BROOKLYN, NY — Teens from Franklin Lane High School and seniors from Cypress Hills-Fulton Street Senior Center participated in a dance workshop led by choreographer and Broadway performer Stepp Stewart, and talked over smoothies prepared by the teens at the culmination of a four-month-long intergenerational program launched by EmblemHealth and HealthCorps®. The program, which promotes health and wellness to combat Brooklyn’s childhood obesity epidemic, brings together high school students with senior citizens to learn about nutrition, the importance of exercise and healthy ways of coping with stress.
Above: Choreographer Stepp Stewart leads dance workout at Cypress Hills-Fulton Street Senior Center. Below: Franklin Lane High School students make post-workout smoothies.
The program is a collaboration between EmblemHealth, which provides health insurance through HealthCorps, a proactive health movement and research vehicle for optimal health messaging and intervention. HealthCorps was co-founded by heart surgeon and Emmy Award-winning nationally syndicated talk show host Dr. Mehmet Oz of "The Dr. Oz Show" and his wife Lisa Oz to fight obesity by empowering students and their families to become health agents of change for their communities.
"We’re very proud to partner with HealthCorps on this intergenerational program to foster bonds within the community, celebrate diversity and encourage healthy behavior," says William A. Gillespie, MD, Senior Vice President and Chief Medical Officer at EmblemHealth, who notes that participating high schools were selected from three Brooklyn ZIP codes where pediatric obesity rates are among the highest in New York City. "This collaboration is part of EmblemHealth’s ongoing efforts to encourage healthy behavior and reduce the growing rates of childhood obesity among New York City children. By bringing teenagers and senior citizens together to learn about healthy behavior and nutrition, we believe we can really make a difference."
"HealthCorps is thrilled to be able to extend our message to seniors in three Brooklyn communities," states HealthCorps President Michelle Bouchard. "This important collaboration with EmblemHealth carries out HealthCorps' Fit Town™ community initiative to empower residents of all ages to take charge of their health and enhance their school, home and neighborhood environments by making "
Through the Intergenerational Program, three high schools were paired with three Brooklyn senior centers. Working with a full-time in-school HealthCorps coordinator, students and seniors met once a month for four months to share such activities as exercise, dancing, art and conversation on healthy living. In addition to Franklin Lane High School and Cypress Hills-Fulton Street Senior Center, students from EBC High School were partnered with the Hope Gardens Senior Center; and South Shore High School students with JASA Canarsie Senior Center.
At the Cypress Hills-Fulton Street Senior Center, Franklin Lane High School students bonded with seniors as a large group took part in Zumba Latin Fitness workouts, chatted together about healthy eating and simply enjoyed the camaraderie of neighbors from another generation. One of the highlights of the final meeting was a dance workout led by Broadway performer and choreographer Stepp Stewart based on his DVD, "Stepp With Me."
In conjunction with the program, teens and seniors receive Fit Town Healthy Living’s Community Resource Guide, a brochure developed by HealthCorps and EmblemHealth. The brochure provides information on nutrition and exercise, and links consumers to medical and non-medical community-based resources and fitness programs; it is distributed through pediatricians, senior centers and schools.
EmblemHealth, Inc. provides quality health care coverage and administrative services to approximately 2.9 million people. Groups and individuals can choose from a variety of PPO, EPO and HMO programs, as well as prescription drug, dental and vision plans. Plans offer a choice of networks, including access to over 103,000 quality doctors and other health care professionals and most of the leading hospitals across the tristate region.
HealthCorps' core mission is to fight child obesity by empowering teens and communities to become health agents of change to enhance the health of their environments and to help the country reach the tipping point towards wellness now and for the future. The organization also serves as an intervention vehicle and a research vehicle to create optimal health messaging. HealthCorps is focused on three priorities: educating the student body®; achieving community outreach through "Fit Town™" — an initiative to connect and activate citizens and organizations to bring about change through local projects and initiatives; and advocating for policy shifts across all levels of government that put health and physical education back into the core curriculum of the American education system. The program network spans 41 schools in 11 states. HealthCorps is a 501 (c) (3) non-profit organization. For more information, please visit www.healthcorps.org.