What was the motivation or defining moment that led to the creation of this innovation? Tell the story.
“Physical Examination: She is obese and talks a lot about her symptoms”. This is the damning wording used by the consulting neurologist to describe a patient I cared for. As a doctor, I was appalled at this use of “fact” to paint a negative picture that went way beyond the physical, and which would sit in this young woman’s medical file for the rest of her life. Even more notable was that the patient had not, in fact, been weighed!
Obesity stigmatization is entrenched and on this day I knew we needed a non-judgmental alternative. I have often seen health professionals interviewed about child obesity engage in linguistic gymnastics to avoid the term “obese” at any cost, but when we avoid the term like this, we give the message that there is something shameful about obesity. I searched for an alternative that I would feel comfortable using, and thus arose the steadygrow weightzones.
Some years ago as I discussed the concept of holding weight steady and growing into it, a 10 year old girl said “so I don’t have to lose weight?” “No” I said, follow the ideas we have talked about, and as you grow taller, your weight will come into a healthier balance with your height.” “I can do that” she said enthusiastically, “but how long do I have to hold steady, to grow into my weight?” As I looked at the BMI chart on the table, it occurred to me that this question, clearly an important aspect in the motivation of this young girl, was impossible to answer…
And thus, steadygrow was born
Please name and provide a personal bio of the social innovator behind this initiative.
Dr Felicity Breen is a New Zealand born, Australian trained specialist paediatrician with over 23 years’ experience as a doctor.
In addition to creating the steadygrow program, Dr Breen works in clinical paediatrics in rural Australasia, dealing with both hospital inpatients and outpatients, often seeing young people with unrecognized obesity and no support.
She also has a family history of obesity associated morbidity and has seen first hand the torment of people afflicted by this combination.
What resources would you need to take your initiative to the next stage?
I need experienced programming support, and the funding to pay for this if possible, to update the charting code to reflect the steadygrow weightzones and to utilize new technologies in web design that have arisen since steadygrow was first designed.
As I am funding the project myself through my clinical work, the more funding I can access the more time I will be able to devote to marketing steadygrow and growing a like-minded team, and this is what I really want to be doing right now.
How did you hear about this contest and what is your main incentive to participate? (Confidential)
2 weeks ago spam arrived with the tagline ‘Battling childhood obesity… An interview with Robert Wood Johnson’s CEO’. I hadn’t heard of RWJ!
I followed the link and found your competition.
I read your criteria and knew I had to enter.
The catch was that the next day I was flying to Australia to do medical work for 2 weeks; I got back yesterday…
Steadygrow is outside the square, and just as we nudge people into good health decisions, you will help me nudge potential partners to support steadygrow