Founded in 2009 by Dr. Jamie Jeffrey, MD, FAAp, KEYS 4 HealthyKids is a grant-funded non-profit on a mission to make the healthy choice the easy choice for kids, families, and communities across the state of West Virginia.
A pediatrician by trade, Dr. Jeffrey noticed a significant increase in the number of children who were presenting with conditions like hypertension, insulin-resistance, pre-diabetes, Type II Diabetes, and other metabolic diseases. Typically, these conditions are found in adult patients; however, the rising rates of childhood obesity led to the prevalence of these conditions in much younger patients.
In an effort to meet the needs of the children in her care, Dr. Jeffrey knew she needed to know more about the obesity epidemic and had to take action to combat it. In December 2008, she began working with a community partnership of 22 organizations to create a plan for outreach in Kanawha County to make PSE changes and administer the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation’s Healthy Kids, Healthy Communities Grant, and thus KEYS 4 HealthyKids was born.
As time progressed, KEYS expanded its work across the state and began working with a multitude of partners in numerous capacities, including FedUpWV, Kidz Bite Back, Rethink Your Drink, etc.
Utilizing the latest research and best practices in childhood obesity prevention, KEYS moved into schools, child care, and clinical communities.
In order to make PSE changes in Early Care and Education, KEYS introduced UNC Chapel Hill’s NAP SACC to directors who participated in the KEY 2 a Healthy Start initiative
Presently KEYS trains and facilitates health and wellness measures for the PLN, like kids pop-up farmers markets, garden-based learning, farm 2 ECE, etc.