January 08, 2009

NYSUT applauds Gov. Paterson's pledge to fight childhood obesity

Source: NYSUT Media Relations
Caption: Teacher Carol Mistretta and her fifth-grade students march to promote healthy food and activity choices at Woodhull Elementary School on Long Island. Thousands of children statewide are marching toward better health since NYSUT expanded its 24/7 Let's Go! healthy lifestyles program last year.

ALBANY, N.Y. January 8, 2009 - New York State United Teacher leaders are enthused by Gov. David Paterson's commitment to stem the tide of childhood obesity in New York state.

"As Gov. Paterson outlined in his State of the State address, childhood obesity has become epidemic," said NYSUT President Richard C. Iannuzzi. "This is a serious problem that can lead to adult obesity and other health problems, including coronary disease, respiratory problems, diabetes and depression."

Through its 24/7 Let's Go! Healthy Lifestyle program, NYSUT has taken a leading role in combating childhood obesity. Developed in 2005 by NYSUT's Health Care Professionals Council, the program stresses the importance of healthy eating and exercise, offering teachers, school nurses and other health care professionals an accessible, kid-friendly way to teach healthy habits.

The American Cancer Society endorsed NYSUT's 24/7 Let's Go! program in 2007. Since the program's inception, more than 150,000 24/7 Let's Go! kits have been distributed to NYSUT members.

"The overall goal is to get kids off the couch and into action; to avoid junk food and to eat healthier," said NYSUT Vice President Kathleen Donahue. "This program puts NYSUT at the forefront of helping children develop better eating habits and recognizing the importance of exercise."

24/7 Let's Go! kits include information on exercise and nutrition, calendars to record progress and pamphlets explaining the program for providers and parents. Students strive to do seven healthy things, seven days a week, and to build healthy lifestyles. Healthy suggestions range from eating a banana to holding a neighborhood Olympics. Stickers track progress and motivate students.

NYSUT, the state's largest union, represents more than 600,000 classroom teachers and other school employees; faculty and other professionals at the state's community colleges, State University of New York and City University of New York, and other education and health professionals. NYSUT is affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers, National Education Association and AFL-CIO.



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