Excerpt reprinted from Wing of Zock.
By Sarah Sonies
May 15, 2014
Among New York State counties, the Bronx has some of the poorest health outcomes. National data show that the Bronx lags behind in areas such as childhood obesity, pediatric asthma, and overall pediatric health.
The commonality of these conditions and high rates of hospital readmissions led resident physicians of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Committee of Interns and Residents (CIR) to create the Healthy Bronx Initiative in order to address the underlying causes of pediatric obesity and pediatric asthma, two of the major public health concerns in the Bronx.
Part of the HBI featured a partnership between the CIR partnered and community members from the Mary Mitchell Center for the Family Health Challenge, which celebrated its third consecutive year this January.
Structured as an eight-week program for children ages 7-11, the challenge provides a curriculum focused on health behavior changes. Physician residents teach weekly interactive sessions on nutrition, exercise, and environmental health topics in after-school programs at the Mary Mitchell Center. The lessons include takeaways that the students and their families could incorporate into their daily routine each week.
“We were presented with an opportunity to work directly with community members to develop lifelong habits,” said Camille Rodriguez, a first-year pediatric resident at Jacobi Medical Center in the Bronx and a Family Health Challenge teacher. “In order to keep kids motivated and engaged, the lessons were simple. Like encouraging kids to select low-fat milk instead of whole milk, or do 30 minutes of daily exercise.”
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