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Montefiore Physicians Drive Obesity Study on Key Role of 'Plain Talk' in Weight Management

Grant Will Explore Possible Effects of Complex Nutritional Labeling on Obesity

NEW YORK CITY, NY  (April 6, 2005) -- Pediatricians at Montefiore Medical Center have been awarded a two-year, $150,000 grant by Pfizer to study how language used in labeling on food packaging may impact obesity in an inner-city community.

“Most information is provided in needlessly complex terminology,” said Iman Sharif, MD, the study team leader at Montefiore. “Food labels, in particular, are especially difficult to understand and are often misleading for the individual who is trying to eat healthy foods.”

“The challenge of adhering to a healthy diet is disproportionately difficult in our community, where healthy foods are often more expensive, or simply not available,” Dr. Sharif said. “Through this grant from Pfizer, we will provide participants with the tools they need to decode complex nutritional labeling with the hope that this will lead to healthier food choices for families in our community.”

 “Pfizer cares about the needs of patients and the communities in which they live,” said Tom Griffin, vice president of sales, Upjohn Division, Pfizer.  “We are determined to make a difference in supporting disease prevention programs to address the rapidly growing, preventable, epidemic of childhood obesity.”

Physicians at Montefiore’s Comprehensive Health Care Center (CHCC) in the South Bronx will determine the effect of “plain talk” on study participants by measuring any changes in a patient’s Body Mass Index (BMI) after one year.

“Health literacy and obesity are major issues in the Bronx and on a national level,” said Spencer Foreman, MD, president, Montefiore Medical Center. “We know that poor literacy is a factor in the emergence of this health crisis, and we will know even more after the first year of this important study.”

Montefiore Medical Center, The University Hospital and Academic Center for the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, ranks among the top one percent of all US hospitals based on its investments in medical innovations and cutting edge technology. Montefiore invests more in order to enable compassionate, personalized care and the most positive outcomes for patients and their families in New York, the tri-state area and beyond.

Montefiore’s unique combination of ‘state-of-the-art’ technology with ‘state-of-the-heart’ medical and nursing care in a teaching and research environment provides patients with access to world-class medical experts, the newest and most innovative treatments and the best medical center experience anywhere.

This 1,062 bed medical center includes the Henry and Lucy Moses Division, the Jack D. Weiler Hospital and the new Children’s Hospital at Montefiore, a large home healthcare agency and a 21-site medical group practice located throughout The Bronx and nearby Westchester.

Montefiore treats all major illnesses and has distinguished centers of excellence in cardiology and cardiac surgery, cancer care, tissue and organ transplantation, children’s health, women’s health, surgery, and the surgical subspecialties. Montefiore Medical Center focuses on providing family-centered healthcare in a nurturing environment that extends well beyond hospital and clinic walls.