Office of Development
MUSC Children's Hospital will use a $1 million charitable investment from The Boeing Company to establish a community-based center aimed at promoting better health among the state's young people.
The Boeing Center for Promotion of Healthy Lifestyles in Children and Families will focus on helping children make the link of how healthy diets and physical activity impact good health.
The center will help children adopt healthy lifestyle behaviors through a multi-pronged approach involving nutrition counseling, fitness training, exercise classes, medical assessments, individualized treatments and participation in group programs. Because young people acquire so many of their lifestyle habits in home and at school, the center also will support teachers and families in how to foster environments more supportive of healthy living.
Although the center will be housed and managed from MUSC Children's Hospital in Charleston, its activities will take place at schools and other locations throughout the community. The idea, says MUSC President Ray Greenberg, M.D., Ph.D., is to prevent unhealthy lifestyles from developing in the first place.
"Children are our future and by making this investment, Boeing is helping to shape a healthier South Carolina. We need to instill healthy lifestyle practices at the youngest possible ages in order to prevent the development of diabetes, obesity, high blood pressure and other illnesses down the road."
The center is based upon two successful obesity prevention and treatment programs at MUSC Children's Hospital: the Lean Team and Heart Health. Boeing's investment will enable the hospital to integrate and expand both programs under the auspices of an entire center, enabling them to serve more young people and their families throughout the Tricounty area.
By the end of the center's initial two-year ramp-up period, it will serve more than 8,000 children and family members directly, and an estimated 47,000 children and 8,000 personnel who will benefit from menu adjustments and other environmental changes made in 79 local schools. David Habib, M.D., interim chairman of the MUSC Department of Pediatrics, believes the center will have an enduring impact that eventually will be felt throughout the entire state.
"The beauty of this education-based approach is that it can be passed from neighbor to neighbor, community to community and generation to generation," said Habib. "In that sense, I believe that this center's long-term, positive impact on public health in South Carolina will be scalable and sustainable."