Inspiring Others During National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month

Meet Three Children Who Turned Their Health Around

Children who are overweight or obese are at greater risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, asthma and other serious illnesses. During September, which is National Childhood Obesity Awareness Month, Kaiser Permanente's Care Stories blog ( shares three stories of young members who got the care and support they needed to change unhealthy eating habits, exercise, and lose weight.

September's stories include:

Austin Stanfill was 12 years old and overweight when he went to see Sara Bell, MD, at Kaiser Permanente's Orchards Medical Office in Vancouver, Wash.,  to be treated for pneumonia. Dr. Bell suspected Austin might be pre-diabetic and blood work confirmed her hunch. Austin's mother began cooking healthier meals that featured more protein and vegetables, and the then-reluctant pre-teen learned to like the new fare. Now 14 and no longer pre-diabetic, Austin plays sports and has increased his stamina. "I probably would have diabetes if I kept my lifestyle how it was, so I'm glad she [Dr. Bell] told me and I could get it under control."

          Watch Austin's care story

Jesse Campos says he startled himself when, at the age of 9, he weighed in at 220 pounds.  Unable to bend over and tie his shoes or run around like the other kids at recess, both he and his mom knew his weight was impacting his health and quality of life. But it was his pediatrician, Sharon Peng, MD, at Kaiser Permanente Panorama City (Calif.) Medical Center, that inspired him to get active and reach for apples and oranges rather than chips and dip. Now 17 years old and 174 pounds, Jesse credits his weight loss and boost in self-confidence to Dr. Peng's no-nonsense approach to helping patients improve their health. "She was very blunt with me when I was a kid...and [that] was exactly what I needed," Jesse says. I made a commitment. I [realized]... I had to stop eating all the junk food, had to exercise, and not just sit around on the computer all day, and I surprised myself. Not only did I gain self-confidence from losing weight, but I also felt better physically."

Watch Jesse's care story

At 15, Josie Clayton's doctor told her she was at an unhealthy weight and pre-diabetic. She enrolled in Kaiser Permanente's High Five to Health, a pediatric program that taught her about the importance of healthy eating and an active lifestyle. Josie cut back on unhealthy food choices and chose fruits, veggies and lean meat. Now 19 years old and 60 pounds lighter, Josie has taken her healthy habits with her to the University of Nevada, Reno, where she's a sophomore planning to major in community health sciences so that she can help others. Josie, who is half Native American, says she's proud to be able share her new found healthy eating habits with her family and the larger community.

          Watch Josie's care story

Launched in July 2011, Care Stories is a collection of first-person video narratives from Kaiser Permanente members talking about their own care in their own words, unscripted and uncompensated.