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First Lady Paterson visits MMCC’s B’NFit program

Governor David Paterson’s wife Michelle visited the B’N Fit program at Mosholu-Montefiore’s Childhood Development Center to speak to doctors and raise awareness about the childhood obesity epidemic that has hit the Bronx hard.

The First Lady visited with Dr. Jessica Rieder, director of the B’N Fit childhood anti-obesity program, and with local children enrolled in the program on Wednesday, March 11 at the Mosholu-Montefiore Community Center. The center is located at 3450 Dekalb Avenue.

B’N Fit has treated over 800 children and young adults since its inception in 2005. It provides a 12-week intensive group program that helps young people get their weight under control by teaching about diet and exercise. The children then graduate into a maintenance program where the goal is to first stabilize and then lower Body Mass Index. BMI is a statistical measurement estimating a healthy body weight based on how tall a person is, and on age.

“One of my initiatives as First Lady is going around the state to promote Healthy Steps to Albany: First Lady’s Challenge,” Paterson said to the young people. “Right now, we are promoting the program upstate, and next year we will be doing it here. So you are getting a head start.”

Paterson’s program, a contest to see which students can become the most physically fit – offers prizes like lunch with Governor David Paterson and the First Lady and a visit to an organic farm. It is currently scheduled to come to the Bronx next year.

Montefiore Medical Center’s B’N Fit program helps serves ages 12 to 21. Parental involvement is encouraged, and is part of the young person’s emersion into the weight-loss process.

“The main goal of the B’N Fit program is to have the young people adopt healthy lifestyle changes so we can see then stop gaining weight and get their weight down to a healthier Body Mass Index,” Rieder said. “We like to get kids down to the 85th percentile of their BMI, based on their height and age.”

The program is an alternative to more radical steps, such as undertaking gastric-bypass surgery – which effectively shrinks the stomach to lower food intake.

The effects of childhood obesity include the onset of diabetes, issues with menstruation, cardio-vascular disease and hypertension.

For more information about the B’N Fit Program at the department of pediatrics of the Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, call (718) 920 – 2232 or email BNFIT@montefiore.org.

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