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Advocating for kids – in and out of the hospital ™
Children's Hospital Colorado partners with the community to advocate for the health and safety of kids. Our work goes beyond our hospital walls and into the communities we support. We're proud to lead the effort to bring solutions to some of our community's most pressing pediatric health issues.
To reinforce our ongoing commitment to community health improvement, Children's Colorado established the Child Health Advocacy Institute (CHAI). CHAI's mission is to positively impact the health and safety of children by working collaboratively with the public and our community partners. By bringing people together and leading the way in child health and safety, CHAI builds and operates evidence-based programs aimed at creating a thriving community for all children.
Imagine a child who is referred to the Lifestyle Medicine Program of Children's Colorado for obesity management. Not only does this child's obesity impact their physical health and well-being, it likely impacts other health areas, like their susceptibility to injury, asthma and oral health issues.
Before looking to immediately address the issue of obesity, which also trickles into these other health conditions, we must first recognize the comprehensive nature of a child's care, including social determinants of health.
Several factors likely contribute to a child's struggle with obesity.
For example, does the child live in a neighborhood where it isn't safe to play outside? Does their family have access or financial means to purchase healthy foods? Do they come from a culture where managing obesity isn't a priority? Does their school have physical education classes as part of the curriculum?
When we get to the core of what's causing health problems, it typically involves many layers of influence. In fact, only 20% of health depends on clinical care; the other 80% depends on social determinants, according to the University of Wisconsin Population Health Institute. Specifically:
Many children experience overlapping social determinants of health, such as low income, lack of transportation and poor access to safe places and role models, which consequently affects their health and well-being.
Additional needs include care for children with special needs, safe neighborhoods and oral health.
Learn how we work with our local community to identify and prioritize children's most pressing health needs through our Community Health Needs Assessment.
Download a copy of the Child Health Advocacy Awareness Calendar (.pdf) for tips on how to keep kids healthy and strong all year long.