Three South Florida Health Organizations Join Forces to Fight Childhood Obesity with...

Three South Florida Health Organizations Join Forces to Fight Childhood Obesity with Nationally Innovative Campaign

Baptist Health South Florida, Memorial Healthcare System's Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital and Pharmed Group announce ‘Parents Step Up’ Campaign


Miami ,FL–(HISPANIC PR WIRE – BUSINESS WIRE)–January 12, 2006–Parents Step Up is an innovative, bilingual, childhood obesity prevention campaign beginning January, 2006 in South Florida sponsored by Baptist Health South Florida, Memorial Healthcare System’s Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and Pharmed Group. The threeorganizations are collaborating to address the childhood obesity epidemic in Broward and Miami-Dade Counties, and to contribute meaningfully to the national dialogue on the issue. The Spanish version of the campaign is called Familias en Marcha.

With Parents Step Up, the public health collaboration aims to educate the public about the childhood obesity epidemic. Parents Step Up is one of the first public information campaigns to address ultimate accountability and place it squarely on parents’ shoulders.

Parents Step Up will involve advertising, publicity, community relations and a website. The first goal of the awareness campaign is to influence public opinion to better reflect the seriousness of the childhood obesity issue. The second campaign goal is to create awareness among parents.

“We entered into the partnership with Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and the Pharmed Group since we are all dedicated to the improvement of the health of our communities,” said Brian E. Keeley, President and CEO of Baptist Health South Florida. “The epidemic of childhood obesity is a huge concern, because the negative effects on health can last for decades.”

“This campaign sends the message that although there are many influencers of childhood obesity, such as fast food and video games, parents are ultimately accountable,” said Jorge de Cespedes, President of Pharmed Group. “Our campaign seeks to impact the South Florida community with a wellness message we hope that families will take to heart.”

National research overwhelmingly supports the position of the Parents Step Up campaign. There are numerous studies that indicate parents are the greatest influencer of lifelong health habits.

Parents Step Up conducted primary research, in the form of focus groups, to learn more about parents’ opinions and attitudes regarding obesity. The parents queried strongly agreed that they were responsible for their children becoming overweight or obese, even though other influencers — fast food, video games, excessive television — made it very challenging. “Even though the national research supported our position, we were still concerned that parents might not agree. Our focus groups made it clear that parents see themselves as responsible,” de Cespedes said.

“If the childhood obesity problem continues to grow at its current rate, this new generation will become the first in history to have a life expectancy less than its parents,” according to a study released in the March 17, 2005 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine. Equally startling is the statistic that “one in three children born in 2000 will develop diabetes,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“Many experts and medical studies have acknowledged childhood obesity as an imminent threat on the life expectancy of our youth,” said Frank V. Sacco, CEO, Memorial Healthcare System. “At Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital and throughout our entire healthcare system, we are committed to working collaboratively with other organizations toward curbing this trend of childhood obesity, and in turn, positively affecting the health and lives of future generations.”

The campaign advertisements and general campaign information are available at The Spanish version is available at

The campaign research clearly indicated that moms want solutions on how to change their families’ nutrition and exercise habits. “This was the catalyst for us creating websites that could be a valuable resource for parents,” said de Cespedes. Some of the issues the website addresses include:

— How to talk to your child about being overweight or obese

— How to change your family’s unhealthy habits

— The influence of the Big Fat Industries (fast food, junk food, soft drink industries)

Parents Step Up hired a nationally recognized social marketing consultant and expert in childhood obesity. Dewey & Associates, a Tampa-based firm, assisted in the research and the development of the campaign objectives, messages, television ad and website. The firm’s social marketing experience includes working on the highly successful national ‘Truth’ campaign, as well as other state teen tobacco prevention campaigns, including the West Virginia campaign that reduced teen tobacco use by 32 percent in three years, the second best result of any state.

Brown Parker & DeMarinis Advertising, a Delray Beach-based advertising agency specializing in healthcare, created the innovative advertising campaign for Parents Step Up. Representing nine hospitals and more than a dozen healthcare brands, BPD Advertising is the only marketing communications company to have won the Mark of Excellence award for outstanding healthcare marketing in consecutive years, 2004 and 2005. The public relations effort is being lead by The Conroy Martinez Group, a bilingual, full-service public relations and marketing firm specializing in the healthcare/medical industries both regionally and nationally.

Baptist Children’s Hospital is a part of Baptist Health South Florida, the largest and most preferred not-for-profit healthcare organization in Miami-Dade County. It also includes Baptist Hospital, South Miami Hospital, Doctors Hospital, Homestead Hospital, Mariners Hospital in Tavernier, Baptist Cardiac & Vascular Institute and Baptist Outpatient Services. For more information, visit or

Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital, the leading children’s hospital in Broward and Palm Beach, is part of the Memorial Healthcare System, whose mission is to provide safe, quality, cost-effective, customer-focused healthcare services to its patients regardless of their ability to pay, with a goal of improving the health status of the community it serves. Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital meets the complex needs of children by providing a family-centered care approach and a comprehensive scope of inpatient and outpatient pediatric services supervised by the largest diversity of board-certified specialists in the region. Among the system’s other facilities are Memorial Regional Hospital, Memorial Hospital West, Memorial Hospital Miramar and Memorial Hospital Pembroke. For more information, visit

Based in Miami, Florida, Pharmed Group is the largest independent, full-line distributor of medical, surgical and pharmaceutical supplies, and materials management services provider in the United States. In honor of the company’s 25th anniversary, the Pharmed DeCespedes Foundation was established to help children, specifically addressing educational needs in our community. Pharmed currently distributes more than 25,000 products to hospitals and medical centers in the U.S., Latin America and the Caribbean. Founded in 1980, Pharmed was awarded the 2004 Hispanic Business Magazine Trade Industry Entrepreneur of the Year.

Three South Florida Health Organizations Join Forces to Fight Childhood Obesity with Nationally Innovative Campaign