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County Hosts School Food and Fitness for Life Conference

March 29, 2006

On Friday March 31, leaders from public schools all over Westchester County will gather at the Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture in Pocantico Hills for a full-day conference exploring ways to improve nutrition and physical activity among students. The School Food & Fitness for Life Conference will be a full-day event for participants to discuss ways to create better food service, nutrition education and physical fitness programs in their schools.

“This is a timely issue,” said Westchester County Executive, Andrew Spano. “Childhood obesity is continuing to rise and is bringing with it serious health consequences for this generation. Westchester County is tackling the issue head-on. The Health Department’s sponsorship of this conference is part of the County’s ongoing efforts to enlist the help of schools in reducing childhood obesity.”

Those efforts include Westchester County’s Fit Kids Campaign, initiated by Mr. Spano in 2003, which is active in 64 schools in 30 districts and works to inspire children to develop healthy eating and physical activity habits. The Health Department’s Eat Well Play Hard Program works to attain the same objectives among preschool children.

Participation is only open to school leaders in Westchester, such as School Superintendents, Food Service Directors and Health and Physical Education Coordinators. For more information on the conference, please call Danielle at (914) 366-6200 extension 100. The registration fee is $25 per attendee. Co-sponsors of the conference along with the Health Department are:

  • The Westchester Coalition for Better School Food
  • The Stone Barns Center for Food and Agriculture
  • The American Cancer Society
  • The American Diabetes Association
  • The American Heart Association
  • The Westchester County Department of Health

Some of the topics to be covered by the conference are initiating food service change, educating children about food and nutrition, and planning local wellness policies. Dr. Joshua Lipsman, Commissioner of Health will be providing welcoming remarks to conference attendees. The program will also include presentations from the following:

  • Ann Cooper, author and chef.
  • Dr. David Ludwig, Associate Professor of Pediatrics at the Children’s Hospital, Boston.
  • John Turenne, Director of Sustainable Dining at Yale.
  • Kate Adamick, a school food consultant.
  • Lynn Fredericks of Family Cook Productions.
  • Steven Virgilio, Professor of Physical Education at Adelphi University.

“Obesity, poor diet and lack of physical activity contribute to heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other serious health problems that are among the leading causes of death and disability in this country,” said Joshua Lipsman, M.D., J.D., M.P.H., Commissioner of Health for Westchester County. “As childhood obesity is increasing, we are beginning to see the health consequences occurring at earlier ages. Dietary and physical activity patterns are often based on habits developed during childhood. Schools have a critical role to play in making sure that students develop habits that will lead to a lifetime of good health.”

For more information, please call the Westchester County Health Department at (914) 813-5000 or visit the Health Department website at www.westchestergov.com.



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