Food for Thought Health New England Wins Health Information Merit Award For Weight Loss Workbook

SPRINGFIELD — Seymour’s Weight Loss Challenge, written by health care organization Health New England (HNE) (, has won its first accolade — the Merit Award from the National Health Information Awards.


The second book in HNE’s Whiz Kidz health education series, Seymour’s Weight Loss Challenge provides help to children coping with obesity from a child’s perspective, while educating the whole family about good food and exercise choices.

HNE created the Whiz Kidz series in response to a lack of health education information for elementary school children. Seymour’s Weight Loss Challenge provides children with important health information in a fun way, while engaging their parents as well. Through this approach, children learn healthy lifestyle habits that they will take with them into adulthood, with the added benefit of improving the overall health of the family.

Now in its 11th year, the National Health Information Awards program is designed to establish a seal of quality for consumer health information. The awards are organized by the Health Information Resource Center (HIRC), a national clearinghouse for consumer health programs and materials. The awards program, the most comprehensive of its kind, recognizes the best consumer health information materials and programs from organizations throughout the nation. Pieces are judged on content and presentation.

According to Lynn Ostrowski, HNE Director of Health Programs and Community Relations, “In doing the research to identify health education information for children between 5 and 12, we were unable to find materials that truly engaged both the child and the parent. We made a decision to create our own educational material for this age group.”

Seymour’s Weight Loss Challenge is accompanied by a tool kit of resources, including a workbook that contains practical tips and activities and a virtual grocery store tour on CD. These tools in combination tackle many of the issues surrounding weight loss and provide options to fit various lifestyles.

HNE has also begun working on the third book in the HNE Whiz Kidz series, which will focus on the management of Type 1 and Type 2 pediatric diabetes. The star of this book, Danny DICE will become a Diabetes Insulin Control Expert.

The first book in the series, How ACE Became an Asthma Control Expert, was released in March 2003. Find more information about ACE and Furlis on their own Web site at

For more information about the series, contact HNE’s Health Programs Department at 413-787-4000, ext. 3383. For information about ordering Seymour’s Weight Loss Challenge see