Thursday, November 10, 2011

Rivera's health initiative headed to schools and families

By Brendan McHugh – Bronx Press Politics

As the first Bronx CAN Health Initiative winds down, state Senator Gustavo Rivera and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. spent Monday kicking off the new family-oriented initiative in Bronx schools.

Standing for ‘Changing Attitudes Now,’ the CAN initiative encourages Bronxites to eat healthier and work out more. Rivera has joined with Diaz, Montefiore Medical Center and various community groups throughout the Bronx, encouraging children and adults alike to adopt a healthier lifestyle.

"For the last few months, the Bronx CAN Health Initiative has inspired Bronxites to take responsibility over their own health and make changes to their habits in order to lead longer and healthier lives," Rivera said.

Rivera and Diaz attended a celebration of National Food Day on Monday, Oct. 24 at the Academy of Mount St. Ursula, one of several schools in the Bronx that have adopted the Bronx CAN Family Health Challenge.

Jump below for the full story, including a picture of Rivera from June and information about a campaign the NYC health department started today.

The family challenge is an eight-week initiative that asks families and children to make one or two changes every week. It starts off with only drinking milk or water for a week rather than soda or juice and over the next seven weeks, projects range from eating one piece of fruit per day to eating smaller portions to exercising 30 minutes per day.

The guidebook created will reach more than 50 public schools through Montefiore’s school-based health clinics.

"Given that issues of obesity, heart disease and diabetes start with the formation of bad health habits at a young age, I am excited that the Bronx CAN Health Initiative is continuing in Bronx schools,” Rivera said. “It is my hope that the students and families who take on this 8-week challenge will continue to incorporate the lessons they learned as part of the Family Health Challenge into their daily lives."

Rivera weighed in at 299 lbs. in June, and his CAN challenge goal was to lose 15 to 20 lbs. by the end of October. At the event Monday he weighed himself in front of hundreds of teenage girls and came in at 283 lbs.; 16 lbs. down from June.

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