The Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) recently caused quite a stir by advocating that custodial rights be taken away from parents of extremely obese kids. State intervention would entail education, parental training and in more extreme cases temporary protective custody of children whose parents refused to act towards improving their offsprings’ health. JAMA believes that state intervention in this case is more ethical than obesity surgery for children.
Here in New York State, as in the rest of the country, obesity has become a major health issue. According to the NYS Department of Health, the percentage of New York State adults who are overweight or obese increased from 42% in 1997 to 60% in 2008. Obesity among NYS kids and adolescents tripled over the past thirty years; today one-third of New York’s children are either overweight or obese. Health-care costs for treating obesity-related illnesses in New York State is more than $7.6 billion every year.
To counter this major health issue New York City has created several programs that will run throughout the summer (and in some cases even beyond that) in all five boroughs so as to help New Yorkers of all ages live an optimally healthy lifestyle. Here’s a list of the following programs:
1). Free Summer Meals For Kids: A select number of schools and other public institutions in NYC are offering kids free nutritious meals for both breakfast and lunch all throughout the summer. For Woodside families, here’s an earlier article I did listing all the local schools and institutions offering these meals.
2). Greenmarkets: GrowNYC is a non-profit organization that operates greenmarkets throughout the city. These markets provide New Yorkers with healthy, fresh local food all year round. Residents of both Woodside and Jackson Heights have the opportunity to shop for fresh fruits and vegetables at the Jackson Heights Greenmarket, the largest farmers’ market in Queens.
1). WalkNYC: This program’s purpose is to simply get New Yorkers engaging in brisk power walks in parks throughout the city. Here is a list of WalkNYC’s program schedule for parks within the borough of Queens.
2). ShapeUpNYC: This program offers free fitness classes every week at various recreation centers throughout the city. You do not need to be a member of the rec. center in order to participate. Woodside residents of all ages will be able to participate in these fitness classes at the Lost Battalion Recreation Center, located at 93-29 Queens Boulevard, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays. For a list of class offerings in the rest of Queens, check out the website for ShapeUpNYC.
3). BeFitNYC Free First Monday: For the first Monday of each month (second Monday in September) recreation centers are open for the public to use generally for free. Participants can come in to swim, ride a bike, step, jog, lift, play volleyball and more. All you need to participate is your photo I.D. and a towel; be sure to call the center before coming in to find out what they have on offer and their program schedules. To find the closest indoor recreation facility near you please visit their website (Woodside residents can take advantage of this program at the Lost Battalion Recreation Center).
4). Learn to Swim: A variety of swimming programs for New Yorkers of all ages and levels are available throughout the city for the summer (and beyond). Programs ranging from beginners’ swim classes to training for swim team competitions are available. To participate, check out the Swim Program’s schedule.
If anyone is aware of other free or low-cost family fitness programs occuring within the city, particularly in Queens, please comment on them down below.