Kim Ribich is the events manager of the Colorado Health Foundation.
Just as the causes of childhood obesity are numerous and complex, so are the potential solutions. While much work is underway to curb this problem -- from banning the sale of sugary beverages in schools to addressing the issue in the latest season of “The Biggest Loser” -- time (and evaluation) will tell what’s effective and what isn’t.
During the Colorado Health Foundation’s first-ever Symposium Unplugged event, Dec. 14, IDEO’s Chris Waugh sparked dialogue for reversing the childhood obesity epidemic in Colorado and elsewhere. Waugh is senior lead of the Health and Wellness practice at IDEO, an international innovation consulting firm. In two engaging and thought-provoking hours, Waugh used drawing exercises and video clips to show how “design thinking” could crack this vexing societal nut.
Rather than relying on the carrot-over-the-Pixy Stix approach to stop childhood obesity, Waugh asked participants to consider the world from the kids’ point of view; identify barriers to success and “meet people where they are.” He encouraged the audience of health stakeholders to avoid “leading with health.” For example, cooking because it’s “fun” is a better invitation for most people than cooking because it’s a healthier alternative to fast food.
Waugh’s ideas about designing solutions through collaborative processes that engage people with different perspectives really resonated with me because that’s what Symposium Unplugged is all about.
A complement to the Foundation’s Colorado Health Symposium, Symposium Unplugged engages participants in a single, health-focused conversation in a smaller, more intimate setting. The ongoing series continues one of the many discussions that began at the annual Symposium.
Our first Symposium Unplugged convened a diverse group of individuals from nonprofit organizations and businesses, health professionals, educators and policymakers -- all of whom have unique perspectives on and a stake in the childhood obesity issue.
Feedback showed that participants regarded the event as an important one. For example, 98 percent of those who responded said the event changed their thinking about childhood obesity. Participants also offered feedback regarding Colorado’s “bright spots,” challenges and opportunities in childhood obesity. All of which are listed in this document.
Here’s your chance to chime in and make your thoughts about new ways to address childhood obesity known. Simply type your remarks in the comment box below and keep the conversation alive.
The Foundation will host two Symposium Unplugged events a year, inviting a diverse group of participants to take part. Stay tuned for more Symposium Unplugged conversations in the weeks and months ahead.