“Who would like to help me make this salad?” the class instructor asked. In the front row, Kimberly Quintero, age 7, waved her arm eagerly. The instructor, Mohammad Haq, was part of Farm to Preschool, a national nutrition program that The Child Center of NY has brought to our Head Start in Woodside, Queens. He was teaching a group of mothers and children to make coleslaw, and he helped as Kimberly mixed fresh dill with grated cabbage and carrots.
Childhood obesity has doubled over the last thirty years—and low-income children are more likely to be overweight. The Farm to Preschool classes are just part of a broader anti-obesity health initiative that The Child Center is making throughout our early childhood programs. The initiative is anchored by a grant from BJ’s Charitable Foundation, which has increased the hours and duties of the Head Start nurse practitioner and the master’s level nutritionist.
Now, we will be able to screen all families in our Head Start programs for health problems, including obesity, diabetes and high blood pressure, providing extra care for those who need it. Our nutritionist will help Head Start staff establish healthy eating habits and menus. Our food service manager, who helped bring Farm to Preschool to Woodside, will continue to keep the focus on fresh, healthy fare. Continue reading