SOURCE: Institute for Healthcare Advancement

Institute for Healthcare Advancement

February 04, 2010 10:00 ET

Childhood Obesity: New Self-Help Book Aids Reading-Challenged Parents in Dealing With Growing Health Problem

LA HABRA, CA--(Marketwire - February 4, 2010) - In an effort to help reverse a trend indicating that one-third of the nation's children are carrying too much weight, a new self-help book, "What To Do For Heavy Kids," was released today to help reading-challenged parents with this serious health issue.

"What To Do For Heavy Kids," written at a 5th grade reading level, 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 since 2000, using simple language, short, active sentences and single syllable words to convey health information. The book series is published by the Institute for Healthcare Advancement (IHA).

"Given the sensitivity of weight issues with their patients, many healthcare providers often give nonspecific health instructions such as, 'Lose some weight' and 'Get some exercise,'" said Gloria Mayer, Ed.D., R.N., F.A.A.N., president of the nonprofit organization and co-author of the book.

"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. Topics include nutritional guidance, food shopping, lifestyle issues, 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 healthcare 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 June 2010. For more information or to order the book, call (800) 434-4633 or go to and click on the "Bookstore" link.

The "What To Do For Health" books series includes "What To Do When Your Child Gets Sick," "What To Do For Teen Health," "What To Do When You're Having A Baby," "What To Do For Senior Health," and "What To Do For Healthy Teeth," all of which are available on the IHA website. All titles are available in English or Spanish; the Senior book is also available in Vietnamese, and the Sick Child book is available in English, Spanish, Vietnamese, Korean and Chinese.

IHA also hosts an annual Health Literacy Conference each May in Irvine, Calif., for healthcare providers and educators. IHA provides healthcare information through its various publishing efforts, the World Wide Web, and its renowned local and national education programs. It also operates the Friends of Children Health Center, providing free medical and dental care for needy and uninsured youngsters in La Habra, Calif.

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

Contact Information

  • Editorial Contacts:
    Marilyn Haese/Daryn Teague
    Haese & Wood Marketing
    (310) 556-9612