Students from the Barack Obama Elementary School in Hempstead, NY, learned about the building blocks for being well for a lifetime at the first annual Healthy Living Long Island event, a new public health initiative led by medical students at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell that is designed to help lay the foundation for healthy habits starting at an early age.
These habits are defined by the nationally recognized 5-2-1-0 guidelines advising children to eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables, spend no more than 2 hours on recreational screen time, participate in at least 1 hour of physical activity, and drink 0 sugary drinks each day. Healthy Living Long Island was adapted from the state of Maine’s “Let’s Go!” program, an obesity prevention initiative.
“We’ve been learning about the increased risk of obesity in the United States which can lead to a host of health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes and hypertension, even in childhood,” said William Roberts, one of three second-year student leaders for the event, including Tiffany Wang and Meka Uffenheimer. “It’s important for kids to adopt healthy habits as early as possible and help them to understand why it’s essential.”
At the Healthy Living Long Island kick-off event held on Friday, Jan. 11, at the Zucker School of Medicine, 90 third-graders participated in several interactive and educational sessions, including a choreographed dance routine, a sugar demonstration, a smoothie making station, and a physical activity zone featuring an obstacle course. The youngsters received instruction about the importance of regular exercise and reducing screen time, hydrating with water throughout the day, and feeding their growing bodies with nutrient-rich foods. The experience also promoted interest in the fields of science and medicine.
“Our goal is to not only encourage permanent and positive lifestyle choices but also open up awareness of a career path,” said Mrs. Kelly Fairclough, Obama Elementary School principal. “The opportunity to talk with medical students and interact with physicians gives the children a vocation to consider and aspire to—we’re very excited for this partnership with the medical school.”
Special thanks to Zucker School of Medicine students, faculty and staff of the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and Office of Student Affairs as well as teachers, administrators, and parents of Obama Elementary School for coordination and support of Healthy Living Long Island.
VIEW CLIP FROM FIOS1 News (Jan. 11, 2019)