NASHVILLE – Health care costs in the United States surpassed $2.3 trillion in 2008, more than any other country in the world. Despite these vast expenditures on health care, U.S. standing in international health indices continues to decline. Within the U.S., Tennessee ranks 46th in life expectancy, 44th in infant mortality, 41st in smoking rates, 48th in obesity and 45th in preventable hospitalizations.
In the latest installment in its “NPT Reports: Children’s Health Crisis” series, “Prevention,” premiering on Thursday, March 31 at 8:00 p.m. on NPT-Channel 8, Nashville Public Television asks, “Why do we spend so much and get so little?” The documentary, produced by Will Pedigo (“Infant Mortality”), then goes on to explore what it will take to improve the health of all children in Tennessee, examining a view of health that extends beyond medical care; where healthy lifestyle choices are accessible, affordable and a part of everyday life.
The documentary will be previewed on Thursday, March 24 with a special “Family Health Night” event for the parents and children of Fall Hamilton School, with Kimberly Williams-Paisley, “NPT Reports: Children’s Health Crisis” host and actress (“Father of the Bride,” “According to Jim,” “Amish Grace”) and Beth Curley, NPT President and CEO. Attendees will get a sneak preview of the documentary, followed by comments by Curley and Williams-Paisley. Williams-Paisley will also read from “The Cat in the Hat” book “Oh The Things You Can Do That Are Healthy For You!” Parents and Children will then take part in Family Health Night activities, where joined by the Cat in the Hat, Things 1 and 2 and the Tooth Fairy, they will learn about exercise, dental care and healthy nutritional choices. Members of the media wishing to attend the event should RSVP with Joe Pagetta at firstname.lastname@example.org
Starting with a look at the growing incidence of asthma hospitalizations in children, “NPT Reports: Children’s Health Crisis: Prevention” highlights the challenges of shifting from a medical model of intervention to one of prevention and maintenance of chronic illness. The program examines where Tennessee succeeds on the path to prevention with immunization rates, but falls short with fewer well-child visits as children get older.Viewers will learn how businesses have been drawn into the conversation as healthcare costs threaten their competitiveness in the global marketplace.
The program also explores where changes can and have been made to improve health through legislation and public policy. While Tennessee, like the much of the South, struggles with issues related to high rates of obesity, the state is leading the nation with efforts to improve children’s health through schools, with promising results.
The March 31 broadcast will conclude with a panel of in-studio experts and medical professionals. During the broadcast, viewers are encouraged to join Pedigo for a Tweet Chat on Twitter @npt8 or with hashtag #childrenshealth.
NPT’s Children’s Health Crisis Project is a three-year initiative built around a series of seven documentaries on the state of children’s health in Tennessee. Other elements of the project include follow-up discussion programs, daily on-air health updates, an extensive project website at http://wnpt.org/childrenshealth and community outreach on related topics.
All episodes of the series, as well as bonus interviews and extended segments are available for free streaming at http://wnpt.org/childrenshealth.
“NPT Reports: Children’s Health Crisis” is made possible through major support by the Healthways Foundation, the Nashville Healthcare Council, the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt, the Vanderbilt University School of Medicine Department of Pediatrics and the Baptist Healing Trust, with additional funding by the Orrin H. Ingram Fund. A multitude of community partnerships have provided invaluable support to the project, most notably Alignment Nashville, whose “5 Pillars of Children’s Health” provided the initial outline for the project.
About Nashville Public Television
Nashville Public Television is available free and over the air to nearly 2.4 million people throughout the Middle Tennessee and southern Kentucky viewing area, and is watched by more than 600,000 households every week. The mission of NPT is to provide, through the power of traditional television and interactive telecommunications, high quality educational, cultural and civic experiences that address issues and concerns of the people of the Nashville region, and which thereby help improve the lives of those we serve.