SOURCE: Institute for Healthcare Advancement

Institute for Healthcare Advancement

February 10, 2010 14:17 ET

Applauding the First Lady for Childhood Obesity Campaign, "What To Do For Heavy Kids" Authors Point to Low Literacy as a Key Hurdle

LA HABRA, CA--(Marketwire - February 10, 2010) - Praising First Lady Michelle Obama's launching of a childhood obesity campaign, authors of a new easy to read, self help book, "What To Do For Heavy Kids," released this week, further identify that a big part of the problem is low health literacy. They point to the need to help the millions of reading-challenged parents with this serious health issue.

"Mrs. Obama's 'Let's Move' awareness campaign is a big step forward in combating a serious lifelong health issue for young children," said Gloria Mayer, Ed.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., CEO and President of the nonprofit Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA) and book co-author.

In an effort to help reverse this trend, which indicates that one-third of the nation's children are carrying too much weight, "What To Do For Heavy Kids" is written at a 5th grade reading level. It is the most recent book in the highly popular "What To Do for Health" book series. The series has sold more than 2.5 million copies.

"Given the sensitivity of weight issues with their young patients, many healthcare providers often give nonspecific health instructions such as, 'Lose some weight' and 'Get some exercise,'" said Dr. Mayer. "As a result, many parents often walk out of the office just as confused as when they walked in. And as with any other chronic health problem, the challenge of low literacy may further impact how patients understand the information being presented. This primer provides parents with needed tools to do something about childhood obesity if they observe it in their family."

The book is authored by Dr. Mayer and Michael Villaire, MSLM. In 200 pages, it presents the reader with oversized print and generous line spacing that makes it easier to read, using common conversational words without the use of medical jargon. The book also provides action-oriented "What to Do" sentences and simple illustrations throughout to make it easy for readers to put the new information to use right away. Each topic is presented in a logical, step-by-step format that answers the most common and important questions from parents: What is it? Did you know? What can I do? When do I need to get help? Topics include nutritional guidance, food shopping, lifestyle issues, family meals, feelings and self-esteem, and a chapter on diabetes, as well as chapters devoted to overall healthy eating issues in adulthood.

Citing that more than 90 million Americans have low literacy issues, Dr. Mayer's organization has spearheaded a drive to provide easy to read and easy to use health care books to populations with the highest need for services and least access to care. "What To Do For Heavy Kids" is the sixth book in the IHA's "What To Do For Health" series.

"What To Do For Heavy Kids" sells for $12.95 for individual copies or can be purchased in larger quantities at a discounted rate. A Spanish version of the book will also be available by April 2010. For more information or to order the book, call (800) 434-4633 or go to and click on the "Bookstore" link.

IHA is a La Habra-based not-for-profit organization dedicated to empowering people to better health. The organization is headquartered at 501 S. Idaho St., La Habra, CA 90631; For more information, go to the IHA website at

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