Beating the Statistics – The Children’s Aid Society Battles Child Obesity

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In New York City, 47% of public elementary school children are overweight, with 27% of them categorized as obese. These are alarming statistics. image023

Child obesity has morphed into a serious crisis, requiring immediate attention on the part of families, schools and local government. The Children’s Aid Society has adopted an aggressive three-pronged approach to battle this problem, centering on the basic concept of sustainable living.

First, children and families must be educated about nutrition. In a recent podcast interview, Stefania Patinella, Manager of The Children’s Aid Society Food and Nutrition Programs, pointed out that, “Food is a very natural thing for kids to get into…they’re always hungry and they love to eat!”  That’s why our Go!Kids works, where kids aged 2-5 can learn about fitness and food, and  through hands-on cooking classes like Go!Chefs, where budding young chefs get to  create culinary feasts.

Secondly, Children’s Aid advocates initiatives such as the Green Cart Bill, helping low-income families gain access to quality, affordable healthy food. Safeguarding the health and wellness of disadvantaged children has been central to our mission for over 150 years, and that includes the availability of healthy and nutritious food. The kids play an important advocacy role as well, learning about gardening by becoming young “farmers,” and running youthmarkets from their schools in neighborhoods like East Harlem and South Bronx.

And finally, it’s about taking responsibility for what we feed our kids. We feed over 1500 children kids a day in our community schools and after-school programs. For some children, this may be their only decent meal of the day, so it’s critical that we provide the most nutritious foods. We’re committed to reducing the percentage of obese and overweight children in our community, and by working at education and advocating for the disadvantaged youth in New York, we’re working at making apples and carrots more enticing than chips and doughnuts!