Students Learning Heart Healthy Diet and Lifestyle

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Above: Health Educators Anne Steinfeld and Julia Linesch (not pictured) from the Healthy Promotion Learning Lab, talk to teens about the harmful ingredients in cigarrettes.

In Washington Heights, an impoverished community in upper Manhattan, approximately 47% of children are overweight or obese. Thanks to a Community Impact Grant funded by the American Heart and American Stroke Associations, 11th graders at the City College Academy of the Arts, housed at the Salome Ureña de Henríquez Campus (SUCA) in Washington Heights, are participating in weekly healthy cooking and cardiovascular health education classes to become better equipped in the fight against this epidemic.

During weekly cooking classes, students learn about healthier alternatives to fast foods and create nutritious meals on their own that they can prepare at home. The cardiovascular health education classes bring these high school juniors face to face with the risks that come along with unhealthy eating and lack of exercise. They are also learning about the lifelong ill effects of cigarette smoking and how to avoid becoming influenced by the teen-targeted advertising by cigarette companies.

"We have to do this every year! The students love the cooking classes and most importantly, they are learning to cook healthy, delicious meals” said Burnedette Drysdale, Principal of the City College Academy of the Arts. “Also, the cardiovascular health classes are so informative and eye opening; the Children's Aid Society and American Heart Association are really helping the students to understand the importance of healthy living.”