MEG KEIL, MS, CRNP
To Whom It May Concern:
As a pediatric endocrine nurse practitioner at the National Institutes of Health I see many children with chronic medical conditions that are also affected by obesity. The prevalence of pediatric obesity has continued to increase over the past decade, and affects healthy children as well as children with chronic medical conditions. Recently, one of my patients with a chronic medical condition and morbid obesity returned to NIH for follow-up. I was astonished at how much weight she had lost over the past six months, after years of trying unsuccessfully to lose weight. What had happened in the prior six months that enabled her to successfully lose weight? She attended Camp Jump Start, founded by Jean Huelsing, for four weeks over the summer. I am writing to express my strong interest in seeing this resource continue to be available to children and families across the country.
As a pediatric endocrine nurse practitioner at NIH, I see many patients and I know firsthand the complications and difficulties the multiple diagnosis of a chronic illness and obesity brings to parents and families. This camp provides a safe and supportive environment to help those children develop effective strategies for healthy eating and exercise. The presence of trained medical and nursing staff allows parents to be reassured that their child will have appropriate care for their chronic medical conditions while attending camp. Perhaps the most remarkable change besides the weight loss that I observed in my patient was her positive attitude about herself as well as her approach to eating. This speaks volumes about how effective her camp experience was to enhance her self-esteem and to develop a healthy approach to eating and exercise.
I strongly encourage your support of this valuable asset.
Meg Keil, MS, CRNP
Director, Clinical Services, Pediatric Endocrinology Inter-Institiute Training Program
National Institutes of Health