New Program Promotes Health & Wellness for Hundreds of Bronx Students K-5

BRONX, NY – Boosting the availability of health and wellness after-school programs in the Bronx, State Senator Jeff Klein (D-Bronx/Westchester) today announced $50,000 in funding for the local YMCA Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards (HEPA) after-school program at P.S. 14, P.S. 108 and the Bronx branch of the YMCA. Klein, joined by Assemblyman Michael Benedetto (D-Bronx), YMCA officials, school administrators and Bronx elementary school students, toured P.S. 14 and engaged in a series of fun-filled activities with youngsters including a hands-on cooking demonstration, soccer game and healthy poster contest.

“It’s never too early to promote a healthy, active lifestyle and encourage smart choices when it comes to nutrition. The YMCA HEPA program is a win-win for students, families and the community — providing young people with the tools they need to stay active and eat well,” said Senator Jeff Klein. “I’m proud to have been able to secure the $50,000 in funding to ensure first-rate after-school programming for our students and I applaud the YMCA’s continued commitment to the well-being of our children. I look forward to continuing to work together and  ensure that all of our youngsters are able to lead full, healthy and happy lives.”

“On behalf of New York City’s YMCA, we would like to applaud Senator Klein for helping the Y strengthen the foundations of community in the Bronx through support of our programs to engage young people and prevent chronic disease,” said Sharlene Brown, Executive Director of the Bronx YMCA.  “We know that one of the best tools in the fight against childhood obesity is to engage kids in exercise on a regular basis and teach them how to eat well. These funds enable the Y to give today’s kids a healthier tomorrow.”

The YMCA HEPA program focuses on fostering effective health outcomes for children, with curriculum based on six core standards: parent engagement, physical activity, screen time, nutrition, beverages and infant feeding. Program time includes a healthy snack like apples, oranges or carrots served ‘family style,’ and at least 30 minutes of physical activity.

In New York City, nearly 1 in 4 children in public elementary schools are obese, and nearly 4 in 10 are overweight or obese, according to the New York City Department of Health. As more young people spend an increased amount of time behind a desk or in front of a computer, after-school programs that encourage smart nutrition and exercise play an expanded role in promoting long-term health and wellness.

The YMCA’s after-school programs operate at more than 450 locations across the state, serving over 50,000 children. One in two school districts across New York partner with a YMCA to deliver after-school programming to students.

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