Who We Are
Choosing Healthy & Active Lifestyles for Kids (CHALK) is NewYork-Presbyterian’s (NYP) obesity prevention program in collaboration with Columbia University Irving Medical Center (CUIMC) and the community of Northern Manhattan. The program developed out of a need to serve the high risk, predominantly Latino community of Washington Heights/Inwood. Our goal is to reduce the prevalence of childhood obesity in Northern Manhattan by creating an environment in which healthy lifestyles are integral to the lives of all children and their families. NYP CHALK’s core areas of focus are public schools and early childhood centers, community- and faith-based organizations, and NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital outpatient practices.
NYP CHALK aims to address childhood obesity within the context of family and community. We use a non-prescriptive approach to implement systemic changes while leveraging community resources and focusing on sustainability. The program model stems from working within an academic–community partnership framework that is asset-based, where the co-design process and capacity building are central to the success of each partnership. This approach makes the program model easily adaptable into a variety of settings.
Food Insecurity and New Directions
Increasing healthy food access and decreasing food insecurity are central to reducing childhood obesity. Accordingly, NYP CHALK began to incorporate programs addressing these issues through partnerships in Northern Manhattan in 2017. In 2019, we piloted Food FARMacia at Washington Heights Family Health Center. Patients facing food insecurity were referred to the program by their healthcare providers. Participants then selected up to 40 pounds of healthy groceries from West Side Campaign Against Hunger’s mobile market truck (twice a month for 6 months) and were connected to social services.
In 2020, in response to NYP’s Community Health Needs Assessment and the COVID-19 pandemic, NYP CHALK expanded our food insecurity initiatives further to reach high risk communities in Brooklyn, the Bronx, Queens, Lower Manhattan, and Westchester County (Peekskill and Mount Vernon). Together we have provided social services connections and more than 2 million pounds of healthy groceries to over 8,250 households since March 2020. These ongoing initiatives serving all ages aim to respond to food insecurity in our communities while also building resilient infrastructure for collaboration between NYP and community-based organizations.
- Increase access to healthy lifestyles for children and families through system, policy, and environment change
- Empower schools, early childhood centers, and community-based organizations to create and sustain programs that foster healthy lifestyles, leverage resources, and improve the built environment
- Partner with NYP healthcare teams, community-based organizations, and emergency food providers to address food insecurity in our communities