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United Health Services fights childhood obesity

Childhood obesity is linked to a higher chance of premature death and disability in adulthood. Overweight and obese children are more likely to stay obese into adulthood and develop noncommunicable diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular diseases. Partnering with local agencies, United Health Services is committed to fighting childhood obesity in their community.

Since October 2018, UHS’ Stay Healthy Kids coordinator and a Binghamton University intern have visited six Head Start schools monthly to promote wellness for children ages three to five years old and their families. Children that attend these schools are accepted based on their socio-economic needs, and/or behavioral issues established by New York. Each month, a different nutrition- or fitness-related topic is selected as the lesson for the month. All activities for the month center around this topic, which targets the children and their families, as information and hand-outs are sent home with the children. Activities include singing with movement, exercises, crafts, and positive reinforcement provided by the Coordinator and student intern.

Currently, 182 children throughout these six schools are attending the monthly classes. Head Start administrators and teachers have expressed their gratitude to UHS for providing this beneficial program.

For more information, contact Karen Bayer, RN, BS, director of Community Health Education at the UHS Stay Healthy Center, at karen.bayer@nyuhs.org.