Monday, January 31, 2011

Forming Partnerships to Fight Obesity

Entering into an arrangement where organizations work together can be a good strategic approach for some organizations. The collaborative arrangement may be informal. Or the arrangement might be a formal partnership or even a merger. Sometimes these collaborative arrangements work and sometimes they don’t. We can recall the high expectations many had when AOL (American Online) and Time Warner merged. The merger was to allow, among other things, both companies to rise with the power of the internet. However, the merger didn't work, and was eventually dissolved.

But coming together to leverage resources and capabilities can be a good strategic move for many organizations in any industry. The highly respected, non-profit Robert Wood Johnson Foundation (RWJF) forms collaborative arrangements to further its mission. RWJF’s mission is to improve America’s health and health care. Reducing overweight and obesity is an integral part of improving America’s health. And RWJF typically partners with other non-profit organizations in this cause. But for-profit and non-profit organizations can also form working relationships with each other.

“Florida Hospital, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham), and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited, [recently announced] that they have signed a research agreement to form a collaboration to discover and evaluate new therapeutic approaches to obesity.”

Florida Hospital, a non-profit hospital, is located in Orlando, Florida. It was founded over 100 years ago. The non-profit Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute has locations in Florida and California. And Takeda is a pharmaceutical company with headquarters in Japan.

Perhaps, the collaboration between these three organizations will be worthwhile. The partnership might further the advancement of approaches to weight loss and weight management.

It is generally assumed that for-profit and non-profit organizations have different motivations: For-Profit organizations want to make a profit, and Non-Profit organizations tend to have some type of community service as their purpose.

But for-profit organizations can do good things for the community while making a profit. And non-profit organizations can create needed excess revenue (or profit), while serving the community. Ardently addressing the overweight and obesity problem will benefit both for-profits and non-profits.

Therefore, for-profit organizations, such as Takeda, and non-profit organizations, such as Florida Hospital and Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, have good reasons to want to develop effective weight loss products and procedures. Further, the Florida Hospital-Sanford Burnham-Takeda partnership might encourage standalone for-profit medical weight loss clinics to look for ways to partner with non-profit organizations to fight overweight and obesity.

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Sunday, January 16, 2011

Changing the Environments to Fight Childhood Obesity

The environments, we normally occupy, expose us to the food we wind up eating. In fact, to a great extent, these environments dictate the kind of food we eat. For elementary school children, the two most important environments are the home environment and the school environment. Therefore, changing the food in these two environments is important to curtailing childhood obesity.

For some time, experts have suggested that elementary school cafeteria food in America’s schools should be improved to fight childhood obesity. And recently, President Obama signed into law a bill that increases elementary school children’s access to nutritious food. The name of the bill is the “Healthy, Hunger-Free Kid’s Act of 2010.”

The bill enlarges the number of children who will have access to federally funded meals. The bill also sets national standards for the food sold in school cafeterias. So indeed this bill will change the food in elementary school
children's environment.

However, in order for the change in food to have the most effect, a concurrent change in the food made available at home must change for many elementary school children. This means that the whole family must agree to a weight loss or weight management program.

The role the family must play in maintaining a child's healthy weight is important. The family must create a home environment, where the child is exposed to healthy low calorie food. By creating, and maintaining, a healthy diet environment, the family will be working with the elementary school to lessen the rise in childhood obesity.

And where possible, medical weight loss practitioners should play a role here. The practitioners can get involved with community groups who are fighting childhood obesity. The practitioners can work with these groups to help them sync up with elementary schools in the childhood obesity fight.

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