This week's Fit Kids Challenge - challenges you to tame your taste buds, cutting the salt and getting rid of processed foods. NY1’s Health Reporter Erin Billups filed this story on one program teaching kids fun, healthy and tasty alternatives, and how to generally live a healthier lifestyle.
In a class in Manhattan, kids are learning simple ways to change their diets. Like substituting squash and zucchini for spaghetti.
Many of them have been referred to the Kids and Teens Healthy Weight program at Weill Cornell Medical College by their pediatricians.
"My goal as a pediatric endocrinologist is really to screen those children, find those that are at increased risk," said Dr. Marisa Censani, healthy weight program director.
Through private family meetings and group sessions, kids are equipped to change their lifestyles, and future health outcomes.
"We discuss healthy cooking with the children, restaurant dining, supermarket shopping, how to read a nutrition label, creating meal plans," said Dr. Censani.
Getting kids involved in the cooking process and making it a family activity is key.
"I'm a bread lover, so there's bread all over the place, every night, every meal, so we decided as a family to help Gehrig to make this change of a carb free diet," said Lucy Martir, mother of Gehrig Hoffman.
Eight year old Gerhig has also learned the importance of smaller portion sizes.
"Usually I've been, just going up for seconds, thirds, until I'm just full. But now I've been taking portions," said Gehrig.
While he says it's been a challenge, he sees the benefit. He's lost 20 pounds in the last six months.
"I've felt slimmer, more healthy and just like, more free I guess," said Gehrig.
"Doing it as a family, he doesn't view it as him being punished. We're all working together to be healthier and it's improved all of our health," said Bobby Hoffman, Gehrig’s father.
So far eight families have made their way through the program which started last year. It is geared toward teens and pre-teens.
"It's very important for us as physicians to address this and help to prevent the complications that can arise if these issues are not addressed early on," said Dr. Censani.
For more information on the program and tips for healthier eating visit the program’s website here.
During the month of February, Time Warner Cable News is committed to informing our viewers of the sometimes alarming trends facing our kids' health as well as provide helpful tips for busy parents. Get more information on Fit Kids February, including the Fit Kids Challenge, healthy shopping suggestions and ways you can get involved to help make you and your children healthier!