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Alarming health assessment finds 50 percent of boys/girls grades K-5 are obese or overweight

Note to Editors: Photos available.

October 31, 2008, Brooklyn, New York…The Lutheran Family Health Centers (LFHC), Nets Basketball and Health Plus are helping kids Shoot for Better Health and score a perfect 5-2-1-0 every day. The unique collaborative, endorsed by the American Diabetes Association, aims to improve fitness and dietary habits of local school kids to reduce obesity and obesity related chronic diseases.

During an action packed press conference at PS 172 in Brooklyn, retired Nets players Darryl Dawkins and Kerry Kittles along with mascot Sly and the Nets Dancers tipped-off the new school/health partnership with a special Dance Dance Revolution competition. The game incorporates music and movement and provides a fun way for kids to stay fit.

The crux of Lutheran's new initiative however involves the 5-2-1-0 plan for good health. It means eating five servings of fruits and vegetables, limiting TV and computer time to only two hours a day, getting at least an hour of exercise a day, and cutting out soda or sugar sweetened drinks. The 5-2-1-0 Shoot for Better Health program will also be launched at each of Lutheran's School Health Program sites.

"With obesity, diabetes, asthma and other chronic diseases at epidemic levels in New York, this partnership is a slam dunk," said Larry K. McReynolds, executive director of the Lutheran Family Health Centers. "The five-two-one-zero plan is simple, easy, and will save lives by keeping our kids fit and healthy, on or off the court."

A recent BMI (body mass index) and basic health assessment by Lutheran's School Health Program discovered startling results. In all, 50 percent of the students (ages 5-11) were obese or overweight. "After the survey at our school we knew we needed to do more," said Jack Spatola, PS 172 principal. "With the help of Lutheran Family Health Centers' School Health Program and Health Plus we started an innovative comprehensive plan that included the new 5-2-1-0 initiative and the Dance Dance Revolution video game. It's now a school-wide plan to help everyone be healthier and make smarter choices. We even developed new fundraising strategies in lieu of traditional old-fashioned school bake sales."

Elizabeth M. Duke, Ph.D., [see photo] Administrator for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA), was also on-hand for the program's unveiling. "This is a wonderful demonstration of the remarkable work that our nation's community health centers are doing," said Duke. "With its strong emphasis on prevention and education, and the support of such a diverse group of community partners, this program promises to have a long-term positive impact on the health of our children."

As a major contributor to the tip-off event and to the overall program's success, the future Brooklyn Nets will also host a basketball camp for Lutheran's School Health Program and an awards night in March where participating students will be publicly honored during a live NBA game. "The Nets are very pleased to be partners with Lutheran and to provide an incentive for these children to excel in such a crucial area of their lives," said Brett Yormark, president and CEO, Nets Sports and Entertainment. "We appreciate being part of this important goal to improve fitness and dietary habits of local school kids and we look forward to hosting the children at a game in March."

The BMI Survey: The recent BMI basic health assessment conducted by Lutheran Family Health Centers' School Health Program surveyed 462 students in grades K-5 at PS 172. The survey found 25 percent of the children were overweight and another 25 percent were already obese. In all, 240 children (ages 5-11), or more than 50 percent, were obese or overweight, putting them at great risk of developing diabetes and other chronic diseases.

The School Health Program: Since 1984, the Lutheran Family Health Centers has operated the School Health Program, one of the largest in the country. The program provides medical, mental health and dental services through 14 school health centers sites, which serve 21 separate Brooklyn schools. Learn more about your school's on-site health clinic by calling the Lutheran Family Health Centers' School Health Program at 718-630-8758 or the External Affairs Department at 718-630-7155.


The Lutheran Family Health Centers (LFHC), based in Sunset Park, is a federally qualified community-based ambulatory health care system affiliated with Lutheran HealthCare. Governed by the Sunset Park Health Council, Inc., and serving southwest Brooklyn, LFHC is one of the largest health center networks in the country. With nine full-time community health centers, eight medical partnerships, 14 school-based health centers and community programs, including three WIC programs, adult and family literacy programs, three child care centers and a family wellness center, the network has served as Brooklyn's medical home for more than 40 years. Visit LHC's new online newsroom at /News for the latest events and happenings.

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