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Greater Hudson Valley Health System bolsters students to reduce childhood obesity

More than a third of New York state school children are overweight or obese. In the Greater Hudson Valley Health System catchment area, 64% of school districts have rates of obese and overweight students that are higher than the state average. In an effort to decrease obesity rates and improve health outcomes for students in the community, GHVHS partnered with the American Heart Association, Boys & Girls Clubs of America, Cornell Cooperative Extension, Eat Smart New York, Studio Ayo Fitness, local schools and camps to develop their Warrior Kids program.

Warrior Kids was inspired by the popularity of shows like American Ninja Warriors and Titans. GHVHS’s Warrior Kids teaches children and the devoted professionals working with them the importance of everyday healthy behaviors. The program directly supports the state Prevention Agenda priority area of preventing chronic disease by reducing obesity in children. The rhyme and formula for being a Warrior Kid – “5-2-1-Almost None” – is easy to remember and targets key lifelong habits that are known to improve health outcomes. These behaviors reduce risk for obesity while lessening the likelihood of developing diabetes, heart disease and cancer.

More than 1,150 children and youth development professionals graduated from the four-week Warrior Kids program, held at 10 unique after-school program/camp locations locally. Warrior Kids has engaged children and youth development staff in an additional 34,500 minutes of physical activity. Educational presentations on childhood obesity led by health system leadership were held for the Sullivan County School Board Association, four individual school districts and three district staff professional development days, reaching more than 300 educators and impacting board approval of three district wellness policies.

For more information, contact Amanda Langseder, director, community health, at (914) 799-5423 or at alangseder@ghvhs.org.