By Dr. Rock Positano / NEW YORK DAILY NEWS


More than half of New Yorkers are overweight, and this problem begins as early as kindergarten. Nearly half of all elementary school students are at an unhealthy weight and experience problems that go far deeper than just physical appearance. They face a significantly increased risk of coronary heart disease, asthma and a poor self-image. With more than one in four children in certain sections of the city facing obesity, it is more important than ever for parents to help their children make healthy choices.


The YMCA recently launched a comprehensive citywide
program called Operation Healthy Kids to teach children how to live healthier lives through better decision-making, healthy food choices and daily
physical activities
. "The children of New York today face an unprecedented number of health risks," said Paula Gavin, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York. "With obesity and asthma rates rising dramatically among New York City's youths over the last decade, Operation Healthy Kids can serve as a road map to healthier living."

The YMCA of Greater New York issued their top 10 tips for Preventing Childhood Obesity:


1. Organize family physical activity on a regular basis, with family walks, hikes, bike rides and trips to fitness centers. 2. Practice what you preach - model healthy behavior for children with your own healthy eating and
an active lifestyle
. And show your child how much fun it is to exercise. 3.Encourage your children's individual physical activity by supporting their organized sports teams or programs. 4. Limit the amount of time your child watches television, plays video games or works on the computer. Balance this inactive time with physical
activity. 5. Control the types of food available in the home. Have snack foods like fruit and vegetables, available instead of cakes or candy bars. Replace soft drinks with juice, and whole milk with low-fat or skim milk for children older than 2.


6. No matter how busy your schedule, commit to quality family mealtimes whenever possible. 7. Follow the guidelines of the food Plate set up by Harvard Medical school by eating nutritionally balanced meals. 8. Try to learn what your child likes most in sports and fitness activities, and remember that each child is different. Don't judge your child by your own standards or his peers' capabilities. 9. Focus on good health, not a specific weight goal.

Remember, some overweight conditions may be genetically determined, and not  easily controlled.


10. Praise, love and cherish the child - and never tie acceptance to body size or shape. "Kids can be taught that getting healthy and having a great time go hand in hand," Gavin said. "Those are lessons that stay with them for all their lives.In conjunction with the city Education and Health and Mental Hygiene departments, the YMCA's Operation Healthy Kids begins in January at more than 20 public middle schools in targeted neighborhoods, including the South Bronx, Harlem, Jamaica and central Brooklyn. The nation's largest Y, the YMCA of Greater New York serves approximately 350,000 children and adults annually. For information, check the YMCA Web site.

Makers of sugary sodas, which can cause obesity and other ills, wrongly target ads to black and Latino kids

Parents and public officials need to be aware -- and fight back!

NEW YORK DAILY NEWS Published: Sunday, November 6, 2011, 

Sugary sodas are being aggressively marketed to black and Latino children and teenagers.


America’s soda manufacturers are targeting black and Hispanic teens as their next growth market in a business strategy that must be understood and reckoned with.Sugary beverages like Coke and Sprite are part of the national fabric of life. As they say, things go better with them — except when young people drink too much of a good thing. 

Then, they end up with obesity and related diseases such as diabetes.
Poor areas are especially afflicted with those conditions, as well as with high rates of soda consumption.

Researchers at Yale University’s Rudd Center for Food Policy & Obesity have done an important service in bringing to light the manufacturers’ strategies for
building sales
. Their study of advertising patterns shows the force with which soft drink companies push products to children in general — and to minority kids in particular.

The report notes, for example, that billboards and other outdoor ads for sweetened drinks show up more frequently in minority neighborhoods than in white areas
and, using viewership data from the A.C. Nielsen rating company, it also shows the companies advertise heavily on programs with substantial minority youth audiences.

 The study calculated that black youngsters ages 2 to 17 viewed 80% to 90% more ads for sugary sodas and energy drinks last year than their white peers.
That’s even accounting for the fact that black kids spend far more time in front of the TV.
As a result, black teens
saw more than twice as many ads for Sunny Delight, Sprite, Mountain Dew and Vitamin Water — which, despite its healthy-sounding name, contains half the
sugar a teenage girl or an adolescent boy should consume in a day — than white kids the same age.

Hispanic children and teens were exposed to between 33% and 99% more ads for sugary drinks on Spanish-language TV last year than in 2008. 

On the Internet, it’s more of the same. Surely the companies could also sell low-calorie varieties of their products. But last year, black kids saw three times as many ads for sweetened sodas than for diet brands — a larger proportion than viewed by white kids. 

A child drinking just one 8-ounce sugary drink daily boosts his or her chance of obesity by 60%.
While soda companies can pursue sales wherever they like, parents and public officials
are equally entitled — actually, obligated — to act in the best interests of children. They can spread the word, they can educate, they can lobby and they can take at least one concrete action.

New York’s poorest neighborhoods — where food stamps are most often used to buy groceries — are usually also awash in sugary soda. In Flatbush and the South Bronx, 46% of people drink a high-calorie soda every day. Little wonder they usually struggle with related health problems. 

Yet this year, the U.S. Department of Agriculture blocked the city from launching an experiment that would have stopped people from using taxpayer-provided food
stamps to buy those sugary drinks. That decision looks dumber and more destructive with every passing day.

 We as parents must wake up and protect our children from this potenical health hazard brought on by these soda and juice products. Stay Fit 4 Life stands with you fighting child obesity by advising workout programs suited for them.