athenahealth National Childhood Obesity Study Finds No Evidence of Decline

WATERTOWN, Mass., Sept. 12, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — athenahealth, Inc. (Nasdaq:ATHN), a leading provider of cloud-based services for electronic health records (EHR), practice management, and care coordination, today released national childhood obesity rate findings. Based on The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) definition of childhood obesity and athenahealth’s proprietary medical record data from over 1 million patient visits between 2010-2013, there are no signs of a national decline in childhood obesity within the athenahealth network.

Following the CDC’s recent report of decreases in obesity among low-income preschoolers across 19 states, athenahealth analyzed electronic health record data from its cloud-based network for children who received care from about 6,000 physicians across the country over a three-year period ending on June 30, 2013. In contrast to the CDC’s findings, the obesity rates for children seen by these physicians show no meaningful change over time.

“Our cloud-based platform, which captures data from almost 44,000 health care providers around the country, puts us in a unique position to be able to look across a national health network to monitor health trends and physician activity on a real-time basis,” said Josh Gray, Vice President of athenaResearch at athenahealth, Inc. “We’re simply not seeing declines in childhood obesity as the CDC recently reported. From what we see, obesity rates for a large, national sample of children have been flat for three years, through June 2013. We believe this is valuable information for the clinical community, and for everyone with an interest in keeping kids healthy.”

In support of BOKS, an initiative of Reebok and the Reebok Foundation to expand free before-school physical activity programs for kids, athenahealth is hopeful this data will help rally the public around the ongoing need to prioritize exercise and nutrition in schools. Just last week, BOKS announced an incentive for public and private elementary schools, as part of which anyone across the country can apply for a $1,000 Activation Grant to bring BOKS to their school (suggested uses found within the application on BOKSKIDS.org and applications will be accepted on a first-come, first-serve basis through December 2013).

“We have a long haul ahead of us when it comes to childhood obesity and the need for physical activity as well as nutritional education for kids,” says Kathleen Tullie, Co-Founder and Executive Director of the BOKS program. “It’s more than overcoming a national statistic; it’s about helping children become healthy so they can thrive. Research demonstrates that physically active kids do better academically and behaviorally, and while BOKS is free, the Activation Grant provides that extra push to bring BOKS to more schools.”

To learn more about athenahealth’s obesity findings, please visit our blog at: http://www.athenahealth.com/blog/ or follow #athenadata on Twitter. For more information on BOKS and to apply for the BOKS Activation Grant, please visit BOKSKIDS.org.

About athenahealth, Inc.

athenahealth is a leading provider of cloud-based services for EHR, practice management, and care coordination. athenahealth’s mission is to be caregivers’ most trusted service, helping them do well doing the right thing. For more information, please visit www.athenahealth.com or call 888-652-8200.

About BOKS (Build Our Kids’ Success)

BOKS, Build Our Kids’ Success, is a before school physical activity program backed by Reebok and the Reebok Foundation. Founded on the principle Active Kids = Active Minds, BOKS was created by a group of moms after reading Dr. John Ratey’s book Spark, which states that “exercise is the single most powerful tool that we have to optimize the function of our brains.” The goal of the BOKS program is to enhance academic performance and the overall health of kids through physical activity. The uniqueness of the program is that it takes place before school begins and studies have shown that exercise before school is the key to improving classroom performance and behavior. The program, run by moms, dads, teachers and all volunteers in local communities, is simple to implement. BOKS is currently in close to 400 schools around the world. To bring BOKS to your community, please visit BOKSKIDS.org for more information.

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