Learning good health behaviors at an early age and having these behaviors supported and reinforced throughout daily life activities provides a sustainable prescription for the longterm health of a community. Consistency of message, access to easy-to-understand content and leadership/buy-in from local partners is essential to ensuring that these habits “stick.” OWG INC coined a model where elementary schools and Early Childhood centers act as “hubs” for community-wide obesity prevention. Other community locations like summer camps, after-schools, doctor’s offices, supermarkets, etc. would also act as “spokes” of additional healthy living activities. This model streamlines prevention efforts and helps communities use the same language/materials to reach a common goal. The addition of a Digital Platform to this model increases scalability, allows for additional language options and also provides access to usage/tracking reports. This presentation highlights this evidence-based approach to the global health crisis combined with a replicable model utilizing technology for dissemination and implementation. The platform and complementary physical items are designed for educators/caregivers to engage young children (and their families) in a manner that motivates them to choose healthy foods and physical activity to take care of their bodies because they understand the why. This approach empowers children to be healthy and smart from the inside out. The research presented is published in top-tier journals and show statically significant improvements in children’s BMI percentiles, waist circumference, blood pressure and standardized test scores.
President, The OrganWise Guys Inc.
Dr. Michelle Lombardo is President of the certified Women Owned Business, The OrganWise Guys Inc., and the author of The OrganWise Guys series, which promotes the benefits of good nutrition and preventive healthcare practices through creative characters playing the roles of the vital body organs. Dr. Lombardo is also the Project Manager of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation-funded Thriving Communities, Thriving Children II (TCTC2); a project designed to improve the health and literacy status of young children. Results of the program used in TCTC2, The OrganWise Guys Comprehensive School Program, are published in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association, the American Journal of Public Health and the Journal of Healthcare for the Poor and Underserved. Dr. Lombardo is a co-author of the book chapters, Schools as *Laboratories* for Obesity Prevention: Proven Effective Models and School-Based Obesity Prevention Interventions Show Promising Improvements in the Health and Academic Achievements among Ethnically Diverse Young Children (Global View on Childhood Obesity: Current Status, Consequences and Prevention. Elsevier, 2010, 2nd Edition, 2019). Dr. Lombardo received her D.C. from Life College of Chiropractic and was in private practice for 10 years prior to starting The OrganWise Guys Inc., now in its twenty-sixth year of operation.