Bad eating habits will become a part of the past thanks to two after-school programs.
Senator Jeff Klein recently announced $50,000 in funding for YMCA Healthy Eating and Physical Activity Standards after-school program at P.S. 14, P.S. 108 and the Bronx YMCA.
The funding was announced during a visit by Klein and Assemblyman Michael Benedetto to P.S. 14 to see the program in action.
Each day, the after-school program instructs more than 150 elementary schoolers about healthy eating and engages them in physical activity.
“We’re really thankful to Senator Klein for enabling us to offer these programs to kids,” said Sharlene Brown, executive director of the Bronx YMCA.
The program is important because one of the best ways to fight childhood obesity is to engage kids in exercise on a regular basis and encourage healthy eating, said Brown.
In New York City, nearly 1 in 4 children in public elementary schools is obese, and nearly 4 in 10 are overweight or obese, according to the New York City Department of Health.
“To get them at an early age is a no-brainer,” said Klein.
The program works to develop habits the kids build on for years.
“The funds we received today help us make our kids better off tomorrow,” said Brown.
Stefany Navarro, the program director, said it’s all about “food and fun.”
Between 2:20 and 6 p.m. each day, the kids participate in a wide range of healthy activities, ranging from soccer to cooking workshops.
“We do a lot of hands on work,” said Navarro.
They also spend time on team-building activities.
“The kids are learning how to cooperate,” she said.
During the visit Klein and Benedetto observed a workshop about vitamins, a lesson in making ‘fruit pizza’ on whole wheat pitas and an art class drawing apples.
The legislators joined the kids in the gym, kicking around a soccer ball.
The students proved they have absorbed the lessons—when Benedetto jokingly told the kids “for lunch I eat Doritos and candy bars,” he was met with a friendly chorus of “boos.”