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Montefiore Pediatricians Help Families Get Fit

The Children's Hospital at Montefiore (CHAM) will receive a grant of $50,000 a year for five years, funding a project to help children develop healthy lifestyles that prevent obesity.

The grant is provided by the Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children. The project, called the Bronx Nutrition and Fitness Initiative for Teens (B'N Fit), has reached out to adolescents ages 12 to 21 and their families since 2005. The program has succeeded in helping the majority of participants either lose or maintain their weight - a significant achievement, given that participants gained an average of 30 pounds each in the year prior to joining the program.

"By modeling healthy behaviors, B'N Fit teaches adolescents to adopt a healthy lifestyle," said Jessica Rieder, M.D., FAAP, Director of the B'N Fit Program and an Assistant Professor of Pediatrics at CHAM. "This grant will allow us to expand the program to attract and retain more families."

According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, obesity is the most prevalent nutritional disorder of children and adolescents in the U.S., and rates in New York City are even higher than the national average. Nationally, 15.5 percent of children aged 2 through 19 are obese. In New York City, the rate is 24 percent, while in the Bronx it is 32 percent.

To build on B'N Fit's success, CHAM is now planning to expand the program to include more collaboration with primary care providers and a more comprehensive family support system. New elements include an orientation session for participants, weekly parent meetings and a treatment map to be shared with the referring physician. A report card will track each participant's attendance and achievements, and those who complete the program will receive a refund of a cash deposit made at the outset of the program.

The Healthy Tomorrows Partnership for Children Program (HTPCP) is a collaborative effort between the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) and Maternal Child Health Bureau (MCHB) that distributes grants to promote community planning and problem solving at the local level.

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