interviews with researchers about data releases, and learn how some communities are taking action to help more children grow up healthy, including from places that have measured a decline in childhood obesity rates.