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SUNY Downstate Health Sciences University

Office of Development & Philanthropy

Downstart Healthy Lifestyles Program

Obesity and poor nutritional habits are an epidemic in America. Over twenty percent (20%) of our children are overweight. One in three children in America are now overweight. Obesity is the #1 health threat in America. Overweight children and adolescents are more likely to become obese adults.

The Department of Pediatrics at SUNY Downstate established a hospital based healthy lifestyle program to encourage families to spend less time being sedentary and more time being active Our goal is to help kids, teens and their parents develop a healthier lifestyle and to become physically active. Children who have a body mass index more than 85% of children their age and their sex are eligible for Downstart.

An initial evaluation is made to assess the physical fitness of the child for the program and addresses any relevant medical concerns. Children are also screened by a psychologist for any emotional issues which may impede making lifestyle changes. The program consists of exercise, nutritional education and behavior modification to enable healthy lifestyle changes. The program encourages not only exercise but also other everyday activities such as walking and using the stairs instead of the elevator. Our support group discusses ways to stay focused on our goals – eating sensibly and becoming more physically active. The exercise sessions are held twice weekly, the nutrition and support group meetings are held once a week. For more information call 718-270-4714.

If you would like to support this important work, please consider an online gift to the Pediatrics: Children's Hospital Fund.