HCN News & Notes

Baystate Health announces MIGHTY Program Partnership

WESTFIELD — Baystate Health announced an exciting new partnership between its MIGHTY program and the YMCA of Greater Westfield, made possible through the support of Kohl’s Cares.

MIGHTY stands for Moving, Improving, and Gaining Health Together at the YMCA. MIGHTY is an evidence-based multi-component pediatric weight-management program aimed at obese children ages 5-21. Participants attend 14, 2-hour sessions over a six-month period during which children and their families engage with exercise specialists, dieticians, psychologists and social workers in classroom instruction, hands on cooking, gardening, and group and individual exercise sessions. The MIGHTY program is offered at no cost. In addition, the family receives a free 6-month Y membership. On average 50{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} of children who participate in the program decrease their body mass index.

“If you want to tackle something like childhood obesity, you start with the community and with the family. It’s not a doctor giving a child a pill in the office,” said Dr. Charlotte Boney, MD, chair, Department of Pediatrics, Baystate Children’s Hospital.

Thanks to the support of Kohl’s Cares, Baystate is expanding the program to the Westfield YMCA (Baystate Noble Hospital) and Greenfield YMCA (Baystate Franklin Medical Center). Many children referred by pediatricians to the Springfield MIGHTY reside in the Greater Westfield and Greenfield communities. By offering the program at alternative sites, Baystate Health can enroll 25{06cf2b9696b159f874511d23dbc893eb1ac83014175ed30550cfff22781411e5} more participants over the next 24 months, while making it logistically easier for them to participate, and setting them up for success to achieve their health goals.

Additional resources would allow MIGHTY to offer more family-based events, a new teen cooking class, separate parenting groups, and offer an educational series.

“It is exciting to see how Baystate Health, the YMCA and Kohl’s are putting together a program of collaboration that has identified a problem in our community and instead of sitting back and talking about it, they have actually moved forward to find a solution,” said Westfield Mayor, Brian P. Sullivan.

Baystate Children’s Hospital MIGHTY Program, based in Springfield, has partnered with the Greater Springfield YMCA for the past 10 years to successfully help more than 1,000 obese children and adolescents (and their families) achieve a healthier lifestyle and decrease their body mass index.

“We definitely are so pleased to invest in the MIGHTY program because childhood obesity is unfortunately, a growing epidemic and we really want to see that become something of the past,” said Sara Goff, Assistant Store Manager, Kohl’s – West Springfield. “It’s going to take time, effort and programs like this to make that happen. The net proceeds of all of our Kohl’s Cares merchandise at all of our stores in Western Massachusetts are donated directly to Baystate Children’s Hospital.”

Children interested in enrolling in MIGHTY must first be evaluated through Baystate’s Pediatric Weight Management Program or their school nurse. For more information, families are encouraged to contact Dr. Chrystal Wittcopp, director of the MIGHTY program at 413.794.0811 or at Chrystal.Wittcopp@baystatehealth.org.

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