Obesity rates among New York City school kids have declined in recent years. Youth in the city’s five boroughs now have better access to healthier foods and improved opportunities for physical activity thanks to a comprehensive, city-wide effort.
Significant changes were made to child-care centers. Today, the city:
- Requires group child-care centers to offer healthier foods and improve nutrition education, increase physical activity and limit screen time;
- Provides child-care center staff across the city with current information regarding best practices in nutrition and physical activity; and
- Brings inexpensive, local healthy food options to child-care centers through a Farm-to-Preschool pilot.
New York City is creating a healthier school environment by:
- Helping teachers incorporate physical activity throughout the school day with “Move-to-Improve” guidelines; and
- Conducting an annual fitness assessment for students in grades K-12. Students can share their assessments with family and health care providers to help shape healthy eating and physical activity habits
There are efforts to get healthier, affordable foods into every neighborhood by:
- Launching 1,000 Green Carts to sell fresh fruits and vegetables in neighborhoods with limited access to healthy foods;
- Offering Health Bucks that provide lower-income families with $2 to buy fresh fruits and vegetables for every $5 they spend with their EBT cards at farmers’ markets; and
- Providing nutrition education and cooking demonstrations to lower-income families at farmers’ markets and child-care centers.
New York is rethinking the way the city is designed and what information restaurants provide consumers. For instance, the city is:
- Providing architects and urban designers with guidelines for designing buildings, streets and urban spaces that support physical activity;
- Requiring chain restaurants to post calorie information on menus; and
- Educating residents on the health impact of sugary drinks, including sodas, fruit drinks, energy drinks and sport drinks.
There also are new data showing that severe obesity rates are dropping among New York City youth. Obesity rates have declined across race, ethnicity, and income level. However, the steepest drops occurred among White and higher-income students, suggesting more efforts may be needed to address obesity-related disparities to help those children hit hardest by the obesity epidemic to grow up at a healthy weight.